Blockbuster trades are a rarity in the National Football League. When Percy Harvin was traded prior to the start of free agency it rocked the fantasy football world. One of the most enigmatic wide receivers was moved from Minnesota to Seattle, bolstering a young offense with some dynamic weapons and arguably the most physical defense in the NFL.
The Seahawks gave up a 2013 first round pick (25th overall), a 2013 seventh round pick, and a 2014 mid round pick for Percy Harvin. Harvin is talented enough to garner that kind of trade offer but looking at the “whole” package it is easy to argue it was a large price to pay for such an enigmatic player. Depending on the day Harvin has asked to be traded out of Minnesota for the last two years. Now that the trade has been completed, owners must evaluate the fantasy factors.
Percy Harvin Career Stats
In the move to Seattle Harvin is reunited with his old offensive coordinator that drafted him in 2009, Darrell Bevell. Bevell had the opportunity to work with Brett Favre and had a brand new toy in Percy Harvin. Harvin was the secondary receiver to Sydney Rice. Harvin will also be reunited with his former teammate Rice who is also currently with the Seahawks. In 2010 Bevell had Harvin doing most of his work over the middle of the field with 53% of his catches and 64% of his total yards coming from the middle of the field. The lack of a true pass catching tight end on the Seahawks will allow them to utilize Harvin in the slot and work the underneath routes. Harvin also caught over 40% of his passes behind the line of scrimmage in 2010. If those numbers are any indication they will get try to get the ball in Harvin’s hands and use him in a variety of ways.
The switch from Russell Wilson to Christian Ponder will be huge for Harvin. The arm strength of Wilson and his accuracy are much better than Christian Ponder. That gives Harvin opportunities for big plays down the field. Seattle was the most run heavy team in the NFL last season with 57% of the offense from rushing. That was more than the run heavy Minnesota Vikings with rushing leader and MVP Adrian Peterson.
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This is important because most would view this move as very exciting for Harvin owners. It is easy to argue that he will be playing with a better quarterback, in Russell Wilson and in a situation where he will be the immediate primary target. That I agree with. The downside to this deal is that it will be difficult for Harvin to see as many targets as he did in Minnesota with Marshawn Lynch as the primary focus of the offense and better receivers in Golden Tate and Sydney Rice. Granted in Wilson’s second season as a quarterback they will allow him to do more than he did as a rookie, but the Seattle offense is most effective when going through Lynch.
This is the argument for Harvin possibly being a better fantasy play this season. Through nine weeks in the 2012 season (prior to Harvin’s injury) he was ranked as the 4th (PPR) and 6th (standard) in scoring among all wide receivers in the league with some of the most questionable quarterback play in the league. Minnesota had the 31st ranked passing offense and Harvin was finishing in the top 10. Wallace goes to a team ranked just a little higher, 27th overall in 2012, that had a dynamic rookie quarterback that has poise in the pocket and ability to escape. This will allow Harvin to stretch a defense with his speed or work underneath and gather reception after reception. An entire offseason of work ahead of them gives Harvin and Wilson and opportunity to develop chemistry that will hopefully lead to big time production on the field.
There is no argument that the Seahawks have made their team better in free agency. Harvin is a HUGE upgrade at wide receiver and immediately becomes Wilson’s primary receiving option. The history of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell with Rice and Harvin make this a great match for fantasy production. The ability to create mismatches and dynamic playmaking ability of Harvin make him a solid wide receiver for fantasy owners. Harvin possesses the ability to become a top five wide receiver in the NFL in this new offense, but I would not be quick to draft him over Calvin Johnson, AJ Green or, Brandon Marshall. The value of quarterback Russell Wilson can only go up with the addition of Harvin. Sydney Rice and Tate lose some targets to Harvin. Lynch’s production may also see in increase now because they will have to account for Percy Harvin rather than stack the box on Lynch. Harvin should be considered a solid pick in late round two or early round three in your drafts. In dynasty drafts his stock will see a slight increase as well going as high as the middle of round two.