by John Aiken, Oregon Sports News
It’s August, and along with the thundering roar of the Blue Angels screeching over Lake Washington for Seafair, the unmistakable feeling of football is in the air. In fact, the first NFL preseason game was played a week ago, with the Denver Broncos quietly beating the Atlanta Falcons, 14-10, on August 1st.
So, before you head to the beach to bask in the remaining days of summer, we need to talk about the Seattle Seahawks.
For some—or likely most nowadays—fantasy football leagues are starting back up and shaking off the rust of last season’s successes and failures. For anyone planning on playing this year, there are Seahawks you should be targeting for your teams.
But first, a little fantasy football level setter. Just in case this is your first swim in the icy waters of just-for-fun-but-actually-a-relentlessly-cutthroat-competition that fantasy football often becomes as the season rolls along, here are a few terms you need to become familiar with before you can successfully navigate the fantasy football season.
FANTASY FOOTBALL 101
Each fantasy football season kicks off (see what I did there) with a draft to construct your team. Leagues vary, like the number of teams, drafting formats and keeper selections, but the general process and results are the same. Your goal is to acquire players, balancing different position groups to attain the best overall possible team. For example, as the draft progresses, you’ll have chances to select players to your team and you wouldn’t want to draft multiple players from one position before you draft for your other open roster spots.
There’s an endless number of ways a fantasy league’s scoring can be configured, but there are three popular ways you need to know about: Standard, PPR, and Half-PPR. The essential difference is whether a player catching the ball is worth anything. In a standard league it isn’t, but in a PPR (point per reception) or Half-PPR it is. Half-PPR indicates that a catch it worth a half point, obviously. Leagues that score this way will award more points to wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs who catch a large volume of passes and fewer points to players who catch a smaller volume of passes.
Throughout the season, you’ll need to add or drop players to your team and there are two main ways it usually happens: waivers or trades. Each week, your league will have a waiver period where you can request available player(s) to add to your team. Then, at your league’s specified time, the waiver requests are processed (usually based on who used their waver longest ago) and requested players are added to rosters. Additionally, during the season you can trade players with other teams in your league. When evaluating a potential trade, there are two things to consider. First, assess the past, present, and future value of each player involved, then, balance those values against your team’s needs in the coming weeks and for the rest of the season. Getting a top-tier player on your team is great, but not if it costs you the players you need to make the playoffs.
2019 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Ok, now that you’re up-to-speed on all the fantasy football jargon, you’re set to win it all and become a league champion!
Your team will end up comprised of players from across the NFL, but if you’re lucky (or just a homer), you might end up with a few local guys too. So whether you’re a first timer joining a friend-of-a-friend’s league, an employee reluctantly returning to an office league, or a perennial playoff contender hellbent on finally taking the crown in the league you’ve been in for years, your fantasy team will benefit from having these Hawks rostered.
Russell Wilson is the obvious place to start when thinking about fantasy football-relevant Seahawks. Since entering the league in 2012, Wilson has been one of the most reliable players in the league (he hasn’t missed a game!) and established himself as a legit NFL arm. The Seahawks’ dependence on the running game has limited Wilson’s fantasy production in the past, but this season, he’s primed for a larger role than ever before. With no clear difference-maker in the Hawks backfield and a reconfigured set of wideouts, Wilson is going to be throwing a lot. That being said, he’s generally ranked in the back half of the top 10 QBs, so depending on the number of teams in your league, you may be able to secure a better fantasy option. But don’t be surprised if Wilson pulls off yet another magical miracle and dominates all season long.
Oh, how I long for the days of a Marshawn Lynch-style workhorse running back in Seattle, but that era has passed. The Seahawks have both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny (among others) in the backfield this season. And both players have shown flashes of dominance at times but never sustained it for very long, so picking either of these RBs as anything more than a backup, long-shot, or bye-week fill-in isn’t likely to work out very well. Draft your first few backs elsewhere and stash one of these guys on your bench, if you want.
Sadly, my personal favorite Seahawk, Doug Baldwin, has retired, forcing all of us to take a fresh look at the available Seattle wideouts this year. Fortunately, the Hawks drafted D.K. Metcalf to compliment speedy vet, Tyler Lockett, bringing some much-needed excitement to the position. Last year, Lockett put up career numbers, and with the addition of Metcalf–a physical powerhouse in his own right–Lockett should be freed up for less-contested looks. There are a lot of talented WRs in the NFL, and many of them are established in more pass-dependent offenses, so draft Lockett as your WR2 at best. Metcalf has been a little dinged up this preseason, and he might get off to a slow start, so to me, he’s an inspiring stash on your roster.
Like the running backs, the tight ends have been beset of late by a rash of injuries and inconsistencies. From the unexpected (understatement!) breakout of Will Dissly, to the solid but not standout performances of Nick Vannett, and beyond, finding reliable production from the most fickle position in fantasy football is a real challenge. To that end, I recommend you either decide you want a dependable TE for the season and draft one of the better ones early or opt to stream the hot hand, picking up a tight end each few weeks based on favorable matchups and scoring trends. In that case, one of these guys might be a great option to deploy, for a while. Grab your board and ride the TE wave.
DEFENSE AND SPECIAL TEAMS
In the recent past, the Seattle defense has been either good, great, or in 2013, one of the greatest defenses in NFL history. However, injuries are always an issue, and we seem to have suffered more than our fair share at times. Additionally, many of the key playmakers the Hawks have relied on to shut down opponents have left town, allowing young callups to take their shot under the bright Sunday lights for better or worse. Aside from our incredible linebackers, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, and our punt specialist, Michael Dickson, there are a lot of new faces and talent-in-development on this side of the field. Perhaps several of these players will take a step forward this season, but more conservative team managers will look elsewhere for those hard-to-get fantasy points. RIP, LOB.
Overall, the Seahawks, like last year, are without a true elite standout player on the roster, except for Wilson—he’s literal magic. Maybe some of these players (and others) will surprise us, but fantasy football is a unique lens with which to view the sport of football itself. You must subtract fandom and optimism to specifically focus on scoring fantasy points. From that perspective, I’d happily draft Wilson, Lockett, and it goes downhill from there.
Not that I don’t love all these guys, and not that I don’t expect the Seahawks to have a good season overall (because a whole team of good players can beat a team with one or two greats), but for fantasy football, there are better team combinations you should be able to construct.
Good luck drafting your team, shaping it throughout the season, and pitting it against the rest of your fantasy football league on your way to utter dominance. In the immortal words of the Highlander, “there can be only one” and I certainly hope that it’s you. Unless you’re playing me, in which case, I hope to decimate your team unequivocally.