Looking for Fantasy Football Sleepers in the NFL season 2013? A diamond in the rough?
There, now that's a hell of a lede. Everyone loves finding a fantasy football needle in a haystack, super-undervalued-guy that comes onto the scene and just blows everyone away. Kenbrell Thompkins might be that guy with the Patriots. Maybe Lamar Miller with the Dolphins? Last year, it was this guy named Alfred Morris. What kind of person in their right mind is going to draft a guy named Alfred when they don't know anything about him? Only the people that studied hard, and they were rewarded handsomely for that research.
If you're looking for that guy this year though, the Seahawks might not be the team to depend on.
With incumbent starters seemingly entrenched at every skill position - tight end (Zach Miller), running back (Marshawn Lynch), wide receiver (Sidney Rice/Golden Tate), and quarterback (that short stubby guy) - your hopes of finding a 'sleeper' or diamond in the rough here is probably more dependent on injuries happening than a surprise talent emerging to get a bunch of targets or carries ahead of established players.
NOW. THAT SAID. There could be a few guys that just might surprise.
At receiver, there are two guys that I could see ending up stealing targets and touchdowns from the twosome of Rice and Tate, and I'm basing this on talent, not injury factors. First up:
Baldwin had a breakout season in 2011 as a rookie and led the team in receptions with 51 and yards with 788, adding four touchdowns. Baldwin struggled in 2012 with injuries, and fell out of the fantasy football discussion, but in 2013, Baldwin's place in the Seahawk offense as the Percy Harvin placeholder in the slot could mean he gets the targets the team had been planning for Percy.
Russell Wilson's two main goals for the season are to improve on 3rd down and improve in the redzone. These are two areas in which he targeted Baldwin toward the end of last year, and with a heightened focus on those areas, I could see Baldwin reap the benefits.
Now, I'm not going to oversell him. This is still a low volume passing attack and he's third on the totem poll in terms of likely targets, but he's a savvy, instinctual route runner that catches most of everything thrown in his direction.
I'm including Williams solely for the the fact that he's excelled on deep passes in training camp and the preseason. The Seahawks seem dedicated to creating explosive plays, and if Williams can prove that he can get over the top of defenses in the regular season, make no mistake, Russell Wilson will throw him the ball.
I see Williams in a similar light to a Chris Givens from last season as a deep route running target. Givens averaged 16.6 yards per reception and had an absurd amount of 50+ yard catches from Sam Bradford on his way to 42 receptions for 698 yards and three touchdowns.
I'm not buying with Williams at this point - I don't think Williams will end up catching as many passes or put up that much production, but only suggesting he's a guy to monitor. If you're in a deeper 12 to 16 man league and need to grab a guy off the waiver wire, at least Williams is theoretically going to be getting the right types of targets. However, if Sidney Rice or Golden Tate miss time this year, he becomes more interesting.
Ultimately, if you want a sleeper on the Seahawks - look at the running backs group.
First off. I think Turbo is more of a handcuff sleeper than a real threat to steal snaps from Lynch. But, still. Here you are.
Marshawn Lynch has had 300+ carries over the past two seasons. He's missed many practices with back spasms over that time and is seemingly permanently entrenched on the injury report. To be frank, it's optimistic to expect he'll play 16 games in 2013, particularly because Seattle's running backs coach Sherman Smith and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell seem content to keep running him 300+ times a year. That, combined with the fact that Lynch takes a beating with just about every carry - just in the style he runs - makes his overall health a concern. Enter Robert Turbin.
Despite the Seahawks' decision to draft Christine Michael in the 2nd round this season, all indications are that Robert Turbin would inherit the lion's share of Lynch's carries if the Beast were to miss time. Those indications are mostly inferred from quotes from Sherman Smith, who again reiterated recently that Christine Michael is going to have a hard time even being active on gamedays as he sits behind Lynch and Turbin on the depth chart.
Regardless, while Turbin is entrenched at the number two running back spot, if Lynch goes down, pick him up for your team immediately. The Seahawks' offense is centered around the run game and no team rushed the ball more than Seattle in 2012. Turbin is also a solid threat receiving the football, so in PPR leagues, that increases his value.
Want to know more? Our own Kenneth Arthur has you covered, and has broken down several divisions team-by-team, so make sure you check out his fantasy football previews. You can also use this as this week's fantasy football open thread. Go!
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