2013 Fantasy Football Preview: Sidney Rice
The Seattle Seahawks got some bad news on Tuesday night, with wide receiver Percy Harvin announcing via Twitter that he will have surgery on his injured hip on Thursday. There is a chance he’ll miss the entire season, but his current recovery timeline would have him returning somewhere around Week 13, just in time for a presumed playoff push for the Seahawks.
Fantasy football owners will also be left without a potential impact player, as the pairing of Harvin and Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson was at the very least intriguing for the fantasy upside of both players. Seattle will now have a bit of reshuffling to do in their receiving corp, with Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin likely to climb the depth chart and Sidney Rice possibly becoming a more prominent target for Wilson.
Rice is now arguably the most fantasy-worthy wide receiver on the Seahawks’ roster, but does Harvin being sidelined change how fantasy owners should view him overall?
Rice has his own health concerns, with a report from ESPN Seattle’s Liz Matthews that he is in Switzerland getting “some sort of knee treatment.” Leaving aside the shady implications of that statement from head coach Pete Carroll, it serves as a reminder that Rice has only played all 16 games twice in his six NFL seasons. One of those two campaigns was 2012, despite being less than 100 percent healthy for much of the season due to various ailments, and he had 50 receptions for 748 yards and seven touchdowns. The other came in 2009 with the Minnesota Vikings, when Rice set career-highs across the board (83 receptions for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns) with Brett Favre as his quarterback.
As long as he is ready to go for Week 1, Rice’s target total should rise (82 last season, tied for 51st among wide receivers) with Harvin out, but Seattle’s run-heavy offense puts a ceiling on his fantasy upside apart from any lingering injury concerns. Even in a best-case scenario, Rice is nothing more than a low-end WR2 or high-end WR3 in 12-team leagues with slightly better value in touchdown-heavy formats.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.