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2012 Fantasy outlooks: Seattle Seahawks

Senior Fantasy Writer
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On the surface it looked like the Seahawks were led by the bullish running of Marshawn Lynch in 2011. He captivated Fantasy owners with his touchdown streak, going 11 straight games with a score. In seven of those games he totaled at least 120 yards and had at least 20 carries in eight of those games. Lynch was so impressive, it seemed like he was the only appealing player on the offense.

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That's because he was, and the Seahawks knew it. They spent this offseason improving on both sides of the ball but specifically the offense, where quarterback Matt Flynn should end up replacing Tarvaris Jackson and Kellen Winslow should end up replacing the trio of mediocrity they had at tight end in 2011. Seattle's receiving corps didn't get much notoriety, in part because their quarterback didn't help any of their targets break out for more than a big game here or there. The hope now is that Flynn can take the likes of Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate and turn them into productive receivers on a consistent basis.

If that happens, then Seattle can produce some offensive Fantasy starters beyond Lynch. Defensively, the unit might be the most underrated in the NFL and is a potential starting option. Not only did the Seahawks add some talented starters in lineman Jason Jones and linebackers Barrett Ruud and Bobby Wagner, but they made a huge splash in the draft by picking up pass-rush specialist Bruce Irvin. The Seahawks already had a pretty good pass rush and a solid D-line to go with a nasty, physical secondary, but if the Irvin gamble pays off then they'll be a huge boon for Fantasy owners.

Fantasy Value Chart
Player Draft Day value Estimated round
Quarterbacks
Matt Flynn 13
Tarvaris Jackson 13
Russell Wilson 13
Running Backs
Marshawn Lynch 1
Robert Turbin 13
Leon Washington ND
Wide Receivers
Sidney Rice 8
Doug Baldwin 13
Golden Tate ND
Ben Obomanu ND
Tight Ends
Kellen Winslow 13
Kickers/Defense
Steven Hauschka ND
Seahawks DST 14
ND - not expected to get drafted

Sleeper ... Matt Flynn, quartertback
We don't have much to go on with Flynn. As a backup to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, Flynn didn't play much. But when he did play, he was insane: In two starts vs. the Lions this year and at the Patriots in 2010 he totaled nine touchdowns, 731 passing yards and two interceptions. No one thinks he can keep up that pace but it's some proof than he can carry an offense and exploit a defense, two things Tarvaris Jackson couldn't do last season. Flynn's got a sound understanding of the West Coast offense the Seahawks employ and has a lot of decent targets to throw to -- nothing like the studs in Green Bay but certainly some diversified talent. It all adds up to a guy who should be worth considering as a backup this season, be it on a one-week basis off waivers or with a late pick in drafts. The quarterback pool is plenty deep, but all it will take is one outing from Flynn like we've seen before to get people interested in him.

Bust ... Sidney Rice, wide receiver
A concussion, two shoulder injuries and a knee injury. For some NFL players, that's a career list of physical problems they've had. For Rice, it's his 2011. Rice had surgery on both shoulders this offseason along with a minor knee procedure after he finished last season four weeks early after suffering a concussion. Oh, and don't forget that he had major hip surgery in August, 2010. So while it remains to be seen how effective Flynn will be or how much the Seahawks will throw, it's a pretty safe bet that Rice won't last 16 games and be a helpful part of Fantasy rosters. It's understandable to draft him late on the hunch that he can make an impact in some capacity, but don't expect him to stay on the field long enough to have another season like he did in 2009.

Late-round flier ... Doug Baldwin, wide receiver
Perhaps the better late-round receiver choice from Seattle is Baldwin, not Rice. After all, it was Baldwin who led the team in receptions (51), receiving yards (788) and touchdowns (four) as an undrafted rookie last season. The Seahawks didn't add a single receiver via the draft or free agency this offseason, a sign that they're comfortable with who they have. Aside from Baldwin, they have the injury-plagued Rice, the underachieving Golden Tate and Ben Obomanu and the unproven Ricardo Lockette, Kris Durham and Deon Butler (they cut the overweight Mike Williams in mid-July). Chances are they're going to give Baldwin the same kind of opportunity they gave him last season when he had four-plus catches in six games and touchdowns in two of his last four. Don't hesitate to draft him late in deeper leagues.

Schedule breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
@ARI DAL GB @STL @CAR NE @SF @DET MIN NYJ bye @MIA @CHI ARI vsBUF SF STL

Seattle's defense is on the rise but it will have its hands full with potent offenses in six of its first eight games (five on the road). The tough start kind of puts a cap on the potential of the Seahawks DST, which was considered a sleeper before the schedule came out. The opposition might force the Seahawks to throw more than they'd like in the first half of the season too. The end of the Seahawks' schedule is interesting: Three division games at home with a trip to Toronto to play the Bills in Week 15. For the second year in a row, Marshawn Lynch gets the Niners in Week 16.

Training camp topics

2011 Touches Leaders
Player Touches
Marshawn Lynch 285 carries, 28 catches
Justin Forsett 46 carries, 23 catches
Leon Washington 53 carries, 10 catches
Doug Baldwin 51 catches, 1 carry
Golden Tate 35 catches, 5 carries

While the Seahawks attempt to overhaul their passing game, a major topic Fantasy owners are huddling over is whether or not Marshawn Lynch can be the same back he was last year. After all, he was able to cash in this offseason to the tune of $17 million guaranteed over his next two seasons -- just a part of a nice extension the team gave him after posting career-highs in rush yards and rushing touchdowns.

First, some myth-busting: Lynch isn't old. He's been in the NFL for five seasons but he's only 26. And Lynch isn't worn down -- he has just over 1,100 career carries. Lynch also doesn't have a poor rushing average, or at least it's not poor in comparison to other backs like him (4.2 rush average last year, 4.0 rush average for his career and three years with at least 4.0 yards per carry). And Lynch can catch the ball. He had 28 receptions last season and has had at least 22 per year since his rookie campaign (he had 47 in 2008).

But here's my favorite Lynch myth-busting stat: Every time he's been "the guy" in an offense and reached well over 200 carries, he's run for at least 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns and totaled at least 1,299 yards. The Seahawks drafted Robert Turbin to add depth to the position and take a few reps off of Lynch's plate so he doesn't get overworked, but it's not anything close to an indication that the Seahawks want to ease him on a weekly basis. If anything, the Seahawks are forced to rely on Lynch because of their unproven passing game. And with the Seahawks' offensive line getting some starters back, there's plenty to get excited about.

Will Lynch be a complete bust? Doubtful -- his contract will warrant that he runs often and he's done well in such situations. Will he meet last year's totals of 1,204 rush yards, 212 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns? The opportunity says he will, and to be honest, he might beat them. Seeing how he's handled in camp and in the preseason is a must for owners who aren't picking in the Top 5 in drafts.

Seeing how the receivers and quarterbacks shake out are also important areas to watch. Again, citing contracts, Matt Flynn should be the guy starting for Seattle even with Tarvaris Jackson starting last year and rookie Russell Wilson making a favorable impression in spring workouts.

Pass-catchers to watch include Golden Tate, who enters his third year, and Kellen Winslow, who enters his first with the Seahawks. Tate broke his hand in the spring and needs a good camp to stay as involved in the offense as he was late last year (19 receptions in his last five games). Winslow hasn't missed a game in three years with Tampa Bay and had a minimum 66 catches in each of those three years. Winslow is especially interesting because the Seahawks tight ends tallied a total of 54 receptions last year. He should get to that number and then some on his own in 2012 if he can adapt to the offense in camp and get his work in with the first-team offense. In fact, it's imperative that the Seahawks figure out their first-team offense as soon as possible so that they can establish some chemistry before they kick off against the Cardinals in Week 1.

Injury update

Sidney Rice (knee, shoulder; probable for the start of training camp) ... Golden Tate (hand; questionable for the start of training camp).

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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Player News
Vikings' Adrian Peterson to begin probation on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:25 pm ET) Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will begin his probation on Wednesday, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Peterson will begin community service, and will undergo counseling to determine whether he has a drug problem. Peterson will report to a probation officer once a month in order to take a drug test. The strict drug testing stems from an Oct. 8 pre-trail urinalysis. Peterson admitted to "smoking a little weed," though the results from the test were never disclosed. 

Probation officials will also determine whether Peterson needs to attend parenting classes. 

Per his plea agreement, Peterson was fined $4,000 and ordered to perform 80 hours of community service. He's required to perform at least 16 hours per month, which would allow him to complete to program prior to training camp.

Peterson is under contract with the Vikings for next season, and is set to earn $12.75 million. The team is not allowed to communicate with Peterson during his suspension. 


Austin Collie signs with CFL's BC Lions
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:35 pm ET) Free-agent receiver Austin Collie has signed with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League, the team announced Thursday.

"I’m excited to be joining the Lions and very much look forward to playing in the CFL," said Collie. "The wide-open play of the Canadian game and the passion of fans across the league is going to be a lot of fun to experience."

Collie played four seasons with the Colts and one with the Patriots. In his last NFL action, he caught four passes for 57 yards in the 2014 AFC Championship Game.


Eagles RB LeSean McCoy: 'I don't want to take less money'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4:39 pm ET) Eagles running back LeSean McCoy reiterated Thursday that while he'd be willing to restructure his contract if asked, he would not accept a pay cut, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

"I know how hard it is to keep a team together and I want to be part of this team. But I don't want to take less money," McCoy said. "I want to figure a way to make it happen [where] we're all together."

McCoy, who is due to count $11.95 million against the cap in 2015, turned in his fourth 1,000-yard season in the last five years in 2014, finishing with 1,319 rushing yards on 312 carries and 155 receiving yards on a career-low 28 receptions. All five of his touchdowns came on the ground.


Bills' Rex Ryan won't commit to EJ Manuel as starting QB
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(4:01 pm ET) When asked about who his starting quarterback would be in 2015, Bills coach Rex Ryan said the team would look at every available option, reports The Buffalo News.

"We're going to exhaust every resource we can," Ryan said. "We'll look at free agents. We'll look at the draft. We'll look at anything."

The Bills have former first-round pick EJ Manuel on their roster, but Ryan said he would not commit to Manuel as his starting quarterback at this time.

"To say that he's definitely going to be the guy, it's way too early to say that," Ryan said.


Bills RB Fred Jackson excited to play for new coach Rex Ryan
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:23 pm ET) Bills veteran running back Fred Jackson said he hasn't had the opportunity to meet with new coach Rex Ryan, but that didn't stop him from expressing his excitement about the new coaching regime in Buffalo.

"I can't wait to play for him. I've heard nothing but good things," Jackson said Wednesday of Ryan during an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. "I'm looking forward to that [first] conversation when I sit down and talk to him."

The Bills finished 9-7 in 2014, which was their best record since 2004. While Jackson believes Ryan is going to "be that catalyst that comes in and pushes us over that hump," he didn't have many bad things to say about coach Doug Marrone, who opted out of his contract New Year's Eve.

"I thought he was a tremendous coach," Jackson said. "He showed up, he worked hard, he pushed players to give their best effort. He got us to a 9-7 record -- we hadn't won nine games in 10 years. There's definitely some things about him that made him a great coach. It's just the way he exited. I don't think anybody expected that. 

"Players, the way we found out is we got a generic text from him, saying that he was moving on and he had chosen to opt out of his contract." 


Justin Tuck: Raider Nation would appluad signing Ndamukong Suh
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:42 pm ET) If defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh doesn't sign a long-term deal with the Lions, then he will become a free agent March 10 and there will be plenty of teams interested in the Pro Bowl lineman. 

Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck indicated if Suh wanted to sign with Oakland, then he would be welcomed in Raider Nation.

"(He's) Raider-ish," Tuck said, per the Detroit Free Press. "And that's one of the reasons why I know Raider Nation would applaud that move, beyond the fact that he's an awesome football player. He kind of fits the mold of ... the toughness and the ferocious player that built the Oakland Raiders."

It is speculated Suh will receive a contract worth at least $100 million. Tuck believes the three-time All-Pro deserves such a lucrative deal.

"The thing about him, you know what you're getting every day. Some of the tactics, you could probably do without, but he's a hell of a football player," Tuck said. "I would love to have the opportunity to line up beside of him and let him take all the double teams that I normally take."


Nick Foles: 'I plan on being in Philly' in 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:48 pm ET) There has been a lot of talk about quarterback Nick Foles' future with the Eagles, especially since Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly's former pupil at Oregon -- Marcus Mariota -- will be part of this year's draft class.

On Thursday, Foles addressed the rumors and stated he is expecting to be back on the Eagles' roster in 2015.

"Yeah you hear about it," Foles said in between doing paid appearances at Super Bowl XLIX, per NJ.com. "You are going to hear about it every single year. That's just part of it. The main word is 'rumor.' You can't put too much into it....I plan on being in Philly.

"I only listen to (head coach) Chip Kelly. That's what is most important. He is the one that will make the decision. Right now all I am going to do is work because I plan on being back in Philadelphia and playing with my team. That's all I ever thought. So that is what I plan on doing and I'm not looking at it any other way."

Foles added he hasn't talked with Kelly since the end of the season.

"We haven't talked a lot. He has a lot going on," Foles said. "This time of year you really just get away from everything. He is busy looking at the draft, doing all that. I saw he is more of the decision maker. Haven't really talked to him too much, but I'm sure I'll hear from him soon."


Dwyer pleads guilty in domestic violence case, gets probation
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:38 pm ET) Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer pleaded guilty Thursday in Maricopa County (Ariz.) Superior Court to a single count of disorderly conduct pertaining to his domestic violence case, according to The Arizona Republic.

Dwyer was sentenced to 18 months of probation and community service following the plea, according to a court spokesman.

The 25-year-old Dwyer was arrested Sept. 17 for a July 21 incident in which he allegedly head-butted his wife in the face and broke her nose after she refused his sexual advances and bit his lip, according to reports taken at the time.

Dwyer's wife told police she reported the incident in September because she feared for their child's safety after seeing reports of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson's arrest on child-abuse charges.

The Cardinals placed Dwyer on the reserve/non-football injury list after his September arrest. He did not play again during the 2014 season.


Tom Brady on Peyton Manning: 'I certainly hope he comes back'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:21 pm ET) While the football world anxiously awaits official word from Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning about his playing status for the 2015 season, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady -- and longtime Manning rival -- said Thursday he hopes the five-time NFL MVP will continue his career.

"What a great player he's been for this league," Brady said Thursday, per NFL.com. "He's a great competitor, and I've been fortunate to play against him a bunch of times. I certainly hope he comes back, 'cause the league will miss him if he doesn't. But those decisions are up to him. I'm sure it's up to whether he's mentally and physically -- that's what he wants to do. But I certainly hope he's back."

Archie Manning, Peyton's father, told NFL Network on Thursday that his son hasn't made a decision yet.

"Well, Peyton evaluates things; he's pretty good at that," he said. "I can't tell him what to do, and he hasn't told me what he's going to do. But I do know that he's really giving a lot of things a lot of thought. He's thinking about where he is physically, he wants to see how he can do this some more, trying to get over an injury."

Archie added starting over with new Broncos coach Gary Kubiak will not be an issue for Peyton, if he decides to return next season.

"Yeah, but he loves Gary. He likes Gary," Archie Manning said. "He liked John Fox. He liked Adam Gase. All those things, I think, are considered with. But my deal is he's always made good decisions; he's pretty thorough. He's going to evaluate a lot of things, and I think he'll make a good decision."


RG3: 'I could've sat out the rest of last year' after hurting ankle
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:04 pm ET) During a radio interview Wednesday night, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III indicated the dislocated ankle he suffered in Week 2 against the Jaguars hindered him the rest of the season. He missed six games due to the injury.

“I had never suffered an ankle injury of that severity before, so I didn’t really know what to expect,” Griffin said, per The Washington Times. “It just became more and more tough the more games that we lost, because you know how hard your guys work, and you want to get out there and help them win games.

“I could’ve sat out the rest of last year, with how bad the ankle was, but I felt like I could play, and I wanted to get out there and play with my guys and help them win games. And that didn’t happen when I got back out there. Then coach made a decision [to bench me]. That was an unfortunate decision, and something we all had to go with because that was coach’s choice.”

Griffin will be entering the final guaranteed year of his contract in 2015. The Redskins have until May 3 to decide if they want to exercise the fifth-year option on his contract for 2016. 

Griffin added his focus this offseason will simply be on getting healthy.

“Last year, I wasn’t healthy, and it sucked,” Griffin told ESPN 980. “There’s no other way to say it other than that. When you dislocate your ankle in the second week of the season, when you and your team had big things in mind. So I guess it’s just getting healthy, getting a mental break, getting a chance to spend time with family, and then formulate my plan going forward from this year so we can go out there and win games.”


 
 
 
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