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2016 Team Report: Seattle Seahawks
QuarterbacksStarter: Russell Wilson
Backup(s): Trevone Boykin(r), Jake Heaps Starting QB: Russell Wilson gave everyone a glimpse of his fantasy ceiling in 2015. Wilson got hot over the second half of the season, playing with the decisiveness from the pocket that has too often evaded him in the past. He averaged 272 yards passing per game from Week 11 to Week 17, racking up 1,906 total yards. He threw for 24 touchdowns over that time, 3.4 per game, while adding one rushing touchdown and 198 rushing yards. Though his inconsistency returned in the playoffs, Wilson's seven-game stretch in the regular season will have fantasy owners salivating. Backup QB: Tarvaris Jackson has been the Seahawks backup for a long time and he still could be in 2016, but he remains absent through the early stages of the offseason. Rookie Trevone Boykin is the favorite over Jake Heaps after Vernon Adams departed rookie camp without a deal. Boykin is similar to Wilson in that he is short and elusive, but is nowhere near the passer of the established starter in Seattle.
Running BacksStarter: Thomas Rawls
Backup(s): C.J. Prosise(r), Christine Michael, Alex Collins(r), Zac Brooks(r)
Fullback(s): Starting RB: The Seahawks expect Thomas Rawls to be ready for training camp after his rookie season was ended prematurely by a major injury. Rawls did enough in Marshawn Lynch's place to solidify himself as the starter entering 2016. Rawls averaged 5.6 yards per attempt on 147 carries, scoring five total touchdowns in seven starts(13 games). His vision and quickness makes him a perfect fit in the Seahawks offense, though the Seahawks are again entering the season with major question marks hovering over their offensive line. Backup RBs: In a bizarre development, the Seahawks spent three picks on running backs in the 2016 draft. C.J. Prosise was the first of those three and he should be the Seahawks' primary backup. Prosise is an explosive back who will immediately be the team's third down back because he is a converted receiver. Michael has seized the backup role with a great summer and he should have a decent amount of weekly work and injury upside if Rawls goes down again. Zac Brooks will likely be trying to land on the practice squad. Fullback:
Wide ReceiversStarters: Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett
Backups: Paul Richardson, Kenny Lawlor(r), Kasen Williams Starting WRs: In re-signing Jermaine Kearse, the Seahawks gave themselves some continuity at the wide receiver position. Kearse and Baldwin will likely remain the starters in two-receiver sets but Lockett will play just as much. Lockett is the most interesting fantasy option for the Seahawks because his explosiveness gives him a high ceiling. Lockett and Wilson weren't on the same page often enough during his rookie season but he showed repeatedly that he could get in behind defenders with relative ease. Doug Baldwin got enough opportunities to highlight his quality last year but can't be certain of the same quantity and quality of service moving forward. Backup WRs: Paul Richardson is an extremely talented receiver who is hoping to overcome the ACL tear that ended his rookie season. He caught just one pass in his second season because of that injury. Richardson is lightning quick and could have a huge impact on the Seahawks offense if he assumes Kearse's role in the starting lineup. He will need to beat Kearse out though as the veteran has established himself as a reliable performer in the postseason. Kenny Lawlor was a late-round pick in the draft who was widely considered a steal while Kasen Williams is a very talented second-year player who has never come close to his potential since a broken leg in college. The Seahawks have interesting pieces but not much proven depth on their roster.
Tight EndsStarters: Jimmy Graham
Backups: Luke Willson, Nick Vannett(r) Jimmy Graham's injury could have a major impact on his season. Victor Cruz suffered the same injury and saw his timetable expand to the point that he never played the season after he was injured. Pete Carroll has said that the Seahawks won't rush Graham to be ready for the season. Being such a big-bodied, heavy player at a position that requires quickness and hard cutting won't help him return. If he does though, Graham will be the unquestioned starter for the Seahawks. If Graham isn't ready to play, Luke Willson will be the obvious replacement. Willson has proven to be an effective player even if he can't match Graham's production. Willson's chances of being a contributor on offense were helped by injury to Cooper Helfet. Helfet was waived after the first week of training camp. His departure will also help Nick Vannett. Vannett is a rookie with a big body who is expected to primarily act as a blocker. A Graham-less offense could make him relevant as a receiver by default though.
Place KickerSteven Hauschka: Hauschka is coming off of another successful season, making 29-of-31 field goals, good enough for third in the league in accuracy. He finished tied for eighth in scoring with 127 points, down from the 143 and 134 he scored in 2014 and 2013, respectively. The Seahawks gave him fewer field goals than usual, but even if that number doesn't come up in 2016, Hauschka is a near lock to be a top 10 kicker, and worth a pick in the top 5 kickers if you want a top option. Hauschka was 6-for-6 from 50+ last year, adding value in leagues that score long field goals higher than chipshots.
Kick and Punt ReturnersKick Returners: Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson, Doug Baldwin Tyler Lockett handled all of Seattle's returns in 2015 and established himself as a force. He should once again take a bulk of the duties in 2016. While coach Pete Carroll has no compunction against using his starters on special teams, if Lockett sees his role scaled back, young receiver Paul Richardson-- who spent most of the last two years battling injury-- could step into the void. Punt Returners: Tyler Lockett, Doug Baldwin Tyler Lockett was Seattle's top punt returner in 2015 and gave them no reason not to use him heavily again in 2016. Should he need a breather, receiver Doug Baldwin has a bit of return experience on his resume, too.
Offensive LineProjected Starters: LT Garry Gilliam, LG Mark Glowinski, C Justin Britt, RG Germain Ifedi [R], RT J'Marcus Webb
Key Backups: Rees Odhiambo [R], Bradley Sowell, Kristjan Sokoli, Terry Poole, Patrick Lewis The Seahawks' offensive line is tough to predict at this point. They have competition at nearly every position, and they have not invested much in the unit at all. The team believes offensive line coach Tom Cable can turn any prospect into a starter, and that belief will be tested this season. Left tackle could be manned by Garry Gilliam, who turned in a below average effort at right tackle last season. It could also be manned by Bradley Sowell, free agent addition from Arizona. Left guard will be a battle between Mark Glowinski and third round pick Rees Odhiambo out of Boise State. Justin Britt was the left guard last season, but will be moved to center this year to battle with Patrick Lewis. Germain Ifedi was the team's late first round pick, and he should win a starting spot as a rookie, probably at right guard. Nominal right tackle J'Marcus Webb can be considered a journeyman at this point in his career, and he could face competition at the spot from Sowell and last year's fourth round pick Terry Poole. There is just a ton of uncertainty with the Seahawks' offensive line and until the lineup resolves, and the players stop changing positions, it will be tough to expect much from the unit. Tier Ranking: Low Tier.
Team DefenseSeattle's D/ST had what was seen as a down year after they were dominant in 2014, but they still finished between fifth and eighth in most scoring systems, and only after a slow finish to the season on the defensive side of the ball. The addition of dynamic return man Tyler Lockett and his two scores helped mask a middling season in interceptions and sacks. The Seahawks were still #1 in scoring defense and rush yards allowed, and they scored three defensive touchdowns. Bruce Irvin was lost in free agency, but the defense should still be among the best in the NFL and fantasy leagues, and worthy of the top three D/ST pick they are still garnering in early drafts.
Defensive LineStarters: Michael Bennett DE, Cliff Avril DE, Jordan Hill DT, Ahtyba Rubin DT
Backups: Frank Clark DE, Cassius Marsh DE, Jarran Reed DT [R], Quinton Jefferson DT [R] Starting DL: Bennett has come a long way since being a former UFA out of Texas A&M in 2009, and is the brother of NE TE Martellus Bennett. His relentless pass rush skills and QB pressuring ability are a key component in the overall defensive scheme of the Seahawks. Counting his final season in Tampa Bay, Bennett has 34.5 sacks and 10 FFs since 2012. He is in the third year of a four year extension signed in the 2014 off-season worth $28.5 million ($16 million guaranteed), and turns 31 in 2016. Avril just turned 30, and the ex-Purdue Boilermaker and Detroit Lion also signed a four year extension in 2014, late in the season. He is in year two of a contract paying him through 2018, also for $28.5 million ($16 million guaranteed - virtually identical to the deal signed by his bookend Bennett). Spanning a half decade in Motown to the past three campaigns in the Emerald City, Avril has 61.5 sacks and 25 FFs, averaging nearly 8 sacks and 3+ FFs per season. He is another integral part of Seattle's ferocious pass rush, played a key role in the Super Bowl win over the Broncos, as his second half absence due to a concussion may have contributed to the following season's last second loss to the Patriots in defense of their crown. Hill and Rubin are active run stuffers, block eaters and pocket collapsers that help their higher profile edge rushing and second level defenders to make more plays. Backup DL: Clark was a 2015 late second round pick, and finished his rookie season with 15 solo tackles, 3 sacks and 1 FF in limited action. Some teams took him completely off their board for serious character red flags and off field question marks. Clark had separate felony burglary convictions (later expunged after fulfilling probation requirements) and a domestic abuse and assault arrest later reduced to disorderly conduct, but not before being booted off the Michigan roster. He is a freakish athlete with a rare SPARQ profile, including a 39" VJ and Condor-like 7'0" wing span bolted onto a squat, compact, bridge troll frame of 6'2", 270 lbs. Marsh is a 2014 fourth round pick who was a coveted prep four star prospect. He has no sacks in his career, but had 12 solo tackles in 2015. Marsh has the athletic versatility and positional flexibility to drop down to the 240 lb. range and be deployed as a SLB. Reed is a 2016 second rounder and key member of the National Champion Alabama defense. While he doesn't offer much as a pass rusher, he is an exceptionally stout run defender and harder to move than a fire hydrant. Reed has the pedigree and talent to be groomed as an eventual starter on the inside while contributing immediately in a rotational role. Jefferson is a fifth round rookie that could stick on the roster.
LinebackersStarters: K.J. Wright WLB, Bobby Wagner MLB, Michael Morgan SLB
Backups: Kevin Pierre-Louis WLB, Eric Pinkins SLB, Khairi Fortt MLB Starting LBs: Wright is somewhat overshadowed by Seattle's many defensive Pro Bowlers, including DE Bennett, fellow LB Bobby Wagner and Legion of Boom members Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. Yet the 2011 high fourth rounder from Mississippi State is a talented playmaker in his own right and turns just 27 in 2016. Wright is in the second year of a four year extension worth $27 million ($8.75 million guaranteed) inked in late 2014, which at the time made him one of the highest paid WLBs in the game - since passed by All-Pro Lavonte David of the Bucs and Mark Barron of the Rams. In 2014-2015, he had a combined 160 solo tackles, 86 assists, 3 sacks and 7 FFs. Wright is a dynamic playmaker that can do it all, run, hit, cover and blitz, and played an integral (if underrated) role in a Seahawk stop unit that has led the NFL in total/scoring defense the past four seasons in a row for the first time in the common draft era. Wagner turns 26 in 2016 and is already a 2 X All-Pro (First-team in 2014 and Second-team in 2015). He signed a four year extension in the 2015 pre-season worth $43 million ($22 million guranteed) that briefly made him the league's richest MLB before Luke Kuechly of the Panthers signed a five year deal worth $61 million with $34 million guaranteed right before the 2015 season. Wagner spearheads the defense by exemplifying a signature trait at every level that makes them one of the best since the merger, they are all exemplary tacklers. Morgan is a former USC UFA (like ex-USC/Seattle LB Malcolm Smith). He has just three starts in five seasons, but could have the early edge to start with the departure of former starter Bruce Irvin to the Raiders (reunited with former teammate Smith). As noted in the DL backup section, Marsh may present another alterantive, for a DE/LB hybrid, he has good movement skills and can break down and tackle in space well. With Wagner and Wright locked in for nickel detail, whoever starts at SLB may see the field less than half the time. Backup LBs: Pierre-Louis is highly athletic with great speed, and in those respects reminscent of former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith, who has gone on to have a lot of success with the Raiders. Pinkins is a former San Diego State safety converted to linebacker by the Seahawks. He was waived than added to the practice squad multiple times before finally being promoted to the big leagues near the end of the 2015 season. At a listed LB-like 6'3", 230 lbs., Pinkins is a mirror image of Kam Chancellor. He could compete with Morgan and Marsh to start with Wagner and Wright.
Defensive BacksStarters: Richard Sherman CB, Jeremy Lane CB, SS Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas FS
Backups: Marcus Burley CB, Tharold Simon CB, DeShawn Shead CB, Kelcie McCray FS Starting DBs: Sherman, even in an "off" year in which he had a career low 2 INTs and 33 solo tackles, was still good enough to become a 4 X All-Pro (albeit Second-team, after First-team nods in 2012-2014). Prior to 2015, he had 24 INTs in the four previous seasons, as well as 50+ solo tackles in 2012 (53) and 2014 (52), and a narrow miss in his 2011 rookie season (47). Sherman is one of the handful of premier coverage CBs in the league, including Darrelle Revis, Patrick Peterson and Josh Norman. The former fifth rounder turned 28 in 2016, and is in year two of a four year extension worth $56 million ($40 million guaranteed) signed before the 2014 season, at the time the highest in the NFL for his position, since surpassed by the above three CBs. Lane finished last season as the starter opposite Sherman, but has the skill set to slide inside and excel in a nickel role. Chancellor's 2015 hold out extended two games into the season (in which Seattle clearly missed him in stumbling to an 0-2 start) because he was unhappy with the four year $28 million extension he signed in 2013 before blinking first - he also missed the final three regular season games with a pelvic injury. Despite his hulking, LB-size for a SS, he has the athleticism, coverage ability and ball skills of much smaller player, in evidence with 6 INTs in his last 41 regular season games. Like Sherman, the 4 X Pro Bowler (2 X Second-team All-Pro) is a former fifth round overachiever that turns 28 in 2016 - they were born within a week of each other. Thomas is arguably the top safety in the game today and Seattle's most valuable defensive player, as important on his side of the ball as QB Russell Wilson is on his. He signed a four year $40 million extension ($25 million guaranteed) in 2014. Thomas combines sub-4.4 speed, elite instincts, off the charts football IQ, outstanding coverage ability and ball skills and is a little stick of dynamite in run support (combined 208 solo tackles, 80 assists, 11 INTS and 4 FFs since 2013). The former #14 overall pick in the 2010 draft is a 5 X All-Pro (3 X First-team and 2 X Second-team) and turns 27 in 2016. Backup DBs: Burley is a former UFA from football powerhouse Delaware. Simon has the talent to push for a starting job but has been hurt a lot early in his career. Last modified: 2016-08-31 19:50:15