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A typical fantasy football league consists of 12 teams nine starters (QB, two RBs, three WRs, TE, K, D) and anywhere from five to seven bench players. If you go with the latter bench allotment, you’re looking at 16 roster spots or 192 draft picks. By that definition, any sleeper should have an average draft position about 180 or lower.


Seattle Seahawks TE John Carlson has an ADP of 189 according to Mock Draft Central. I know he’s not Dallas Clark or Antonio Gates, but that seems awfully low. It would put him as the ninth pick in the 15th round and the 19th TE selected, going behind the likes of Brandon Pettigrew, Todd Heap, Marcedes Lewis, and Anthony Fasano. Click here to see where I have Carlson ranked among fantasy TEs.


That seems odd for a guy that has put up numbers since coming into the NFL. As a rookie he caught 55 passes for 627 yards and 5 TDs. Last year he caught 51 for 574 yards and 7 TDs. He had a lengthy drought that can explain why his stock is so low, but the talent is there.


He opened the season with a bang catching six passes for 95 yards and 2 TDs. He finished the season with a four-game TD streak. The middle 11 games left plenty to be desired as he scored just 1 TD and topped 50 yards just once. I think it had more to do with the offensive ineptitude of the Seahawks than a reflection of Carlson’s ability or lack thereof.


The Seahawks added Russell Okung in the recent NFL Draft and signed TE Chris Baker to handle the blocking duties. Carlson should be able to focus his attention on the passing game, which should make him a much more consistent fantasy threat.


Prediction:  70 catches, 770 yards, 5 TDs


Where do you have John Carlson ranked?



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I expect Pete Carroll to be successful with the Seahawks…eventually. They just don’t have the pieces in place for it to happen right away.


Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:   Difficult
The Seahawks take on the Niners in San Francisco in Week 14. Then they play the Falcons at home. They have a nice match-up against Tampa Bay in Week 16, but it’s on the road. Plus, how many Seahawks are you going to rely on in the fantasy championship.


Five Star Fantasy Options


Four Star Fantasy Options
John Carlson – Somebody has to catch the ball. Carlson has been effective despite the Seahawks struggles, averaging 53 catches for 600 yards and 6 TDs the past two seasons.


Three Star Fantasy Options


Two Star Fantasy Options
Justin Forsett – For now, Forsett is probably the best option. If Leon Washington is healthy or Marshawn Lynch is acquired, you can all but write Forsett off. Until then, he’s the best option they have in the running game. He’s also a good receiver out of the backfield. Very quick and elusive.


T.J. Houshmandzadeh – Housh had a choice between the Seahawks and the Vikings last year. I wonder if he’d still go for the money if he could do it over again. He has good hands and size so he’ll have some moments. He’s just not in a good situation. He is playing with either an old or an inexperienced QB. There isn’t much of a running game to keep defenses honest. There aren’t a lot of other receivers to keep defenses from keying in on him.


Golden Tate – As long as he isn’t too tempted by late night snack runs, Tate should have some moments along the way, but consistency will be an issue.


Seahawks Defense/Special Teams – If Washington returns to form, the Seahawks will have a strong return game. Their defense should improve with rookie Earl Thomas’ arrival.


One Star Fantasy Options
Matt Hasselbeck – He’s old. He can’t stay healthy. He has very few options in the passing game. If you’re taking Hasselbeck as your QB2, you may be drafting the name.


Charlie Whitehurst – He’s going to get his snaps so Carroll can see what he has. It’s hard to gauge a QB that has never taken a snap at this level. When you have a bad line, non-existent running game, and limited options at WR, you can’t get too excited over his prospects.


Julius Jones & Leon Washington – Jones bores me to tears while Washington must prove his back from a horrific leg injury. Jones will have a few solid games if he gets 15-20 carries, but they will be few and far between. Forsett’s skill set is similar to Washington, which could limit his fantasy impact.


Deon Butler – Butler has good speed, but will likely be fighting for crumbs after Carlson, Housh, and Tate have been fed.


Half Star Fantasy Options
Louis Rankin & Quinton Ganther – Since the Seahawks’ RB situation is so cloudy, this duo should at least be mentioned. They could get meaningful carries at some point of the season. That said, You surely don’t need to draft them unless they ascend up the depth charts (unlikely) during Training Camp.


Deion Branch – Branch has had too many injuries to be a factor any more.


Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.


For those of you doing your fantasy drafts in the upcoming days, you may want to lower T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Matt Hasselbeck, John Carlson, and Julius Jones a few notches down.  Their Offensive Line, already without All-Pro Left Tackle Walter Jones, suffered another blow when starting Center Chris Spencer in the Seahawks preseason win against Denver. 

John Carlson could lose the most value if he has to increase his blocking duties, thus limiting his targets.  Julius Jones already has limited value because of TD vulture T.J. Duckett.  With inferior blocking, he could have a hard time finding running lanes.  Matt Hasselbeck takes a step back as he likely won’t have as much time to run all of his reads.  Housh could go either way.  They could lean on him more since they won’t have as much time to work the outside.  On the flip side, he could also fall prey to the additional QB pressure Hasselbeck could face.  Don’t avoid these players all together, but if you have are debating between a Seahawk and another player on the same tier, you may want to go with the alternative.

Zach Miller made huge strides in his second year hauling in 56 passes for 778 yards.  Unfortunately he only crossed the goal line once, but he’s still a serviceable TE.  He was consistently inconsistent with eight games with fewer than 50 yards and eight games with 50+.  Unfortunately he did score the occasional TD to buoy some of the low yardage games.  He’s clearly JaMarcus Russell’s top target though as the next closest Raider was Darren McFadden with 29 receptions.  Breakout candidate Chaz Schilens is out with a broken foot so Miller will continue to get a lot of looks.  He is an adequate TE1, but only because you’ll be getting him around the 13th round.  He should be good for 65 catches for 850 yards and 3 TDs.

John Carlson would be higher on my list after a 55 catch, 627 yard, 5 TD rookie season, but with the additional of T.J. Houshmandzadeh at WR, I’m afraid he won’t get as many targets.  Plus with Walter Jones sidelined following knee surgery, Carlson’s blocking duties could increase.  He’s still a big, talented target though, so he should be productive.  Just don’t expect him to make the leap into the top five fantasy TEs this year.  Although for a guy going in the 10th round of fantasy drafts, you shouldn’t really expect that much of a leap.  He should be good for 60 catches for 700 yards and 4 TDs.

Kellen Winslow is not short on talent or determination, that’s for sure.  However, his volatile behavior can be detrimental to a team.  His ability to control his emotions leaves plenty to be desired.  He is injury-prone, but for the most part guts them out.  He should be in a better situation in Tampa where he can better keep his emotions in check, but new Coach will not allow Winslow’s antics to make him lose control of the team.  He will get plenty of targets because the WRs outside of Antonio Bryant don’t pose a threat, but that will also mean he garners more attention from the opposing defense.  He’s going around the 7th round of fantasy drafts, and while he could finish with better numbers than Zach Miller of John Carlson, he’s a riskier proposition.  If he stays healthy he should catch 70 passes for 850 yards and 5 TDs.  I just wouldn’t bank on him playing a full season.

This is my preseason top ten. Totally didn’t see Vernon Davis coming.

Click here for my Midseason revised rankings.

Click here for my Second Half rankings.

#1  Antonio Gates
Gates dealt with nagging injuries last year, but still managed 704 yards and 8 TDs.  Those numbers, which are solid by any Tight End’s standards were the lowest for Gates since his Rookie season back in 2003.  As long as he’s healthy I see know reason Gates won’t be the #1 fantasy Tight End in 2009.
#2 Tony Gonzalez
Gonzo reclaimed the top Tight End spot last year, and despited turning 33 recently he should be able to stay in the top two.  He has a new Offensive-minded Coach in Todd Haley and a new QB in Matt Cassel, both of which should be upgrades from years past.  You can pretty much pencil him in for 1000 yards and 7+ TDs.

#3  Jason Witten
T.O.’s departure could actually hurt Witten a bit.  No, not emotionally, but T.O. did draw the opposing Defenses’ attention.  With T.O. gone Defenses will be able to key in on Witten more. He’s still going to produce, but I think his numbers will look more like last year than 2007.

#4 Dallas Clark
Clark is also losing a WR from the 1996 NFL Draft as a teammate as Marvin Harrison won’t be back.  For Clark I think that works in his favor.  The Colts have a variety of weapons to keep Defenses honest, but Peyton Manning will have one less mouth to feed.
#5 Chris Cooley
Cooley had a great year for the Redskins with 83 catches for 849 yards.  He only managed to score once though.  He had averaged around 7 TDs in his first four years.  They’ will come back in 2009, along with his ranking.

#6  Owen Daniels
Owen finished as the sixth highest scoring Tight End despite having just two TDs.  He hasn’t exactly shown the ability to reach paydirt consistently yet, but I could see him improve in that area in 2009.  If he can score five or six TDs and maintain the 800 yard average he has the past two years, he could possibly crack the top five.

#7 John Carlson
John had a very impressive Rookie season catching 55 passes for 627 yards and 5 TDs.  With a healthy Matt Hasselbeck and T.J. Houshmandzadeh on board, Carlson should be able to avoid a Sophomore slump.

#8  Zach Miller
Zach nearly doubled his yardage last year going from 444 as a rookie to 778 in his second year.  He only scored one TD last year, which was down from three in his rookie season.  As he and JaMarcus Russell continue to build their rapport, I see that TD number going up next year.  800 yards and 4 or 5 TDs isn’t out of the question.

#9 Greg Olsen
Greg was one of the Bears’ top targets in the passing game.  He should be utilized even more next year as he continues to develop into one of the game’s best pass-catching Tight Ends.  I see him leading the Bears in receptions next year.  He should rack up at least 700 yards and four scores.

#10 Dustin Keller
With Kellen Clemens likely taking over the starting Quarterback job, Dustin Keller is going to be a big security blanket.  He caught 48 passes for 535 yards and 3 TDs as a rookie.  He had 388 yards in the second half last year.  He should build upon that success in his second year.

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