The Seahawks have progressively declined since reaching the Super Bowl at the end of the 2005 season. They made the playoffs in 2006 and 2007 before falling apart the last two years.
Now it's up to Pete Carroll to get Seattle back on track. The coach who turned around Southern California is hoping to have the same success in his second stint in the NFL (he went 27-21 with two playoff appearances as New England's head coach from 1997-99), but he has a lot of work to do.
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Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is on his last legs, the Seahawks still have Julius Jones penciled in as the starting running back and T.J. Houshmandzadeh was a bust in his first year in Seattle in 2009. There's also a defense in dire need of being rebuilt, but Carroll is up to the challenge.
The good thing for Fantasy owners is there are still a few players for the Seahawks worth drafting in the majority of leagues. We love the potential for Justin Forsett this season, and Houshmandzadeh should have a bounce-back year. John Carlson could be a starting tight end in deep leagues, and Golden Tate has upside for the future.
As for the present, it could be a long year in Seattle, but maybe the Seahawks are on the verge of getting things back on track.
Sleeper ... Justin Forsett, RB
The Seahawks will open training camp with Julius Jones as the starting running back, but Forsett will eventually see the majority of carries. He has to if Seattle wants its best players on the field. Last year, Forsett had 114 carries for 619 yards (an impressive 5.4 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. He also added 41 catches for 350 yards and a touchdown, and he's a candidate for 1,200 total yards and seven touchdowns. We consider Forsett the best offensive player in Seattle, and he should be drafted as a No. 3 Fantasy running back with a mid-round pick. But don't be surprised if Forsett is starting for you by the end of the season because he has potential to be a star.
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Bounce-back candidate ... T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR
Houshmandzadeh will look to improve in his second year with Seattle this season. Last year, Houshmandzadeh finished with 79 catches for 911 yards and three touchdowns, his lowest stat totals in each category since 2004. He said he played last year with broken ribs and had surgery this offseason to repair a hernia, so hopefully he's healthy. We expect Houshmandzadeh to play better this year, but he's no longer an elite Fantasy option. He'll have big weeks at times -- he had three games with double digits in Fantasy points in 2009 -- but those won't be the norm for Houshmandzadeh.
We view Housh as a low-end No. 2/high-end No. 3 Fantasy option. He's still good enough to start in deeper leagues since he's the No. 1 target in Seattle, but this passing game has a lot to be desired. Take Houshmandzadeh with a mid-round pick after the top-tier wide receivers are off the board.
Keeper-league target ... Golden Tate, WR
Tate could end up being useful in seasonal leagues since the Seahawks need playmakers, and Tate was a star in college at Notre Dame. He'll likely end up starting this season opposite Houshmandzadeh once he outplays Deion Branch, but the passing game in Seattle has a lot to be desired. You're probably not going to draft Tate in the majority of formats, but he should be drafted with a mid-round pick in keeper leagues. He could end up being a solid contributor in the near future.
The Seahawks benefit from facing the AFC West, which means matchups against Oakland and Kansas City. They also play in a weak division, and if Seattle can start the season playing well with games against the 49ers, Broncos, Chargers and Rams before their bye in Week 5, Fantasy owners who take a chance on Forsett, Houshmandzadeh and Carlson will have confidence to use them as starters as the season goes on.
Training camp topics
Charlie Whitehurst could challenge Hasselbeck for the starting quarterback job, but we expect Hasselbeck to remain the starter for at least one more year. He still has value as a low-end No. 2 Fantasy quarterback.
We're hoping that Forsett can win the starting job over Jones, but the names on the depth chart are irrelevant here. Forsett is the Seattle running back to target on Draft Day in all leagues. It will also be interesting to see if Leon Washington (leg) can return to health in time to start the season, but his main role will be on special teams.
Seattle might have the least Fantasy-relevant players of any team in the NFL. But the players who do have a chance could end up playing well since there are little expectations for them to succeed.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh (hernia; probable for the start of training camp) ... Deion Branch (knee; questionable for the start of training camp) ... Leon Washington (leg; probable for the start of training camp)
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