Fantasy Football 2013: Draft Russell Wilson

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An important aspect of fantasy football is recognizing trends that indicate future success. As a measure of early preparation for the next fantasy football season, we are analyzing the stats of intriguing players to anticipate their 2013 performance. An in-depth evaluation of past statistics and discovering hidden trends is the best way to indicate potential. Through this we are able to determine which sleepers are destined to reach or even exceed expectations and simply talk and hype.

There has been plenty of hype surrounding Russell Wilson recently. Much of this attention is in regard to his ability to manage the Seattle Seahawks offense and limit mistakes which allows their defense to win games. Few mention Wilson in the same breath as Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck in terms of statistics achievement. Regardless of whether it’s an east coast bias, his small stature, his late selection in NFL draft or his relatively slow start to the season, Wilson’s individual performance has been remarkable.

Wilson finished the 2012 regular season with a 64.1% completion percentage which resulted in 3,118 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. On the ground, he was able to accumulate 489 yards on 94 attempts while adding four rushing touchdowns. Those numbers made him the 11th highest scoring fantasy quarterback with a total of 259 points in standard scoring leagues.

The lack of expectations for Seattle entering the 2012 season meant that not many fans have been following them from the beginning. However, those who are familiar with Seattle know that Wilson was handled with extreme care in the first few starts of his rookie season. The gloves came off in the second half of the season which corresponded with the teams 7-1 record down the stretch and their playoff berth.

If we analyze the difference between Wilson’s stats in the two halves of the season, we gain an understanding of how the rookie quarterback performed once he was unleashed and what he might be capable of in 2013.

Here are Wilson’s 2012 regular season statistics broken down between his first eight games and his final eight games with important statistics in bold:

Games 1 through 8:

PASSING: 129-210, 61.4% cmp%, 1,466 yds, 6.98 avg, 10 td, 8 int;

RUSHING: 36 att, 128 yds, 3.6 avg, 0 td

Games 9 through 16:

PASSING: 123-183, 67.2% cmp%, 1,652 yds, 9.03 avg, 16 td, 2 int;

RUSHING: 58 att, 361 yds, 6.2 avg, 4 td

As we can see, Wilson thrived in the second half of the season with numbers that thoroughly eclipsed his first half stats. His touchdown to interception ratio soared along with his yards per completion. This statistic jump indicates that Wilson is simply very advanced and very talented.

Wilson will not be eased into the 2013 season the same way he was during his rookie campaign, giving him every opportunity to produce those numbers over the course of 16 games.

Wilson’s second half numbers translated over the course of a full season look like this:

3304 pass yards, 32 td, 4 int; 722 rush yards, 8 tds

That is good for 362 fantasy points in standard scoring which would have given him 25 more than Drew Brees, the highest scoring quarterback of 2012.

In his look ahead to 2013, Matthew Berry rated Wilson as the 9th ranked quarterback. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for Wilson to light up fantasy scoreboards next season, while providing absurd value to you on draft day. If he is capable of producing numbers that even resemble those extended 2012 stats then he will become a top five fantasy quarterback with upside.

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