Fantasy Football Draft Guide To The Seahawks
By Nick Drage
You’re getting your cheat sheet ready for your upcoming draft, grateful that your commissioner decided to wait until Labor Day weekend, and after the end of preseason injuries. With one eye on the personnel of your favourite NFL team, which Seahawks should you look to draft?
So, which Seahawks should you look to draft? None of them.
That’s a little strong, but let’s take a look over the different positions. While the team isn’t the fantasy football nightmare represented by the Ravens, caution is warranted.
I’m assuming you’re in a 10 or 12 team league, and using standard scoring.
If you read any fantasy football guides you’ll soon become familiar with the phrase “regression to the mean”. This phrase means that extreme statistical results are just that, extreme, and unless they’re part of an obvious trend they’re unlikely to be repeated.
Doug Baldwin scored almost as many touchdowns last season as in his previous four seasons combined, and 2015 was the first season he made over 1,000 yards receiving. He’s unlikely to hit those totals again.
"Of course Baldwin is a great player, but that doesn’t make him a great fantasy pick."
Of course Baldwin is a great player, but that doesn’t make him a great fantasy pick. He’s surrounded by talented receivers, and Jimmy Graham is back, and the team has healthier and more impressive running backs available now than at the end of last year. All of those factors will take away receptions and touchdowns from Baldwin, and reduce his fantasy score.
The same conditions go for the rest of the receiving core too, they’re all notably good, which is the problem for fantasy coaches. Maybe pick up Baldwin or Lockett in the later rounds as your WR4 or WR5, but otherwise there are more suitable options. Your opponents are likely to draft Baldwin in round 4 or 5, pass on him and instead look at Jeremy Maclin; Kansas City doesn’t have Seattle’s depth at this position, so Maclin will get more targets and more points. Other similar alternatives are Alshon Jeffrey of the Bears, and Torrey Smith of the 49ers. Lockett will go in later rounds, ignore him; if you want a receiver with a high ceiling at a cheap price look to the Titans’ Tajae Sharpe.
Do monitor Baldwin, Lockett, and Kearse during the season. I expect less attentive fantasy coaches will cut them in the Seahawks’ early bye week, disappointed that they’re part of strong receiving group in a balanced offence.
Running Back is a much maligned position in fantasy football, leading to the advocacy of a “Zero RB” draft strategy. Due to modern NFL running backs’ susceptibility to injury, modern teams choosing a “running back by committee” approach, and most teams increasingly favouring the pass over the run, WRs are a better choice for you in the early rounds.
Coach Pete Carroll has described Rawls and Michael as a “one-two punch”, so while Rawls will be the starter I expect them to share carries to some extent, reducing Rawls’ benefit to your team. Although note that at least one of my colleagues disagrees, so watch the situation closely. In addition Alex Collins and C.J. Prosise are possible vulture backs, taking those valuable 6 point touchdowns away from your players.
"Michael might be worth picking up late as your RB4, but keep an eye out for similar backs with a higher fantasy upside"
All in all you should avoid the Seahawks running backs until the later rounds. Looking at their ADP ( Average Draft Position ) that probably means you’ll miss both of them. Rawls is best looked over in favour of an RB with less competition in his team for fantasy points, say C.J. Anderson of the Broncos. Michael might be worth picking up late as your RB4, but keep an eye out for similar backs with a higher fantasy upside due to their receiving ability, such as Giovanni Bernard of the Bengals or James Starks of the Packers.
Overall the advice is always not to draft a QB too early. QBs are the big name players of the NFL, but QBs picked in the later rounds will still give you value, WRs and RBs less so. If you do have the urge to take a QB early, Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton are probably better bets than Russell Wilson.
Also Tom Brady, the second highest scoring QB in standard leagues last year, is being ignored in drafts altogether, he should be worth a late round gamble.
The only Seahawks Tight End to consider is Jimmy Graham, and his health is still questionable. This is where you benefit from being a Seahawks fan. I expect you’re following Seahawks players’ progress closely, so you can watch the situation intelligently, and temper Carroll’s usual optimism. It depends on your philosophy, if you want a high floor from your TE position pick from the many players available, but if you’ve picked well at the other positions and can afford a player with a higher risk but a higher reward, pick Graham.
Defence and Kickers
Personally I find it more rewarding, and interesting, to stream these positions. “Streaming” is picking up and playing someone from the waiver wire who has a favourable matchup each week, not picking one player and sticking with them. The fantasy reward from defences and kickers is more dependant than most on their weekly opponent, if you’ve the time, review these ahead of each game.
But the Seahawks defence is notoriously stingy, and Hauschka is expected to score well on an offence that will score well. If you’re playing a less energetic version of fantasy football they’re both worth picking up in the middle to late rounds.
Overall don’t let your interest in the team colour your draft choices as a fantasy coach. Keep an eye on the waiver wire and if the team’s output is less balanced than I expect get ready to pounce on any Seahawks having a breakout season.