Frank Gore running
Frank Gore headlines the running back scene in the NFC West, but he has some pretty serious injury concerns. He has missed nine games over the past three years, and didn’t reach 250 carries in any of those seasons. While he is very active in the receiving game averaging 51 catches per season over the past five years, he only has 32 rushing touchdowns over that stretch. He brings the average just over eight total touchdowns a year over that stretch thanks to his receiving scores, but he is a low end RB1 in non-PPR leagues and a middle of the pack RB1 in PPR leagues. Anthony Dixon and Kendall Hunter will battle for handcuff duties, but neither present much fantasy value as long as Gore remains healthy.
Steven Jackson is a true workhorse back for the Rams, averaging 327 carries and 48.5 receptions over the past two years. His 3.8 yards per carry as well as his low touchdown totals (six per year over the past four season) keeps him from the top tier of fantasy backs. The talk has been that the Rams will add a veteran running back to compliment S-Jax. He’s still a solid RB1, especially in PPR leagues.
The Cardinals must have  seen enough from Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower as the team overlooked several needs and selected Virginia Tech’s Ryan Williams with the 38th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. It will be interesting to see how Beanie responds to the challenge. Beanie could be a nice value pick this year if he can stay healthy and finally prove his worth.
Marshawn Lynch had some moments for the Seahawks, especially in their thrill upset of the Saint. Despite the feeling the he’s been in the league for a long time, he’s just 25. Justin Forsett will still get plenty of touches, especially in the passing game, but isn’t a threat to Lynch or a player with considerable fantasy value.
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You might as well call it the NFC Mess. Aside from St. Louis, this division is riddled with questions.
Sam Bradford set the rookie completion record and truly delivered as the first overall pick. Bradford still has a ways to go before he can be considered a QB1, but he certainly has the makings of one. He only had six multiple touchdown games and just one 300-yard effort. Amazingly he did it without many weapons. The Rams added  tight end Lance Kendricks and receivers Austin Pettis and Gregory Salas in the NFL Draft.
Matt Hasselbeck would probably be the second best quarterback in the league, if he returns to Seattle. That has become a major question mark. Charlie Whitehurst didn’t quite cut it. We’ll have to wait and see who wins the starting gig next year we can say if their quarterback has fantasy value next year.
Alex Smith is expected to be back with the 49ers, but Colin Kaepernick is expected to be the future. Smith can be a decent spot starter if he wins the job, but he may not respond well to looking over his shoulder. Seems like a situation to avoid.
Then you have Arizona, who is in dire need of an upgrade at the position. They are rumored to be the front runners in the Kevin Kolb sweepstakes. If he does land in the desert, he would instantly become the second best quarterback in the division. Other than St. Louis, this really is a wait-and-see division.

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Not that it should affect your NFL Playoffs fantasy team, but Matt Hasselbeck will get the nod over Charlie Whitehurst in the Seahawks’ playoff matchup with the Saints.
Apparently Pete Carroll thinks that Hasselbeck’s experience better equips the team for their upset bid. I wouldn’t recommend either quarterback for fantasy teams, but I do think this gives Big Mike Williams a slight bump in value. It should also make things a little easier for Marshawn Lynch.

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The Bills cleared their logjam at running back by trading Marshawn Lynch to Seattle for draft picks. He should have no problem taking the lead role once he gets acclimated with Seattle’s system. Lynch, and those who have been holding onto him in hopes of a deal, are the biggest winner in this deal.
Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are also winners as they should now share the load going forward. I expect Jackson to be the primary back with Spiller offering a change of pace.
The biggest loser is Justin Forsett, who will be relegated to third-down duty.

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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.

The Seahawks must have hired Ty Pennington to perform an Extreme Makeover on their backfield. What started as a not-so-lethal combo of Justin Forsett and Julius Jones transformed into LenDale White, Leon Washington, and Forsett with JJ likely on his way out.

LenDale White will likely take over as the primary ball carrier and red zone back. He should be a solid RB3 next season. Washington, when healthy, will combine with Forsett to give the big fella a breather and offer a change of pace. They will also be used in passing situations.

Forsett and Washington don’t have much value.

In other Jets news, they released Guard Alan Faneca. Their running game should still be one of the best in the league.

Out West, the Raiders made some noise by acquiring Jason Campbell, who became expendable when the Redskins traded for Donovan McNabb. He is certainly an upgrade for the Raiders passing game, most notably TE Zach Miller. Campbell remains a borderline fantasy backup at best.

Cleveland will go with Derek Anderson this week against Cincinnati.  Normally he’d make a decent fantasy play, but the Bengals D has actually been solid this year.  Braylon Edwards will have his hands full with CB Leon Hall.

It appears that Matt Hasselbeck (ribs) will miss this week’s game against Indianapolis.  The Colts have a tough pass defense so don’t expect much from Seneca Wallace or T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Nate Burleson received the most targets from Seneca last week, and makes a decent play this week.

Don’t be alarmed that Clinton Portis missed practice.  He’s dealing with some minor ailments and the Redskins are just trying to keep him fresh.  I would be alarmed that Zorn is still his Coach though.  Their offense has been dreadful this year despite favorable matchups over the past two weeks.

Edge Finds New Home

24 August 2009

The Edge has landed.  That’s right, Edgerring James found a new home with the Seattle Seahawks.  While I’m happy he found gainful employment, he does not register on my fantasy radar.  All he does is muddy a backfield that was pretty ugly to begin with.  For those of you who drafted already and were counting on Julius Jones to be an adequate backup, your dreams have just been dashed.  Edge isn’t going out like former Seahawk Shaun Alexander did in Washington.  He still has some left in the tank, as evidenced by his solid playoff run.  He may not take the starting job right away, but he will factor in.  T.J. Duckett’s role is safe as Edge isn’t the runner at the goal line he was earlier in his career. 

If I had to pick between Edge and Julius Jones for my fantasy roster, I would go with JJ.  Just keep an eye on how they perform early.

**Update** is reporting that the Seahawks cut T.J. Duckett, which would give both Edge and Julius Jones more fantasy value.  Edge would likely get a crack at the goal line carries.  It’s unlikely Duckett lands anywhere that he’d get an opportunity for meaningful carries.


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.

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