Richard Sherman

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We are less than two short weeks away from Super Bowl XLVIII. It figures to be a classic battle as the league’s top offense (Denver Broncos) faces the league’s top defense (Seattle Seahawks).
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The early sportsbook Superbowl odds suggest that the Broncos’ high-powered offense will prevail against the Seahawks’ brash defense.
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Peyton Manning’s historic season continued as he threw for 400 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the New England Patriots. That type of performance was typical for Peyton this year, but even more impressive considering it came in the AFC Championship. The Patriots were already playing without Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo. Losing Aqib Talib didn’t do them any favors. The real problem though came on offense. Denver stifled the Patriots attack, holding them to three points through three quarters. The Pats tried to make a game of it, but the outcome of the game was never in doubt.
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Meanwhile, the Seahawks managed just three points in the first half. They hung in there and took advantage of three San Francisco turnovers, including an amazing play by Richard Sherman and Malcolm Smith to seal the game.
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The Niners have some solid weapons with Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis and Frank Gore to go along with Colin Kaepernick’s explosive play. They are, however, nowhere near the level of Denver.
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Kaepernick is unbelievably dynamic with his feet, but Peyton Manning’s command of his offense is unparalleled. Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas could limit Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas, but the Seahawks would still need to find a way to slow down Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball.
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The X-factor is the weather. Since this is an outdoor game the conditions could come into play. If it is cold, it won’t be comfortable for Manning, but he should be able to deal. If it is windy and/or there is precipitation, things could be a little more difficult. Seattle has a better defense and a better running game. Weather could turn the tide.
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Five Stars
Marshawn Lynch
Seattle Seahawks Defense
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Four Stars
Russell Wilson
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Three Stars
Golden Tate
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Two Stars
Doug Baldwin
Jared Cook
Sidney Rice
Zac Stacy
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One Star
Tavon Austin
Kellen Clemens
Chris Givens
Lance Kendricks
Zach Miller
Austin Pettis
Brian Quick
Daryl Richardson
Robert Turbin
Luke Wilson
St. Louis Rams Defense
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We are hours away from the start of the seventh week of the 2013 NFL season as the Seattle Seahawks take on the Arizona Cardinals. It’s also the kickoff for the seventh week of the fantasy football season. Here’s a look of players that should be in your lineups tonight.
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Quarterbacks
Russell Wilson is a borderline play this week. He doesn’t have to put up big numbers for the Seahawks to be successful. He’s averaging 209 passing yards, 1.3 touchdowns and 0.7 interceptions. He has helped his cause with 49 rushing per game, but he has yet to run for a score. I don’t imagine the Cardinals will force the Seahawks to rely heavily on the passing game. Arizona has been an average pass defense, allowing 260 yards and 1.7 touchdowns per game.
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I would avoid Carson Palmer this week. He’s averaging 247.2 yards per game, but has more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (seven). The Seattle Seahawks have only allowed five touchdown passes and have held opposing quarterbacks to 188.3 yards per game.
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Running Backs
Marshawn Lynch is a must-start every week. He is averaging 110.2 total yards and a touchdown per game. The Cardinals rank fifth in the league in rushing defense with 90.7 yards allowed per game, but that’s not enough to deter you from playing Lynch. He may not be in full Beast Mode, but he belongs in your lineup.
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I don’t love either Cardinals running back. Rashard Mendenhall is 54.2 total yards per game, but at 3.3 yards per carry. The Cardinals have been giving double-digit touches to Andre Ellington in recent weeks. He’s averaging 59.3 total yards per game at 7.0 yards per carry. Both backs have scored a pair of touchdowns. If I had to choose one this week, I’d go with Ellington. Neither are strong plays though as the Seahawks are giving up just 101.8 yards per game on the ground.
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Wide Receivers
The Seahawks have an inconsistent group of receivers. If I had to choose one to use, it would be Doug Baldwin. He’s averaging 57.3 yards per game, though he has just one touchdown. Golden Tate is averaging 44.8 yards with one touchdown. Sidney Rice is averaging 30.2 yards with two touchdowns. I’d look elsewhere.
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I like the Cardinals receivers, but not this situation. Normally Larry Fitzgerald would be a must-start. He’s averaging 67.5 yards and 0.7 touchdowns. Fitz is dealing with a hamstring injury and he has a short week to recover. Plus, he’ll be dealing with Richard Sherman. You can still play him as long as his hamstring isn’t an issue. I just wouldn’t count on a huge game. Michael Floyd is averaging 57.5 yards with just one touchdown. He is more of a spot-start option, and this week isn’t favorable.
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Tight Ends
Neither team features their tight end heavily in their offense. Look elsewhere.
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Kickers
Steven Hauschka is fourth in the league in scoring with 57 points on 14 field goals and 15 extra points. The Cards have allowed 11 field goals and 12 extra points. He’s a solid fantasy option.
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Jay Feely has 37 points on nine field goals and 10 extra points. Seattle has allowed eight field goals and eight extra points. I’d try a different kicker.
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Defenses
Seattle is a must-start. The Seahawks rank second in the NFL in total defense with 290.2 yards per game allowed and third in scoring defense with 15.7 points per game allowed. They rank second in takeaways with 17. The Cardinals rank 26th in total offense with 322.3 yards per game and 25th in scoring offense with 18.5 points per game. Only the New York Giants (23) have turned the ball over more frequently than the Cardinals (15).
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Arizona ranks 15th in total defense (350.7 ypg allowed) and 12th in scoring defense (21.2 ppg allowed). Seattle is in the top 10 in total offense (372.7 ypg) and scoring offense (26.2 ppg). I’d look elsewhere.
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In a year that features two of the most productive rookie quarterbacks, there is a third that has been making noise. Can Seattle Seahawks’ rookie Russell Wilson continue to deliver?
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Nobody is confusing Wilson for Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. In his past five games he has 11 touchdown and just one interception. Very impressive numbers.
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In the for previous weeks, Wilson averaged just  205.3 yards. That has pretty much been his story this year as he has 10 games with fewer than 240 passing yards. Obviously, a low passing total like that doesn’t make fantasy owners happy.
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This week against Chicago was a different story. Wilson tied his career-high with 293 yards against a tough Chicago Bears team. The fact that he helped knock off the Bears in Soldier Field makes the feat all that more impressive. Wilson also did an RG3 impersonation this week by running for a career-high 71 yards.
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While Wilson hasn’t provided a ton of fantasy points on the ground, he has averaged 42.5 yards over the past four games. Wilson has yet to run for a touchdown. When you have a runner as effective as Marshawn Lynch, you’ll lose out on those one-year plunges.
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The Seahawks don’t have an ideal schedule in the coming weeks as the fantasy football playoffs get underway. Next week they face the Arizona Cardinals. They aren’t a great team, but they play the pass effectively. They have serious issues against the run so Lynch should be busy.
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In Week 16, the championship week for most leagues, Wilson faces the San Francisco 49ers. Obviously it would be a serious risk to use him then.
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If you don’t have a steady quarterback penciled in your lineup every week, Wilson is a decent option in Week 15. The Buffalo Bills are terrible against the run, so Lynch owners should be extremely happy, but they have issues defending the pass as well. This could be a nice spot start for Wilson.
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More importantly for actual Seattle Seahawks fans, Wilson looks to be the real deal. The future is bright in Seattle.
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Seattle Seahawks wide receivers Sidney Rice and Golden Tate each have six touchdowns heading into the bye. In the past three games Rice has scored four touchdowns. Tate has scored three touchdowns over the same stretch while adding a touchdown pass, which happened to go to Rice.
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Can you trust them for your fantasy team?
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Rice is easier to trust. Not only does he have more yards (475 to 334), he at least has the 2009 season (1312 yards, eight touchdowns) on his resume. Brett Favre made Rice a star that year. While Russell Wilson won’t take him to that same level, a double-digit touchdown season would not be out of reach. Every 8.15 receptions Rice has had throughout his career have gone for a touchdown.
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Rice is 6’4″ with good leaping ability and body control. He has a knack for going up and getting the ball.
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That is very impressive considering what he has had to work with other than Favre’s magical season.
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Rice’s biggest issue has been his inability to stay healthy. He has missed 29 games in his six-year career. If he can stay healthy, he should remain a decent fantasy play.
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Unfortunately he is averaging just 47.5 yards per game so unless he scores, you’re not getting a great game from Rice. He has five touchdowns in his past five games, but is only averaging 55.2 yards per game during the stretch.
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Rice has only topped 55 yards in two of ten games, and his season high is 81 yards.
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Meanwhile Tate is averaging just 33.4 yards per game. His touchdowns have been his fantasy salvation because his season high in receiving yards is 68, and 24 of those yards came on a bad call that should have been an interception. Tate has just one other game with more than 52 yards.
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Tate is just 5’10″, but he’s a playmaker. He just doesn’t get enough touches to be a consistent threat. In three years and 36 games Tate has just 943 yards.
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The Seahawks have a few solid matchups coming up. They face the Miami Dolphins coming out of the bye, which should help the duos’ cause.
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The Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals follow and present more difficult challenges.
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In Week 15 they take on the Buffalo Bills, which could be favorable. At least it’s in a dome (in Toronto) so weather won’t be an issue.
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The San Francisco 49ers make for a tough matchup in Week 16.
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Two out of his five matchups look solid. Of course, if you look at Russell Wilson’s splits, you may be singing a different tune.
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At home Wilson has thrown 11 touchdowns without an interception. On the road Wilson has thrown four touchdowns and eight interceptions. Both the Dolphins and Bills game are on the road. That presents an issue.
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Going forward I would consider Rice a borderline WR3. His ability to score touchdowns should at least give him consideration when you’re setting your fantasy lineups.
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Tate, unfortunately, is a WR4 at best. He may end up with a nice game, but it’s a risk I wouldn’t take.
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What are your thoughts on this duo?
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Given the quarterback landscape in Seattle, it wasn’t an ideal landing spot for Terrell Owens. However, given he couldn’t find a home last year and the suitors didn’t appear to be lining up, beggars can’t be choosy. Now that’s he’s back in the league, does T.O. have fantasy appeal?
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Owens will turn 39 in December, but he has always been a physical marvel. There aren’t many players his age, or  younger for that matter, that take care of their body like T.O., and given his sub-4.5 speed shown in his Seattle tryout, he still is in great shape.
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While he hasn’t been the same dominant force since 2008 when he finished with 1052 yards and ten scores, he has averaged 63.5 catches for 906 yards and seven touchdowns in his last two spots in Buffalo and Cincinnati. T.O. has the reputation of being a locker room cancer and clashing with quarterbacks, but his last two stops were pretty uneventful.
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The preseason will be a good indicator of where T.O. is at, but many may not have the luxury of getting a feel for what he’ll bring before their fantasy draft. Those of you in PPR leagues should probably discount Owens s little more. He hasn’t had 80 catches in a season since 2007.
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He is a touchdown machine though with 153 touchdown grabs in his 15 seasons. He has 52 in his past five. When the Seahawks get in the red zone, his number will likely be a popular one.
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I wouldn’t consider adding T.O. as a starting fantasy wide receiver, but I would take a chance on him for WR depth.
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There were a couple of big name tight ends that found new homes this week. Sure they still have name recognition, but do they have value for the fantasy football owner?
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Dallas Clark had to learn about life after Peyton Manning last year. Now he put Indianapolis organization in his rearview mirror and joined forces with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Clark will turn 33 next month and has had his share of injuries, playing in just 17 games over the past two seasons.
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Clark only averaged 3.1 catches last year for 32.0 yards with a pair of touchdowns in 11 games. Given his age, declining skill set (i.e. drops and blocking deficiency), and injury history I wouldn’t count on Clark as a fantasy contributor. If he can show along the way that he still has something left in the tank, you can pick him off the waiver wire, but I wouldn’t target him in fantasy football drafts.
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Meanwhile Kellen Winslow is out in Tampa and has moved on to Seattle following their trade. Winslow is younger (29 in July) and is coming off a solid season (75 catches for 763 yards and two TDs).
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While Winslow seems to be forever banged up, he hasn’t missed a game in the past three years. He has never had more than five touchdowns in a season so his status as an elite tight end has never been achieved, but he has had at least 66 catches for 730 yards in each of the past three seasons and five of the past six.
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Winslow will have to share the load with Zach Miller in Seattle, a fact that diminishes the fantasy value of both player.
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In summary, while both moves made some noise due to the names of the players involved, neither figure to be draft worthy fantasy options.
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