Russell Wilson's Fantasy Football Value: High Floor, Higher Ceiling

By Eighty Six
Russell Wilson
Getty Images

I have a Seattle Seahawks heart branded with a 12. It pumps blue and green blood. You can still see the claw marks from when Ken Behring tried to steal it.

But fantasy football season is no time to use your heart. It’s brain time. Put your rational and emotional sides in separate locker rooms and keep them there. Your favorite team and players are nothing and nobody to you now.

With that mind set, I analyze the fantasy football value of quarterback Russell Wilson.

Rant Sports Senior Fantasy Writer Adam McGill did a solid review of this topic last month. Based upon Wilson’s past performances, McGill predicted him to be a low-end starter well outside of the top five.

I agree that Wilson will not put up Peyton Manning/Drew Brees numbers, but this year may not be quite like the previous two for the Seattle Seahawks’ offense.

The Lows

Wilson has only thrown for 300 yards twice in the regular season. He has 26 passing touchdowns in both his first and second seasons. Hardly strobe light and disco ball numbers, but he wins games.

Seattle loves to run first. They had the second-most attempts last year. The squad is built around Marshawn Lynch. Pete Carroll is content to win games with defense and ball control. We get no fantasy points for wins and double nothing for Super Bowl rings.

The Highs

Other than Lynch’s rushing touchdowns, all scores go through Wilson. He has better receiving weapons this year than he ever has before. In addition to Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, Seattle has Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice healthy again. If rookies Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood develop, Wilson has a nasty spread of WRs to go with tight ends Zach Miller, Luke Willson and Anthony McCoy.

Wilson has only 19 career interceptions. He’ll never drop a stinker for your fantasy team. A bad day for him will feature 150-200 yards and a touchdown or two. Not a tragedy but not exciting. A good day will involve multiple running and passing scores.

What If?

Fantasy sports are about predicting what’s most likely to happen plus what could happen. If things go wrong for Seattle, how will that affect Wilson’s value?

What if Lynch, after eight seasons of tough mileage, gets hurt? Robert Turbin and Christine Michael will take over, but will Seattle lean more on the pass? Bad for Beast Mode, but potentially good for Wilson’s owners.

Consider how Carroll has treated Wilson’s growth. He began cautiously. Seattle ran the ball on first and second down. Carroll kept the pressure off Wilson and gave him few opportunities to fail. Eventually, the offense became more balanced. Occasionally, the Seahawks would flash a play-action deep bomb and show fans what the offense could truly do.

If Carroll continues to loosen Wilson’s handcuffs, he can put up big numbers in year number three.

Injury Risk

Wilson is an undersized running quarterback, but he is no more at risk to get hurt than any other NFL player. He has shown the wisdom to slide, get out of bounds and otherwise avoid serious contact. He knows he needs to stay in tact for the sake of his team.

The next play could be the end of a career for any NFL player, but there is no reason Wilson won’t be able to start all 16 games this year.

So When do you Draft Wilson?

I rank him behind Manning, Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton. I have him side-by-side with Tom Brady and Andrew Luck. All three guys will not have lousy days to hurt your team. It’s your call between them. Matthew Stafford and Colin Kaepernick are more likely to alternate huge games with cruddy ones. I’ll take boring consistency any day. All the other guys I think will give you more headaches and indigestion than Wilson.

So that puts Wilson between #5 and #7, depending on your opinions. In a 10-team league, I’ll take him in the fifth round after I have a couple RBs and WRs.

To wrap it up, I think Wilson gives you good to very good numbers every week with little chance of a bad showing. I think he has a good chance of breaking out of the game-manager mold and having a great passing year.

Eighty Six is a Seattle Seahawks writer for .  Follow him on Twitter @86ThePoet , like him on Facebook  or add him to your network on Google .


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