There are few teams with a more convoluted fantasy landscape then the Seattle Seahawks. From their starting quarterback's health, to who will be running the ball, to who will be catching the ball. The Seahawks had an excellent draft this year that may yield some immediate positive results on both sides of the ball, but there are still an awful lot of question marks surround the Seasqaubs heading into the 2010 season.
Division: NFC West - Projected Finish: 3rd Place
Strength of Schedule - #30 = 3rd best. Only the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams have an easier schedule (on paper) heading into this season. In theory this improves fantasy production all around.
Heading into 2010, Matt Hasselbeck looks to remain healthy and lead his team to a solid season. Staying healthy is the key. If he plays all 16 games you can pencil him in for 3500+ yards passing and about 25+ touchdowns. He makes a solid back-up QB, or a low end #1 with high upside. However, his last full season came in 2007, and he's missed 11 complete games since then and parts of several others. At 34-years-old, this will be his 12th season. Buyer beware.
In the wings Charlie Whitehurst waits, but the team is committed to Hasselbeck for 2010.
Talk about a mess. They grabbed Lendale White from Tennessee then almost immediately cut him. They still have Julius Jones who has been a complete bust since his rookie season. Justin Forsett stepped up last year down the stretch, but is he really number one material? The team also picked up Leon Washington who can be a terror as well. So who will be the go to guy? Perhaps none of them. While the rumors have died down that Seattle could be the ultimate destination of the Buffalo Bills much maligned Marshawn Lynch, that scenario seems less likely as injuries to the Buffalo running corp pile up. Assuming things stay as they are now, look for Forsett to be the primary back with 60% of the touches. I currently have him ranked at #30, but Leon Washington could surprise everyone and breakout this year.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh is not really cut to be a true #1 wideout, but yet here he is. In his first full season in the Pacific Northwest he put up his lowest totals since 2005. Only three TDs last season. I expect him to do better in 2010, but he's still at best a WR2 for fantasy purposes.
The question becomes, who else can fantasy owners count on? Rookie Golden Tate could be a surprising value as a late round value, but so far this pre-season he's done nothing to shine. The other options, Deion Branch, and Mike Williams both have upside, but they don't scream fantasy production at this point.
There is always the possibility Chargers hold out, Vincent Jackson ends up in Seahawks blue as well. The Seahawks have been given permission to talk with the disgruntled San Diego receiver, but so far not much has happened.
John Carlson is the man in Seattle, and was once on his way up the fantasy ranks. He seemed to plummet to earth in 2009, but those numbers are deceiving. His final tallies ranked him 11th overall and 7th in touchdowns, ahead of Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez, Kellen Winslow, Heath Miller and 2010's most hyped tight end, Jermichael Finley. Carlson hauled in a TD in each of his final four games, most after fantasy owners had given up or were finished for the year. In my early rankings I have him at #12, but he may move up even more before draft day. Chris Baker is now in the mix, but he's primarily a blocker.
Olindo Mare remains the team's kicker in 2010. In 2009 he finished 16th overall in fantasy points, but 4th overall in accuracy. With more opportunity in 2010 he could be a solid last round pick that won't hurt you.
Let's be honest, Seattle's team defense is a fantasy nightmare. They ranked 28th overall last season and though they have a a better schedule and an improved line-up this year, they'll still likely be in the bottom half of the pile. For IDP leagues these are the names you want to know: Linebackers - Lofa Tatupa, David Hawthorne, Aaron Curry. Defensive back - Josh Wilson (particularly in leagues that offer return yardage points).
2010 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
Invesco Field at Mile High
Edward Jones Dome
University of Phoenix Stadium
Raymond James Stadium
Pete Carroll comes into his first season in Seattle with high expectations and a team in disarray. If not for the lowly St. Louis Rams they'd have bottomed out their division, and with Arizona and the San Francisco 49ers above them, they have a lot of work to do to end better than 3rd again. That said, this is anyone's division. the 49ers are still a work in progress, and the Cardinals are without Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin this season. Carroll is a media savvy guy and will use it to his advantage. Releasing Lendale White sent a strong message. If he's willing to dump a player he's successfully coached so readily then everyone best be prepared to show up with their A game.
Drafting Russell Okung immediately helps shore up the team's offensive line.
On the defensive side of the ball the team was riddled with holes and injuries in 2009. A healthier squad in 2010 improves their overall outlook. The addition of SS Earl Thomas will prove immediately valuable, as will the depth they added through the draft. That said, new Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley will have his hands full trying to make this group more formidable on the field. The defense scored no defensive TDs in 2009 and gave up just over 21 points per game on average. They need more big plays on the defensive side of the ball. The team uses a standard 4-3 scheme.