The Seattle Seahawks, just moments into their training camp, find themselves in a holding pattern on Wide Receiver Percy Harvin – as do early drafters.
Two weeks ago Harvin went in the third round of our site mock draft (details coming soon) and his ADP falls right around 36 overall. Certainly that number is due to come down as we await a second opinion that is scheduled for July 31 (per Jason LaCanfora of CBS).
Frankly though, regardless of the result of the impending appointment, Harvin just came off my draft board entirely. He’s struggled to stay healthy throughout his tenure in the league and while there are many who think (including many with the Seahawks) he should be able to play through the injury, I wouldn’t expect to get 16 games out of him even if he avoids surgery. If he plays, the price will simply be too high for my liking for a guy who is going to be a question mark week in and out.
With Harvin out of mind, then, it’s time to assess the impact that his possible loss would have on the rest of the Seahawks from a fantasy perspective. Let’s start with the most notable, Quarterback Russell Wilson.
Without question the (likely) loss of a dynamic weapon like Harvin impacts Wilson’s potential for 2013. The ceiling for the Seattle offense was significantly higher with the former Viking in town, however, it is important to remember that they got it done without him last year. He’ll be working with Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate and Sidney Rice just as he was last year. Each is due to receive a boost when my rankings are updated, with Tate being the most significant beneficiary – more on that below.
Wilson was fantasy football’s best QB to close out last season with the exact receiving corps he’ll be working with moving forward. The names are less appealing than some of the options around the league, but the offense should be able to maintain it’s 2012 levels – which was enough to carry Wilson owners deep into their fake playoffs. The floor remains the same – I know most gamers are drafting for ceiling but even if we revert our projections to somewhere around last year’s line, you’re still looking at a top 10 fantasy quarterback.
The loss of Harvin, a hybrid receiver who often saw screen plays called as a way to replace an outside run in Minnesota, will likely mean more traditional carries for Marshawn Lynch… but we were already high on Lynch coming into the season. While the extra projected volume is a plus, a couple of carries a game doesn’t change the relative value of a top 10 back all that much. However, it is worth keeping an eye on how Robert Turbin and Christine Michael are used in training camp.
Getting back to the other pass catchers, Sidney Rice remains the traditional X receiver and should be more heavily involved in the game plan as he takes a chunk of Harvin’s projected 100+ touches, provided he can stay healthy himself.
Golden Tate should maintain his role as a slot receiver, with Doug Balwin slipping into an outside role. There is a clear boost in playing time for both receivers but I’d expect the ‘Hawks to take a look at how they planned to use Harvin and how to fit Tate into some of those looks. He’s a quick receiver who moves well in and out of his breaks and could easily add value in the catch and run game. Tate picked up his play late last season, coinciding with Wilson’s boon and should be able to carry that into this season – it’s worth noting that he’s vying for a new contract as well. According to ProFootballFocus, Harvin was the 16th best receiver – strictly as it relates to contributions in the pass game – in 2012. Furthermore he was the 14th best receiver from a percentage of targets caught perspective. From week eight on, including the playoffs, he caught 80.8% of balls thrown in his direction which if maintained would be the best in the league over the course of a full season. His sure hands should help convince his coaches and Quarterback to put the ball in them.
At this point, these are all speculative projections… Harvin may well wind up on the field and training camp should tell us more about Seattle’s plans, but as it stands I’m expecting a big boost of Golden Tate in my upcoming ranks, don’t panic on Wilson, and we’ll watch the rest of the cards fall as they may.