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2011 Fantasy outlooks: Seattle Seahawks

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Seahawks surprised a lot of people in 2010. They surprised the NFC West by winning the division. They surprised the Saints by winning their playoff matchup. And they surprised plenty of Fantasy owners with some quality players.

You're not going to count Marshawn Lynch, Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu as stars, but they definitely had their moments last year. And they should be better in 2011.

We consider Lynch as a potential starter this season in all leagues, Williams should improve on what he showed in spurts last year and Obomanu and Justin Forsett are worth drafting with late-round picks. We might also see flashes of good performance from Golden Tate or John Carlson, and the starting quarterback in Seattle might turn into a quality No. 2 Fantasy option.

First, we have to know who the starting quarterback will be, and the candidates include Matt Hasselbeck, who is a free agent, Charlie Whitehurst or a veteran to be signed later. We expect Hasselbeck to return, and since he plays in the NFC West and has some decent weapons around him, he could be used as a bye-week or injury replacement.

The Seahawks have the potential to surprise us all again. It could be another successful season for second-year coach Pete Carroll.

Sleeper ... Marshawn Lynch, RB

Fantasy Value Chart
Player Draft Day value
Quarterbacks
Matt Hasselbeck
Charlie Whitehurst
Running Backs
Marshawn Lynch
Justin Forsett
Leon Washington
Wide Receivers
Mike Williams
Ben Obomanu
Golden Tate
Deon Butler
Brandon Stokley
Kris Durham
Tight Ends
John Carlson
Anthony McCoy
Kicker/DST
Olindo Mare
Seahawks DST

Lynch landed with Seattle last season and seemingly resurrected his career. In 12 games with the Seahawks, Lynch had 165 carries for 573 yards and six touchdowns and 21 catches for 138 yards with three fumbles. In the playoffs, Lynch had 23 carries for 133 yards and one touchdown, but the majority of that production came in the first round against New Orleans (131 yards) when he had an incredible play on a 67-yard touchdown ramble. Lynch has plenty of potential as the starter for the Seahawks -- we know it because we've seen it from him from his days in Buffalo-- and so we consider him a No. 3 Fantasy running back with upside. He will share carries with Forsett, who is more of a third-down back, but Lynch has the ability to gain 1,300 total yards and nine touchdowns, which is something he did in 2008 with the Bills. It helps that Lynch is in a contract year, and he should run well again this season. Plan on drafting him with a mid-round pick, but don't be surprised when he out-produces his draft position.

Breakout … Mike Williams, WR

Fantasy owners will point toward Michael Vick and Peyton Hillis as the top veterans who came out of nowhere to be standout options in 2010, but Williams wasn't far behind. A former draft bust in Detroit, Williams resurrected his career with the Seahawks under Carroll, his former college coach at USC. Williams had 65 catches for 751 yards and two touchdowns and enters this year as the Seahawks' No. 1 receiver (he also added three touchdowns in the playoffs). Fantasy owners remain skeptical of Williams, and rightfully so given his NFL track record, but he is worth drafting as a low-end No. 3 Fantasy option. He led the Seahawks in receptions last year by 29 catches, and it's clear he's a focal point on offense. If Williams can find the end zone on a more regular basis he could become a Fantasy star. He is worth drafting with a mid- to late-round pick in standard formats, and his value is slightly higher in PPR leagues.

Late-round flier … Ben Obomanu, WR

Obomanu should be the starter opposite Williams, who remains the best wide receiver in Seattle. In 2010, Obomanu had 30 catches for 494 yards and tied Deon Butler for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with four. Obomanu has the potential to be a significant contributor for the Seahawks, and he showed that during a four-game stretch last season when he had 15 catches for 342 yards and three touchdowns. The Seahawks want to increase the workload for Tate, but he will likely be more of a slot receiver. If Obomanu picks up where last season ended he could make a significant impact for the Seahawks and Fantasy owners.

Schedule breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
@SF @PIT ARI ATL @NYG bye @CLE CIN @DAL BAL @STL WAS PHI STL @CHI SF @ARI

Seattle could have a hard time repeating last year's success with a tougher schedule this year, including games against 2010 division winners in Atlanta, Philadephia and Chicago, which is where the Seahawks' playoff run ended last season against the Bears. Along with that, Seattle has 1 p.m. ET starts at Pittsburgh in Week 2 and at the Giants in Week 5, and those games are never good for West Coast teams. The Seahawks should perform well in their division, but their schedule should be cause for consideration when drafting any players off Seattle's roster.

Training camp topics

2010 Touches Leaders
* includes postseason
Player Touches
Marshawn Lynch 209
Justin Forsett 164
Mike Williams 75
Deon Butler 38
Brandon Stokley 43
Ben Obomanu 41

The starting quarterback is the biggest decision the Seahawks will make, and Fantasy owners should stay tuned. Not only because the starter could be a useful No. 2 Fantasy quarterback, but you also want to see who is throwing the ball to Williams, Obomanu, Tate and Butler.

We also want to see the depth chart at wide receiver. Williams and Obomanu are expected to start, but we want to see how Tate and Butler are used. Brandon Stokley played well as the slot receiver for the Seahawks last season with 43 catches, but Tate could shine in that role and has the chance for 50-plus catches.

Lynch and Forsett are established in the backfield, but Leon Washington could also see more time on offense, which would impact Forsett. And hopefully we can see more from Carlson this season after he was a complete bust in 2010.

Injury update

Deon Butler (leg; questionable for the start of training camp) … Lofa Tatupu (knee; probable for the start of training camp)

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can also follow Jamey at @jameyeisenberg . Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com .

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Player News
Report: Buccaneers bringing in Dan Connolly for a visit
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Former Patriots offensive guard Dan Connolly will visit the Buccaneers on Tuesday, per a report by Fox's Ross Jones, citing a source. 

Connolly has played in 87 games for the Patriots in the last seven years and hasn't played in fewer than 13 games in a season since 2008. 


Steelers RB DeAngelo WIlliams says signing was easy decision
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) After playing his first nine seasons with the Panthers, running back DeAngelo Williams signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the Steelers this offseason. Among his many thoughts on the signing, he called it an easy decision, according to the Sporting News.

“I didn’t know they wanted me. I had never been on a visit before,” Williams said. “I was with the same organization for nine years. When I got the call and they said, 'hey we want to bring you in for a visit' I took it as that. Had they said we wanted to bring you in for a signing I would have had a different mindset. I had no idea what was going to transpire when I got here.”

Williams added that he is willing to do whatever it takes to get the team to the next level.

“It’s the opportunity to take maybe one or two reps or whatever it takes to make this team better,” Williams said. “That is what I will do. I want to make it to a Super Bowl and win it. I know this team has that potential and they can do it.

“Coming here was an easy decision. This is a Super Bowl contending team. Every veteran out there, veteran or rookie, they want to go to the Super Bowl and win it and get the best opportunity. I think the best opportunity is here in Pittsburgh.”

Williams has rushed for 6,846 yards on 1,432 carries with 46 rushing touchdowns in his career.


Lions WR Golden Tate doesn't feel pressure due to loss of Suh
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Although Lions wide receiver Golden Tate feels the loss of Ndamukong Suh is a blow to the team, he doesn't believe it puts more pressure on the offense, reports ESPN. 

When asked specifically about the subject, Tate was clear about his thoughts.

"No, I don't think it adds any pressure," Tate said by phone Monday. "We just need to be who we are. We know that we have a lot of weapons all over the field. We just need to reach our potential each and every week.

"We just need to go out there and play fundamentally sound football and I have no doubt our defense is going to be really good again this year and we just got to do our jobs. There's no pressure on anyone but to be ourselves and to play good football."

Additionally, Tate recognizes that Suh was a game-changing player for the Lions, but he likes the addition of Haloti Ngata.

"Obviously, losing Suh is a big hit," Tate said. "I don't care what team you are, he's the guy that can change the game. Change an opposing offense's game plan. He affects the game so much. But with that being said, I'm thankful to have [had] the opportunity to play with him for a year and be a part of something special. But the show must go on.

"The guy we got, [Haloti] Ngata, is a heck of a player. I think it's a good pickup for us. I know he has a past with coach Caldwell so he knows the ins and outs of the system, probably. But we're ready to move forward. We can't live in the past and football season must still go on. We're preparing to have a great year and build from last year."

The 26-year-old stated that he plans on focusing on the intricacies of the offensive playbook heading into this season.

"One thing I really want to focus on is learning the playbook a little bit better," Tate said. "I felt like I knew it for the most part, but details, running the plays exactly how Joe Lombardi draws them up, could help us win more games and create more opportunities for myself and our team."

Tate finished his first season with the Lions catching 99 passes for 1,331 yards and four touchdowns.


Report: LB Rolando McClain ends Patriots' visit without contract
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) After visiting the Patriots on Monday, linebacker Rolando McClain and the team did not agree to terms on a contract, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. The same report states that the visit was a positive one.

McClain played in 13 games last season for the Cowboys, collecting 81 total tackles and one sack. Over his four-year career, the 25-year-old has accumulated 327 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, 23 passes defensed, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.


Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu looks forward to being healthy
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu believes that he is regaining his health and he's ready to make an impact this season, according to the team's website.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been healthy,” Mathieu said Monday. “Last year I felt like I took a back seat. I played well my rookie year and then last year it was kind of, eh, I was there but I wasn’t there. This (year) is more important for me because I really want to let everyone know I’m back and I can still make some plays.”

Mathieu tore his ACL and LCL toward the end of the 2013 season. He recently said that the comeback was "way harder than I thought."

Head coach Bruce Arians talked about how Mathieu was not himself last season.

“You saw him fight through it last year,” Arians said. “He was not the player he was used to (being) and it was very frustrating for him.”

Mathieu was aware of the chatter from the outside world and he is using that as motivation going forward.

“You hear people talk and I had time to listen to them talk, so it’s like … I hear it,” Mathieu said. “Like I said, I didn’t feel like I made enough plays last year to help our team. I am looking forward to this year because I know I can do it.”

The 22-year-old has registered 106 total tackles, one sack, three interceptions and one forced fumble in 26 games played during his two-year career.


Saints plan to rework Jahri Evans, Cameron Jordan contracts
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Saints coach Sean Payton said that the team has a plan in place to rework guard Jahri Evans' contract to help create salary cap space, per ESPN's Mike Triplett

Evans is scheduled to make $6.8 million salary in 2015 and cost $11 million against the cap. 

The team might also extend defensive end Cameron Jordan's contract. Jordan is entering the last year of his contract and is scheduled to make $6.969 million this year.


Rams have agreed to terms with OL Tim Barnes
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) The Rams have agreed to terms with offensive lineman Tim Barnes, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The one-year deal has a maximum value of $1 million. 

Barnes recently visited had a visit with the Chiefs before signing with the Rams. The 26-year-old spent all three of his previous seasons with the Rams, starting four of the 45 games he appeared in.


Report: Brandon Tate visits Chiefs
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Free agent wide receiver/kick returner Brandon Tate visited the Chiefs on Monday, according to a report from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, citing a source.

Tate had 17 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown for the Bengals last year. He also had a combined 571 yards in kick and punt returns. 


Lions' Riley Reiff open to playing right tackle
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Lions coach Jim Caldwell said that Riley Reiff might start at right tackle next season. 

Reiff has started 32 games at left tackle over the last two seasons. The Lions aren't sure that last year's right tackle LaAdrian Waddle will be fully recovered from knee surgery, and backup tackle Cornelius Lucas is better on the left side. 

Reiff told the Daily Republic he doesn't care where he plays. 

 "I like playing, and wherever they want to put me, that's fine. I'll play," he said.


Broncos OL Michael Schofield looking to compete for starting job
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Broncos offensive lineman Michael Schofield is ready to come in and compete for a starting job this season, reports the Denver Post.

After not dressing for a single game as a rookie, Schofield added weight and he looks forward to fighting for a starting job.

"I am going in there with that mentality. In the NFL everybody is competing," Schofield said during a road trip to see family in Illinois. "They are looking for someone to step up and take over. I want to make that jump."

The third-round draft pick of the Broncos in 2014 struggled with weight issues, but he is now up to 305 pounds. He also recognized that his pass protection needs improvement.

"Personally, I felt there were reasons I wasn't out there (for games). I wasn't consistent enough in pass pro (protection). And my weight was really fluctuating," Schofield said.

Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak believes that the team's zone-blocking scheme can help Schofield elevate his game, and Schofield agrees.

"We like the Schofield kid, so we'll see. We think he's got some flexibility (in where he can play)," Kubiak said. "It will be very competitive."

"I feel like I am better suited for this," Schofield said. "You have to be able to reach block, and I feel the steps required fit me better."


 
 
 
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