2012 Record: 11-5 (2nd NFC West)
By Taylor Noland
2012 was a breakout season for the Seattle Seahawks under third-year head coach Pete Carroll. The team finished with an 11-5 regular season record and was seconds short of reaching the NFC Championship game before a devastating loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional round. Anchored by the league’s stingiest defense, and workhorse RB Marshawn Lynch, the catalyst for the Seahawks’ resurgence was rookie sensation QB Russell Wilson. Now with a year of experience under his belt, Wilson is poised to lead the Seattle offense to the next level.
Drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft, Wilson was not expected to immediately step in and start at QB for Seattle. That job was supposed to belong to free agent signee Matt Flynn. But after a dominant training camp, Carroll gave Wilson the keys to the Seattle offense – and he has not looked back. Wilson tallied 30 total touchdowns (26 passing and 4 rushing) in 2012. Through the air, Wilson accounted for 3,118 yards (64.1% completion percentage and 7.93 yards-per-completion) and just 10 interceptions. On the ground, Wilson added another 489 yards, proving that he can hurt you with his legs as well. Considering it was only his first season in the NFL, Wilson’s future is promising. Wilson showed that he could be an accurate passer, that he could protect the footbal, and that he had the ability to put up big-time fantasy performances (i.e. see his back-to-back 4 TD games in December). Furthermore, the addition of Percy Harvin to a receiving core of Golden Tate and Sidney Rice should only make Wilson’s job easier. However, fantasy owners should proceed with caution. Under offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, the Seattle offense ranked last in the league in pass attempts; and with a premier running back to rely on its not a guarantee that Wilson will be given a significant increase in passing opportunities in 2013.
With all the praise that Russell Wilson got last season, Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch was the most important piece to the Seahawks’ offense. Lynch followed up a resurgent 2011 season by rushing for 1,590 yards on 315 attempts (5.0 yards-per-carry) and racking up 11 TDs on the ground. He displayed the durability that fantasy owners desire from his position, which included ten 100+ yard games. It should be noted for those drafting in PPR leagues that Lynch is still not much of a receiving threat (just 23 receptions for 196 yards last year). Furthermore, there is some cause for concern that the addition of Percy Harvin, combined with a more experienced Russell Wilson, will eat away at Lynch’s TD opportunities. Still, so long as Seattle’s offense stays committed to a strong running attack, Lynch is a top-5 RB worthy of a first round pick in your draft. Seattle has also built depth at RB. Rookie Robert Turbin proved to be a worthy compliment to Lynch last year, and Seattle selected Texas A&M back Christine Michael in the second round. Both RBs possess a similar size & speed combo as Lynch, so it will be interesting to see how Pete Carroll divides the workload among his stable of backs in 2013.
Arguably the biggest acquisition this offseason was the Seahawks’ trade for WR Percy Harvin from the Minnesota Vikings. Harvin, now entering his fifth-year in the NFL, is an electric receiver that has the capability to score anytime he touches the ball. His elite speed combined with open field shiftiness allows Harvin to play from the slot or from the backfield. Harvin has some of the surest hands in football (0 drops last season) and once he gets the ball he is incredibly difficult to tackle in space. While Harvin still has not reached a 1,000 receiving yards or 10 TDs in a season, being paired with a creative QB like Russell Wilson should increase Percy Harvin’s scoring opportunities in 2013. With that being said, Harvin is coming off a broken ankle that shortened his 2012 season and he has not exactly been durable over his career thus far. Harvin’s health does add a bit of risk to his fantasy value, however, a change of scenery might be all that Harvin needs. Harvin will be joining an already formidable receiving corp. Sidney Rice is a tall deep-threat WR that racked up 748 yards and 7 TDs through the air; and Golden Tate is a shifty slot WR that served as Wilson’s key safety valve in scrambling situations. Neither should be expected to be weekly starters in your lineup, but both have the capability of posting stellar numbers any given week. Also at Russell Wilson’s disposal will be Doug Baldwin backing up Sidney Rice, and rookie Chris Harper drafted out of Kansas State in the fourth round.
The most glaring weakness for the Seattle offense is at Tight End. Incumbent starter Zach Miller proved to be a reliable target down the stretch run of 2012, but merely accounted for 396 receiving yards and 3 TDs all year. Looking to replace Miller is fifth round draft pick Luke Wilson out of Rice University. Needless to say, there aren’t many reliable fantasy receiver options on the Seahawks beyond the combo of Harvin, Rice, and Tate.