SeahawksSeattle Seahawks (12-4) NFC Champions

Written by: Bill Cervi (@wcervi)

Coaching Changes:

Head Coach: Pete Carroll (Retained)

Ofensive Coordinator: Darrell Bevell (Retained)

Defensive Coordinator: Kris Richard (New)

The Seahawks defensive coaching staff saw a mass exodus this offseason. Former Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was hired by the Falcons to be their head coach. Linebacker coach Ken Norton left to become the Defensive Coordinator for the Oakland Raiders and Marquand Mannuel will join Quinn in Atlanta as the team’s DB coach and senior defensive consultant. The news is not all bad however, as new DC Kris Richard has been with the team for the past three seasons (DB coach) and Richard Sherman and Pete Carroll have both directly credited him with the development and consistency of the Legion of Boom. The Seahawks also added Michael Barrow as their new LB coach and Lofa Tatupu as the assistant LB coach. Both are former quality players so there should be little drop off in the performance of their linebackers.

 

Key Free agents:

WR Jermaine Kearse

2014 Stats: 69 Targets, 38 RECs, 55% catch rate, 537 YDS, 14.1 YPC, 1 TD

Age: 25 years old, RFA

Jermaine Kearse is a restricted free agent, as of this publication, and despite rating out as one of the worst starting WRs in the NFL (PFF’s # 81 WR), there is a good chance that he will re-sign with the WR starved Seattle Seahawks. Kearse is a bit of a one trick pony, who is dependent on the big play to produce. That fact is quite evident when you look at his inconsistent weekly performances. In 2014, Kearse exceeded 10 points only 4 times (in 15 games) and his best weekly score (in PPR leagues) was week 15 when he caught 5 of his 6 targets for 78 yards (12.8 pts.). The concern I have with his long term value is three-fold. First, Kearse’s TD production saw a significant decline in 2014. Kearse went from scoring four TDs in 2013 to one last season which tells me that he is not catching teams by surprise anymore. My second concern is the upcoming draft where I believe the Seahawks will draft a quality WR in the first 3 rounds. If that does occur, I believe that Kearse will fall to the team’s #3 or 4 WR. Thirdly, the Seahawks run first offense will limit the ceiling of even their number 1 WR let alone their #3 or 4 which makes Kearse nothing more than a pipe dream dynasty prospect.

Other Free Agents: QB Tarvaris Jackson, G James Carpenter, TE Anthony McCoy, WR Ricardo Lockette, WR Bryan Walters, DT D’Anthony Smith, DE DeMarcus Dobbs, LB O’Brien Schofield, LB Heath Farwell, LB Malcolm Smith, CB Byron Maxwell, S Jeron Johnson

 

Review/Preview of Fantasy relevant players:

QB Russell Wilson

2014 Stats: 268 completions, 63.1% CMP Rate, 3,236 PYDS, 20 PTD, 6 INT, 826 RYDS, 8 RTDs

Age/Contract status: 26 years old /Signed through the 2015 season

NFL: NFC Championship-Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks

Will Russell Wilson get the first fully guaranteed contract?

Russell Wilson entered the 2014 season with a lot of pressure on his shoulders. How did he respond? Well how about a top 5 fantasy QB performance and a return trip to the Super Bowl where he was a yard and a bad play call away from a repeat Championship! Wilson improved his number of completions, his passing yards, maintained a 63% completion rate, and most noticeably, drastically improved his rushing yards and TDs. While I believe that it is unrealistic for him to repeat those rushing stats, I do believe that the team will add some WR depth in the draft or via FA. The additional targets should help him add to his passing TDs which were down in 2014. The only issue I have with Wilson’s long term value, at this point, is his wildly inconsistent weekly scoring. Last year, Wilson had 4 games with 30+ points and on those weeks he was capable of carrying your team to victory single-handedly, but then he also had 7 games where he scored 16 or fewer fantasy points and he may have cost you the game against a high scoring opponent. That issue aside, I think the Seahawk’s will almost certainly add a quality, good sized, physical WR in the draft and that will go a long way towards stabilizing Wilson’s production and help him maintain his place among the elite fantasy QBs for years to come.

RB Marshawn Lynch

2014 Stats: 266 carries, 1,246 YDS, 4.7 YPC, 12 TDs, 45 Targets, 35 REC, 331 YDS, 4 TDs

Age/Contract status:  28 years old /Signed through the 2015 season 

Marshawn Lynch

Will “Beast Mode” really turn down 11-12 million dollars to play for Seattle this year?

Will “Beast Mode” play in 2014? That has to be one of the prime off season questions that will be answered in the coming days/weeks. What we do know is that Lynch had an another dominant season for the Seahawks and for fantasy owners. In 2014, Lynch topped 1,240 yards, eclipsed the 12 total TD barrier, and finished as a top 5 fantasy RB for the fourth straight season in a row. Lynch will be 29 this year and he has shown little evidence of the precipitous drop off that is so associated with elite RBs who share his age and endure his common heavy work load (eclipsed 2,000 carries in 2014). I think it will be hard for Lynch to turn down Seattle’s offer of an 11-12 million dollar payday to play in 2015. In recent days reports have been swirling about Lynch’s chronic back problems potentially being a bigger issue than we may think and that he is 50/50 to retire. Personally I think this is all just contract gamesmanship and it worked brilliantly since the original extension was rumored to be 10 million for the 2015 season. If he signs the extension and you are trying to rebuild an aging team obviously you should look to trade Marshawn ASAP as his value will never be higher. If my dynasty team were in a win now mode and he re-signed, he would be an attractive “buy low” target with a high end RB#2 floor for 2015.

RB Robert Turbin

2014 Stats: 63 carries, 257 YDS, 4.2 YPC, 0 TDs, 19 Targets, 15 REC, 173 YDS, 2 TDs

Age/Contract status:  25 years old /Signed through the 2015 season

Despite all the preseason hype surrounding Christine Michael, it was RB Robert Turbin who handled the primary back up duties for the Seahawks in 2014. Turbin played on roughly 25% of Seattle’s snaps and performed well while in the game, averaging over 4 yards a carry and catching 79% of his pass targets. If Lynch were to retire, Turbin would most likely be involved in a time share with Christine Michael and see an increase in his work load . It also stands to reason that Michael would assume the between the tackle, short yardage, and early down work while Turbin would handle the majority of the third down snaps. Turbin will be a 26 years old and is a free agent after the 2015 season so he will have extra motivation to produce this year. I think he is still a solid cuff in PPR leagues and he has a small amount of upside should the perfect scenario play out over the next 2 years.

RB Christine Michael

2014 Stats:  34 carries, 175 YDS, 5.1 YPC, 0 TDs, 2 Targets, 1 REC, 12 YDS, 0 TDs

Age/Contract status:  24 years old /Signed through the 2016 season

C Mike

If Seattle signs Lynch to an extension, is it back to the barn for CMike?

I must first disclose to you that I have always been a huge supporter of Christine Michael. I have turned down several very attractive trade offers over the last 2 years in order to hoard him on almost all my dynasty teams. Now that the air is clear, lets get down to his 2014 season or better stated, the lack thereof. Dynasty owners were or should have been realistic with their expectations heading into the year, but Michael disappointed even if you had lowered them. Michael played in 9 games, failed to score a single TD and caught only 1 pass. The one redeeming number from his lost 2014 season may have been his 5.1 YPC average. His long term value will shortly come into focus when “Beast Mode” decides whether he will play or not, but I am still very bullish on Michael’s long term value. I truly believe that he is one of the most physically gifted RBs in the league today and all he needs is an opportunity to play.

WR Doug Baldwin

2014 Stats: 98 Targets, 66 RECs, 67.3% catch rate, 782 YDS, 12.5 YPC, 3 TDs

Age/Contract status:  26 years old /Signed through the 2016 season

Doug Baldwin was the number 1 WR for the Seattle Seahawks last year. He is a good WR, with better than average hands and a knack for making big catches. The problem I have with Baldwin is that his opportunities have been and always will be limited by the Seahawks run first offense. I also believe that he is not a true number 1 WR and he would be best used in a complimentary role to a bigger, more physical WR. Looking back at Bladwin’s 2014 season, he exceeded 100 yds receiving in only 2 games, he failed to score double digit fantasy points in 11 of his 16 games, and despite having the best year of his career he still only caught 3 TDs. If the Seahawks do add a quality WR, in the first 3 rounds, Baldwin’s fantasy stock would take a significant hit so I would look to trade him before the draft.

WR Paul Richardson

2014 Stats: 44 Targets, 29 RECs, 65.9% catch rate, 271 YDS, 9.3 YPC, 1 TD

Age/Contract status:  22 years old /Signed through the 2017 season

Paul Richardson was drafted by Seattle in the early second round, of the 2014 draft (2.13). Many draft pundits praised his deep speed and thought that he could make an impact, especially on a WR needy team like the Seahawks. Well that never happened. Richardson played on only 516 snaps last season, averaged a paltry 9.3 YDs per catch, and his best fantasy game was in week 15 when he scored his only TD (12 points). Then to make matters worse, Richardson tore the ACL in his left knee for the second time in 3 years during the teams Divisional playoff game. Richardson’s disappointing season and second ACL injury have me doubting his long term fantasy value even more than before. If you drafted him and you have the roster space you might as well hang on to him as he has very limited trade value right now. The best you can hope for is that he does not start the season on the PUP list and he is somehow able to win the slot WR role. The problem is the Seahawks current #1 WR is barely fantasy relevant so I would not blame you if you took whatever you could get for him at this point.

WR Chris Matthews

2014 Stats: 0 Targets, 0 RECs, 0 YDS, 0 YPC, 0 TD

Age/Contract status:  25 years old /Signed through the 2015 season

Chris Matthews

One big game or the start of a big time career?

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the Super Bowl, outside of the fact that the Hawks threw the ball from the goal line, was the huge game that Chris Matthews had. Matthews seemed to be unstoppable at times, catching 4 of his 5 targets for 104 yards and a TD. It should be noted however, that most of his production came late in the second quarter and early third quarters while Kyle Arrington was covering him. The Patriots eventually used CB Brandon Browner to help shut him down in the 4th quarter. After the game, the media was scrambling to tell Matthews’ story and it was reported (by SI) that after his failed 2 year stint with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers he was working in a Foot Locker before being called up by the team. These reports proved to be false, but not far from the truth as he was working as a security guard. Matthews is signed through 2015 and he did display very good body control and the ability to track the deep ball, make adjustments and high point the catch. His long term value will be tied to the draft this year. If The Seahawks draft a WR in the first 3 rounds Matthews may just end up as a red zone threat and a great story from an epic Super Bowl.

TE Luke Wilson

2014 Stats: 40 Targets, 22 RECs, 55% catch rate, 362 YDS, 16.5 YPC, 3 TDs

Age/Contract status:  25 years old /Signed through the 2016 season

Luke Wilson is a player that has been on some fantasy owner’s radar since being drafted by Seattle, in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. His 2014 season was just like his first two. disappointing. The most alarming stat from Wilson’s underwhelming 2014 numbers was his incredibly high drop rate. Wilson played 579 snaps, was targeted only 40 times yet he was credited with 5 drops. Combine this with the fact that the Seahawks will most likely never develop into a passing offense and you have to think that Wilson’s long term ceiling is quite limited. I am still intrigued by his talent, opportunity and the fact that TEs do take a little longer to develop in the NFL, but at this point he is nothing more than a deep “Hail Mary”dynasty stash.