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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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Buccaneers CB Alterraun Verner optimistic for Week 12
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:47 pm ET) Buccaneers cornerback Alterraun Verner (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Sunday's Week 12 matchup with the Bears, but he's optimistic he'll be cleared to play, Buccaneers.com reports.

"I feel good," he said after getting a limited practice in Friday. "Had a good week and was able to do a lot of things and hopefully they give me the green light to go this week. I was able to open up a lot more this week and I’m looking forward to hopefully being out there this week."

Verner has missed each of the team's last two games, but the Buccaneers defense surrendered 220 passing yards or less to each of the two starting quarterbacks they faced during that stretch.


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(8:31 pm ET) Raiders coach Tony Sparano is optimistic that guard Gabe Jackson (knee) and cornerback T.J. Carrie (ankle) will be able to play in Week 13 against the Rams, CSNBayArea.com reports.

"There’s optimism," Sparano told the media. "Again, I say that today, and just went over a few of those things a little while ago. But yes, there’s optimism there."

Jackson has missed three straight games with his injury, while Carrie has played just once in the last three games.


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(8:04 pm ET) 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis said Friday on Instagram that the surgery on his injured left big toe "went well," 49ers.com reports.

Willis previously indicated that he's been bothered by the injury for several seasons. Now on injured reserve, the linebacker hopes to be ready for the start of the 2015 season.


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(7:34 pm ET) The Chiefs placed wide receiver A.J. Jenkins on injured reserve Friday. Jenkins, who missed the team's last two games with a shoulder injury, finishes the season with nine receptions for 93 yards.

Seahawks' Carroll: 'We'd be thrilled' to keep Marshawn Lynch
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:20 pm ET) Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told the media after Friday's practice that the team would be "thrilled" to have running back Marshawn Lynch back with the team in 2015, the Everett Herald reports.

"We want him around here for as long as he can play, and there’s never been any hesitation, there’s never been another thought about that," Carroll said. "That came totally from somewhere else. He’s under contract next year, we’ll be thrilled to have him playing for us next year. So we’ll do everything we can to get that done."

Carroll's comments come one day after telling USA Today that Lynch is "our guy" and that "we'd love to have him back." It's been speculated that the team would look to move on from Lynch after this season, as releasing the star running back would save the team $7 million in cap room.


Raiders' Tony Sparano: RB Latavius Murray in concussion protocol
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:55 pm ET) Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano didn't provide much of an update regarding running back Latavius Murray's status during his Friday news conference. He told reporters that Murray is undergoing a battery of concussion tests, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Trio of Seahawks ruled out for Sunday battle with Arizona
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:46 pm ET) The Seahawks have red-lighted center Max Unger (knee/ankle), defensive back Marcus Burley (hamstring) and linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (shoulder) for their Week 12 game against Arizona. Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs (knee) is doubtful, but all else on their injury report have a good shot at playing.

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(5:32 pm ET) Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner plans on going full-bore upon his return to game action Sunday against Arizona. He has been out five games with a toe injury.

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(5:25 pm ET) Offensive tackle Anthony Davis (concussion) and defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey (forearm) have been red-lighted by the 49ers for their Sunday game against Washington.

Listed as questionable are cornerback Tramaine Brock (hamstring), wideout Bruce Ellington (ankle), linebacker Dan Skuta (ankle) and tight end Vance McDonald (hip).

The probables are linebacker Chris Borland (shoulder) and wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (quad).


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(5:17 pm ET) The questionable status of wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (knee) headlines the injury report submitted by the Cardinals for their Sunday game against Seattle. Ed Stinson (toe) was the only player on the list ruled out for Week 12.

Meanwhile, the following players were deemed probable: Sam Acho (neck), Lorenzo Alexander (knee), Andre Ellington (foot, hip), Larry Foote (hip), Robert Hughes (hamstring), Rashad Johnson (back) and Dan Williams (elbow).


 
 
 
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