QB Tarvaris Jackson
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you’re looking for a reason why the Seahawks signed Jackson and gave him the keys to the team’s offense, that’s the only reason I can give you. If you’re looking for a quarterback who can scramble and make people miss, Jackson isn’t a bad option. If you’re looking for one who can make plays with his arm, you can surely do better. In a nutshell, Jackson has done nothing to prove that he’s capable of being an NFL starting quarterback, but that’s what he will be in Seattle in 2011.
QB Charlie Whitehurst
NFL personnel don’t like to admit to their mistakes, especially after just one year, but Whitehurst appears to have been a big front-office mistake. Despite long-time starter Matt Hasselbeck having left town for Tennessee and the Seahawks having swapped second-round picks and given up a third-round pick to acquire Whitehurst, they have no intention of handing over control of the team’s offense to him. And you should have no intention of wasting roster space on a player who has shown no natural instinct for the game whatsoever.
RB Marshawn Lynch
With the Bills having given up on him, Lynch got a new lease on his NFL career when Buffalo shipped him off to Seattle early in 2010. Since his arrival in the Pacific Northwest, Lynch has averaged a solid 8.9 fantasy points per game on 573 rushing yards, 138 receiving yards, and six touchdowns over 12 games. The numbers are a bit deceiving, however, and his performance can best be described as mediocre, as he has averaged just 3.5 yards per carry as a Seahawk. In addition, of his 107 fantasy points in Seattle, 28 came in one game over the lowly Panthers. The case could be made that Lynch will resurrect his career with the Seahawks given his young age (just 25) and that his struggles last year had more to do with the team’s offensive line than his own talent. But I’m not buying it. He’s a RB3 heading into 2011, and just as likely to bust as he is to break out.
RB Justin Forsett
Given the state of the team’s rushing attack, the Seahawks have had ample reasons to give Forsett a chance to take over as the starter, but it hasn’t happened. Last year, it took them just four games to realize that he wasn’t the answer, and the odds are that Seattle views him as nothing more than a third-down, change-of-pace back. He averaged a respectable 7.9 points per game in 2009, but that dropped to just 5.6 last season, as he finished with just 772 total yards and a pair of touchdowns. On the plus side, current starter Marshawn Lynch remains an enigma, so Forsett has a decent chance to start a handful of games in 2011. He is best served as a flex option in deep leagues and is worth using a low-end draft pick on in redraft leagues.
RB Leon Washington
After Seattle acquired Washington prior to the 2010 season, the assumption was that he would take over as the primary returner and get worked into the offense by midseason as he recovered from a gruesome leg injury. Although he performed well as a returner, Washington never got much of a chance in the team’s base offense, getting just 36 touches for the year. And there’s little chance of that changing in 2011.
WR Sidney Rice
In 2009, Rice flashed the potential the Vikings felt he had when they used a second-round pick in 2007 to draft him. Unfortunately, Rice suffered a hip injury that caused him to miss the majority of 2010, and he never really seemed to get on track once he returned to the lineup. In six games, he caught just 17 passes for 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns. To be fair, Brett Favre only saw meaningful action for Rice’s first two games, so part of his lack of productivity was due to the team’s quarterback issues. It’s all about risk, however, and the bottom line is that he has been productive for only one season out of four. Consider him a WR3 with upside until he solidifies his role in Seattle.
WR Mike Williams
All it took was six years, but Mike Williams finally arrived last season, catching 65 passes for 751 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games with Seattle. The tenth pick in the 2005 draft, Williams was out of the league for the 2008 and 2009 seasons and was given little to no chance to earn a roster spot with the Seahawks during the 2010 preseason. He surprised, however, and ended up spending most of the year as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver. That won’t be the case in 2011. With Williams lacking the speed to get deep and being more of a possession receiver, the Seahawks signed unrestricted free agent Sidney Rice to fill the lead receiver role. While that’s not a death knell for Williams’ fantasy value, it does mean his upside is likely what he produced in 2010. It also doesn’t help that Matt Hasselbeck has been replaced by the erratic Tarvaris Jackson, and that the team wants to develop some of their younger receivers. Don’t expect this comeback story to have another great chapter in 2011.
WR Golden Tate
The Seahawks’ 2010 second-round pick dropped into a great situation in Seattle last season, with the expectation that he would assume a big role in an offense severely lacking talent at wide receiver. There was an offseason incident prior to training camp that caused some to doubt his maturity, but he was considered perhaps the most NFL-ready rookie wideout, given his pedigree at Notre Dame. After a rookie season in which he caught just 21 passes for 227 yards and failed to find the end zone, Tate’s situation entering 2011 isn’t looking quite so rosy. Look for him to enter the season as the team’s slot receiver, which is hardly a ticket to success given the state of the offense. He figures to take a step forward in 2011, but he’s not worthy of a spot on your roster.
WR Ben Obomanu
Obomanu proved last year that he could be a decent player when given an opportunity, catching 19 passes for 371 yards and a pair of touchdowns—all career highs for him—over a six-game stretch in the starting lineup. His reward was the team signing Sidney Rice and relegating Obomanu to fourth on the depth chart, given that he is not suited to play out of the slot. That means he has no fantasy value unless injuries strike Rice or Mike Williams.
WR Kris Durham
The Seahawks like big receivers, further evidenced by their choosing Durham in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Unfortunately for Durham, the team already has three proven wide receivers with solid size ahead of him on the depth chart. His draft status means he will make the team, but he’s not likely to dress on game day unless he earns a spot on special teams or beats out Ben Obomanu. He’s for dynasty leaguers only.
TE Zach Miller
You have to feel for Zach Miller. One of the most underrated players in the NFL—not just at tight end, but of all players—he spent the first five years of his career suffering from substandard quarterback play in Oakland. Then as a free agent he signs with Seattle, a team that likely has the worst quarterback situation in the league, with no proven starter and no young quarterback with a strong pedigree waiting to take over. Of course, he chose to sign with Seattle, so maybe he’s a glutton for punishment. At least in Oakland, Darren McFadden helped take some heat off the team’s receivers by forcing opponents to play eight men in the box. That’s not the case in Seattle. And to make matters worse, John Carlson is arguably the finest backup tight end in the league, deserving of a decent amount of playing time. Miller goes from a lower-tier fantasy starter in Oakland to a low-end fantasy backup in Seattle.
TE John Carlson
You have to love Seattle’s management team. They don’t have a quarterback but they spend big money on Zach Miller to give them two starting tight ends. Of course, Carlson didn’t help matters by having the worst year of his three-year career in 2010, and his numbers have now dropped in two straight seasons (from 627 receiving yards as a rookie, to 574, to 318 last year). Look for the Seahawks to utilize more double-tight-end sets to get Carlson on the field, but the bottom line is that his fantasy value is nil unless he is traded to another team.