Target On Their Back
WR P.Harvin, DE C.Avril,
DE M.Bennett, DT T.McDaniel,
RB L.Washington, LB L.Hill,
QB M.Flynn, TE A.McCoy,
DT A.Branch, CB M.Trufant,
Heading into the 2012 season, there was going to be one of two rookie quarterback stories. Either Andrew Luck was going to shine as the number one pick in the draft, or Robert Griffin III was going to step up and prove that, in fact he was the most talented player in the bunch.
It was to the surprise of everyone not affiliated with the Seattle Seahawks that Russell Wilson, selected in the third round of the draft, 75th overall, exploded on the scene and stole many of those headlines.
He led the league in rookie touchdown passes with 26 and his 100.0 passer rating was second only to Griffin III. Wilson also averaged 8.1 yards per completion which is higher than either of the draft’s top two selections.
While the element of surprise may have played a role in Wilson’s early season success, his dynamic use of the read option combined with solid play when throwing from the pocket, allowed him to keep teams off balance from start to finish.
With an off-season to study the offence, teams should have a better handle on some of the wrinkles the Seahawks were able to throw at them. However with an off-season to scheme a new offence, don’t be surprised if once again in 2013, Wilson zigs when everyone expects him to zag.
If head coach Pete Carroll’s Seahawks didn’t get much out of their big free-agent signing last year, they are going to find it even harder to better that return with this season’s huge acquisition.
In an attempt to improve an already explosive offence, that averaged 32.9 points per game down the stretch last season, the Seahawks traded a first-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for wide receiver Percy Harvin.
Harvin was expected to slide into the number one position and cause havoc downfield for defences already trying to deal with Wilson’s speed.
In his four seasons in the league, when healthy, Harvin has always been the most explosive player on any field. He has also taken at least one kickoff to the house each season that he’s been in the NFL.
Unfortunately, a hip injury, that will require surgery, is going to keep him out of the lineup for the majority and possibly the entirety of the season.
The effect of this injury is that all of the other receivers that were expected to move down the depth chart will now in fact stay exactly where they are in the pecking order.
Sidney Rice and Golden Tate will remain the primary targets in the offence and both players are well equipped to carry the load if the Seahawks are not able to get Harvin back into uniform before the end of the season.
Rice, who is battling pre-season knee soreness of his own, produced 748 yards and seven touchdowns last season, his second as a member of the Seahawks after leaving the Vikings where he was a teammate of Harvin.
Tate, who caught perhaps the most talked about touchdown of last season in the final game officiated by replacement referees, had a career high 688 yards and also reached the end zone seven times.
Heading into his fourth season, Tate will see a lot of passes that would have belonged to Harvin and should be able to continue his growth into one of the league’s best wideouts.
While the loss of an elite receiver is a blow to any offence, no team gets to the top of the charts without a strong running game and for the Seahawks that is the domain of running back Marshawn Lynch.
There are few backs in the game that combine speed and power quite like Lynch, who is just as likely to run around you as he is to just plow through you.
Lynch was third in the league with 1,590 yards last season and also crossed the goal-line 11 times, tied for fifth overall.
Even with the Harvin injury, Carroll has nothing but options at his disposal, with one of the league’s best running quarterbacks, one of the league’s best aerial attacks and one of the league’s best running backs.
The Seahawks are a major threat to capture it all this season. (-TSN.ca)
Incredibly, after all of that talk about the Seahawks offence, their defence is also expected to be one of the best during the 2013 season.
NFC WEST PROJECTIONS
Division Winner, 1st round bye
5th in NFC, wildcard berth
Improved, but tough division
Done in by difficult schedule
New defensive co-ordinator Dan Quinn will take over from Gus Bradley, who has moved on to be the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and he has an impressive array of weapons of his own to deploy.
Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett were both added to bolster the defensive line for the Seahawks who will be without Bruce Irvin and his eight sacks from last season, for the first four games of the season due to a drug suspension.
Antoine Winfield has been added to a secondary that already boasts Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas and last season was the backbone of the highest scoring defence in the league.
In a huge list of advantages, this defence is going to be well rested because of they are complimented by a strong offensive squad allowing them to be at the top of their game all season.
They will also spend eight games this season playing in front of one of the loudest crowds in the league, making it tougher for teams to adjust their offences mid play and giving the Seahawks matchup advantages that could be critical in close contests.
On paper they look really good and on the field they should look even better. (-TSN.ca)
Special Teams: K S. Hauschka, P J. Ryan, KR W. Blackmon, PR G. Tate
Special Teams: K S. Hauschka, P J. Ryan, KR W. Blackmon, PR G. Tate
Fantasy - By The Numbers
As a rookie, QB Russell Wilson threw for 3,118 yards and 26 touchdowns, rushing for 489 yards and four more scores. Even if those passing yards aren't over-the-top, the rushing yards and total touchdowns give Wilson a chance to be a low-end fantasy starter.
Get ready for the fantasy season with the latest from TSN.ca.
Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | DEF
Fantasy Schedules: AFC | NFC
2013 Auction Values: Cheat Sheet
Fantasy Depth Charts: AFC | NFC
RB Marshawn Lynch rumbled for a career-high 1,590 yards last season and has scored 25 touchdowns over the last two seasons so, as the feature back on a team expected to win, he's a safe No. 1 back for fantasy teams. All expectations were for the Seahawks to have an upgraded passing attack, featuring WR Percy Harvin, but he has a hip problem that could cost him the entire season, leaving holdovers Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and TE Zach Miller as Wilson's top targets.
MLB Bobby Wagner was in on 139 total tackles as a rookie, with a couple sacks and three picks, so he's a quality fantasy defender, while the Seahawks' secondary has many good options, with safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas the most productive of the lot. Incoming DE Cliff Avril, who has 29 sacks in the last three seasons, has a chance to earn fantasy relevance as well. (-Scott Cullen)