Beyond Percy Harvin: The Seahawks looking for enough completions to go around
The Seattle Seahawks seemed to have it all coming together late last season. They ended the regular season on a 5 game win streak, and felt they could do the unthinkable: Bring a Super Bowl to Seattle. The dream fell short in the NFC semi-final playoff game against Atlanta, but head coach Pete Carroll knew the team was just a few pieces away from being a major contender. He and GM John Schneider have done everything in their power to arm the team for a title run in 2013.
On March 12th, Seattle used their first round pick to ‘select’ Percy Harvin. He came to the Seahawks after four spectacular years with the Minnesota Vikings and immediately pushed the Seahawks into the spotlight as a Super Bowl contender. The next day, Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell only had one question about his new toy: “Are there going to be enough balls to go around?”
That’s the million-dollar question!
Anyone who’s spent time watching this team knows that the ground game is their bread and butter. They have a group of road graders up front to lead Marshawn Lynch and second year back Robert Turbin. The focus on the run is so vital to the success of the Seahawks that they used their top pick in the draft to select a third power back, Christine Michael of Texas A&M.
During spring OTA’s, Pete Carroll was asked how the offense would change in 2013, and if the addition of Harvin would mean an increase in the passing game. His response stated that the Seahawks would most likely maintain their average of 25 passes a game.
So with that, I ran with it. Stick with me here. We’re going to use some math to help show you who to draft target in your auction…
- I believe that Teacher’s pet Russell Wilson will pass just slightly more than last year, possibly 27.5 times a game. This is due to more comfort in the passing game, and the plethora of weapons around him.
- His completion percentage (65.6% last season) will also slightly rise just a few tenths of a point to 66%.
Using the old TI Calculator, we can crunch some numbers and see that this means 27.5 average attempts x 16 games x 66% completion percentage = about 290 completions on the season. Is 290 catches enough for the firepower on this offense?
Harvin, the new Seahawks stud, will be used in a similar fashion as he was in Minnesota. He will catch balls on the outside, on fly patterns and WR screens, but also rushing out of the backfield and returning kicks. His touches won’t lack, but he has never been a 100 catch WR. He’s a 70 catch guy. Lets assume that is how many of Russell Wilsons completions go to him.
The zone read offense that Seattle runs does not put an emphasis on passing to the running backs. On average, there are about two catches a game for Lynch, Turbin and FB Michael Robinson. Let’s call this a total of about 32 catches on the year.
Taking these catches out of the 290 completions we’ve allocated to Wilson leaves us with just 188 catches for the group of WRs including Sidney Rice, 2012-breakout-player Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, rookie Chris Harper and a TE group lead by Zach Miller. Things could be spread pretty thin and someone’s numbers are going to suffer.
Here are my predictions for how those 188 catches are broken down for these players:
65 catches, 975 yards, 8 TDs (145.5 FF Points)
When Sid was signed, he was brought in to be the stud WR around whom this offence would be built. Two seasons later, he is now a blue chip second fiddle in the offense and his numbers will show it. These predicted numbers are a slight up-tick from last year’s numbers and would put him at WR#21 in the rankings, making him a very good WR3 on any fantasy team.
45 catches, 675 yards, 5 TDs (97.5 FF Points)
Tate’s biggest asset for the Seahawks doesn’t show up in the raw numbers, and that is his production on third down. No player on the offense was more dependable in this situation last year for the Seahawks. Also, his development will be stunted this season with the addition of Harvin as he played a similar role in this offense a year ago.
35 catches, 400 yards, 4 TDs (70 FF Points)
Miller showed his offensive flare later in 2012, culminating in an 8-catch, 145-yard performance in the playoff loss to the Falcons, but the Seahawks continue having difficulties finding a partner for Miller in the 2TE set. This is going to mean more blocking assignments and similar catch totals to the previous two years. A projected 70 FP place him as TE#24. He could be a potential sleeper for your backup TE spot.
24 catches, 336 yards, 3 TDs (51.6 FF Points)
Baldwin might come out the biggest loser with the shiny new toy in town. The former Stanford Cardinal does everything asked of him, but he just doesn’t have the unique talents as the WRs ahead of him in the depth chart.
In a WR core with Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice on it, you can only assume there will be some injuries. Harper will be there to pick up the slack when one of them (or any other of the receivers) does go down. Harper could be a mid-season injury pick-up gem. I fully expect this to happen, therefore making him a dynasty diamond in the rough.
Other TEs: 20 catches, 200 yards, 1 TD (26 Fantasy Points)
The loss of Anthony McCoy with a torn Achilles tendon in OTAs was a big loss to the depth at TE, meaning the Seahawks are counting on rookie Luke Willson (yes, there are two L’s in his last name) and Sean McGrath to pick up the slack. It’s likely that neither of these players make a fantasy roster in 2013.
By looking closer at the numbers we can confirm Bevell’s fear: There just aren’t enough balls to go around. After the top two receivers, there just aren’t numbers big enough to make a difference on your squad. To summarize, I believe Harvin is a decent WR1 on your team (#8-12WR overall). Rice is an excellent WR3, while Tate has potential to be a decent bye week fill in, and Miller is a deep sleeper at TE. Just to add onto this, these numbers, with Harvin’s and the RBs numbers added in, mean I am predicting Russell Wilson to have nearly 4000 yards and 31 TDs, making him about the #9 rated QB overall.
Overall, the addition of Harvin to the offense, and Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett on the defensive line, expectations in Seattle are sky high for the Seahawks. It seems as though Carroll and Schneider have added the pieces necessary to move a step closer to a championship.