3-Point Stance: Steady Eddie could make multiple appearances in Seattle
As the mercury rises, Brad Evans and Liz Loza will tackle pressing fantasy questions tied to every NFL team. Read, ponder and get a jump on your offseason research. Monday’s topic: The Seattle Seahawks.
Around barbecues and bellied up at Fantasyland bars, gamer discussions are split on where to invest precious fake dollars in the Seattle backfield, if at all. OVERVALUED, UNDERVALUED or PROPERLY VALUED: Eddie Lacy (71.6 ADP, RB27) and C.J. Prosise (97.2, RB37).
Liz – UNDERVALUED. Prior to injuring his ankle, Lacy looked good. Almost vintage. He was running hard and staying efficient. In fact, through the first six weeks of the season, the big man rumbled past defenders at an elite level, averaging 3.4 YAC. I’m guessing Pete Carroll and Company saw the same thing. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have given him a contract worth $5.5 million. That’s starter money.
A shoo-in to receive between 13 and 18 touches per week, Lacy will additionally benefit from a more experienced offensive line and a healthy Russell Wilson. Assuming the contract incentives motivate the big man’s conditioning regimen, Lacy’s could be in for a massive rebrand. He’s a high-end RB2 for fantasy purposes.
OVERVALUED. Scottish poet Robert Burns famously wrote, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Such is the case with Prosise. While I have no doubt that Seattle intends to make the second-year player their primary pass-catching back, a few glaring impediments exist. In addition to his lack of experience and health concerns, there is the potential presence of Tyler Lockett.
Both gadget players have an over-lapping skill-set. While Lockett also has durability issues, it’s likely he’ll be ready to play come September. Which means these two may cannibalize each other’s opportunities. Given the number of red flags, I don’t plan on reaching for Prosise. Instead, I’d rather take a chance on Kareem Hunt (RB41) or wait a beat and try to get some value out of Danny Woodhead (RB66).
Brad – UNDERVALUED. The public pressure and resulting group effort for Lacy to meet weight thresholds is a testament to the American, and fantasy, spirit. Shed the jellyroll, keep it sexy and the now svelte rusher should return to his previous Pro Bowl form. It’s important to remember he’s still in his physical prime (27 years old), played sparingly his last two years in Green Bay (’15 snap share: 52.0%; ’16: 53.7%) and is one of the game’s most brutalizing between-the-tackles thumpers (No. 4 in YAC/tch in ’16). Russell Wilson’s mobility and downfield effectiveness only enrich his chances for a major rebound.
Seattle’s refurbished offensive line will be critical, but Lacy has a reasonable shot at 1100-1200 combined yards and 8-10 touchdowns on roughly 60 percent of the opportunity share. I’m very confident he’ll distance himself from Thomas Rawls in training camp. Suit up 14 or more times this year and he’ll manufacture RB2 numbers in standard 12-team leagues.
UNDERVALUED. Before you even propose the question, yes, it’s possible for Lacy and Prosise to break into the RB2 ranks, no matter league distinction. Obviously, the latter packs more punch in PPR, the former in standard, but both should regularly thrash defenses working as a power-finesse tandem.
As a rookie, Prosise briefly experienced a fantasy ascension. Though fleeting, it was nothing shy of spectacular. His Week 10 dismantling of New England is Exhibit A. Displaying the nimbleness and hands of Spiderman, he totaled 153 yards on 24 touches (17 carries and 7 receptions) and evaded EIGHT tackles. EIGHT! Doctor Octopus couldn’t have wrapped him up. Over his six-game showcase, he averaged 1.24 fantasy points per opportunity (RB6), notched a 29.8 percent juke rate (RB12) and compiled a silly 8.1 yards per touch (RB1). A strong candidate for 11-13 touches per game, 60-plus receptions and 950-1050 total yards, he’s a PPR beefcake absurdly slipping into the late-middle rounds.
Hobbled by an early season ankle injury and later an MCL setback, Mr. Ciara, Russell Wilson, didn’t exactly climb the chart in rushing yards last season. His career-low 259 yards in the category (QB9) barely outpaced ‘world-class sprinter’ Matthew Stafford. OVER/UNDER ground yards for the passer this season 499.5.
Brad – UNDER. Physical preservation, I feel, is of utmost importance for Wilson. Yes, he topped the number in three of his last four seasons, but inching closer to 30 and given last year’s hinderances, he needs to protect his body for the long haul. That’s precisely why Seattle pursued Lacy and focused on rebuilding its broken offensive line this offseason. He’ll still occasionally take advantage of what defenses give him, but gone are the days of 100-plus rush attempts. During mad scrambles expect dump-offs to Prosise to become the norm.
Currently, Wilson is my QB10. I’m forecasting roughly 4,000 passing yards, 350 rushing yards with 27 total TDs (two rushing). Philip Rivers, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston and Kirk Cousins, going anywhere from 10-30 picks after Wilson, are cheaper and more attractive options.
Liz – OVER. For three out of five years as a pro, Wilson has averaged between 5.2 and 5.6 rushing yards per attempt. With the exception of 2016, the mobile QB topped a minimum of 94 attempts. Given the upgraded offensive line and the time he’s had to heal, it’s reasonable to believe he’ll match those base numbers (94 attempts at 5.4 YPA) and bounce back, racking up at least 500 rushing yards (507.6, to be exact).
“Down Low” should be Doug Baldwin’s nickname. Few in the fantasy game talk about the wide receiver despite consecutive seasons with top-15 finishes. BELIEVE or MAKE BELIEVE: The overlooked Seahawks wideout again tops 85 receptions and toes the WR1 line in 12-team leagues, standard or PPR.
Liz – BELIEVE. Baldwin’s TDs regressed in 2016, but his number of receptions actually increased. That’s likely to change a bit this season, as the team gets back to their running roots. Still, he’ll see plenty of action in the passing game, especially given the lack of depth behind him and the red flags that both Prosies and Lockett present (see above). After two solid years of production, Baldwin (and that motivating chip on his shoulder) has earned WR1 status.
Brad – BELIEVE. Baldwin is a perennial Rodney Dangerfield All-Star. The little attention he receives annually is downright disrespectful. His sharp routes, remarkable hands (75.2 catch%) and stellar efficiency (WR10 in fpts/target) are why he’s in the “Best Slot Receiver” conversation. The consistency king is also unbelievably durable. Presumably crafted from Adamantium, the wideout last missed a game in 2012, the only season he failed to see action in 16 contests. Putting it all together, I refuse to doubt his abilities. He’s an excellent pick in the late-second/early-third round in 12-team exercises (23.8 ADP, WR12).