Monday - Dec 16, 2019

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Under the Microscope – Seattle Seahawks

Overview
Things are looking up for the Seahawks.  Coach Mike Holmgren has finally started to show the promise that he was hired for, guiding them to a 6-3 record, and those of you who drafted Matt Hasselbeck or Darrell Jackson have to be pleased with their performances thus far.  A quick start has a lot of fantasy owners excited, but has this Seahawks team really turned the corner?  Or will they lose momentum in the second half of the season and become just another victim of NFL parity?  Microscopes on…

Team Stats (numbers in parentheses are NFL Ranking)
Category Yards/Game TD’s
Rushing Offense 124.4  (10) 9  (t7)
Passing Offense 210.4  (13) 13  (t8)
Rushing Defense 118.2  (18) 8  (t17)
Passing Defense 200.9  (18) 10  (t8)

Turnover Stats Upcoming Schedule
18 takeaways  (t10)
14 giveaways  (t9)
+4 overall  (t9)
11: Detroit
12: @Baltimore

13: Cleveland
14: @Minnesota
15: @St. Louis
16: Arizona
17:
@San Francisco

Schedule Analysis
The ‘Hawks are tied with St. Louis for first place in the NFC West, and they already have a 3-0 division record, including a game in hand against the Rams.  But they also face tough road games against the Ravens, Vikings, Rams, and 49ers in the final weeks of the season.  And keep in mind, Seattle has only beaten one team with a winning record, their 1-point victory over the Rams in week 3.  Still, their offense is productive, and for your fantasy squad, only the week 12 matchup with Baltimore’s suffocating defense should be avoided.

Player Analysis

Matt Hasselbeck, QB – Hasselbeck was one of many “value” quarterbacks that our crack staff at FantasySharks.com identified in this year’s draft.  Indeed, he could be had in the middle-to-late rounds and has delivered nicely for where you probably drafted him.  His yardage is very consistent, and he has only failed to throw a touchdown pass in one game, the week 5 loss to Green Bay.  He’s a solid start at QB against most any defense.

Trent Dilfer, QB – It seems that Dilfer never really got his fair shake in the NFL.  I mean, the guy leads the Ravens to a Super Bowl title with an underwhelming supporting cast, and the next year he’s dumped to Seattle, where he starts briefly but eventually becomes the understudy to the developing Hasselbeck.  I wonder if Brian Billick would prefer to have Dilfer back, or do you think he’s OK with Anthony Wright?  At any rate, Dilfer is a solid backup QB and should be scooped up immediately if Hasselbeck gets injured.

Shaun Alexander, RB – Ever since Alexander took over for an injured Ricky Watters in 2001, he has teased fantasy owners with the kind of potential that lands him on the draft list next to Holmes, Faulk, and the rest.  He has never quite reached that level of accomplishment, but it seems that once a year he has the kind of game that makes you believe.  That game hasn’t happened yet this year, but he is an every-week starter and the explosion could come at any time.

Maurice Morris, RB – Morris is a capable backup and has an excellent average of 8.5 yards per carry in limited duty this year.  Alexander owners should definitely keep him on their roster as insurance.  If he comes in for any significant amount of time, he should be able to approach or even match Alexander’s numbers.

Mack Strong, RB – I don’t often cover fullbacks in the microscope, but Mack Strong catches a few passes and occasionally sees goal-line duty, so he could be worth a spot in deeper leagues.

Darrell Jackson, WR – Although Koren Robinson was more highly touted (and drafted), Jackson has put up better numbers over the course of the season.  Still, neither one has shown the consistency you need to help your fantasy team.  Jackson may burn you from time to time, but most weeks he is a good start.

Koren Robinson, WR – Robinson is in his third year now, and was supposed to build on last year’s 1,200-yard numbers with a breakout season.  Instead, he is lagging behind last year’s pace, not to mention his counterpart, Jackson.  But don’t count him out yet, especially with some of the league’s more generous defenses still on the schedule.

Bobby Engram, WR – Engram’s average is lower than the Seahawk’s top two receivers, but he has 30 receptions, nearly matching Jackson and Robinson who each have 34.  He has shown consistency, and is not a bad option for a 3rd WR on fantasy teams.

Itula Mili, TE – Mili is the typical mid-level tight end, who will catch a few passes nearly every week.  He will frustrate at times, but is worth keeping around for gems like the 5-for-80 and 2 TD’s he had against the Bengals.

Defense/Special Teams – Ray Rhodes was brought in as defensive coordinator this year to fix the Seahawks’ most glaring problem – run defense.  If you’ll remember from last year, Emmitt Smith’s only 100-yard game was the one in which he broke the record against Seattle.  The Seahawks were giving up yards in chunks of 10 and 15 to a player who is better suited for an easy chair than a pair of cleats.  There is some improvement this year, but the transformation of such a woeful squad will take time.  This year’s Seahawks force a good amount of turnovers, but there is not much else to like from a fantasy perspective.  Might be worth a start against Detroit or Arizona.

The Bottom Line
I don’t think the Seahawks are ready for prime time yet.  Progress has been made here, probably enough to keep Mike Holmgren around for another year, but I think we will see this team start to slide as they hit the tougher part of their schedule.  I just can’t see them winning those tough November and December road games.  The last three weeks of the season, all against division opponents, will be critical.  If they can somehow pull off a win in St. Louis, they just might prove me wrong.

Next Week … It’s back to the AFC, where the Cincinnati Bengals await the Microscope’s lens.  If they can beat Kansas City this week, as Chad Johnson has guaranteed, we might have some actual Bengal-mania on our hands in Cincinnati.  I have my doubts, but the “Bungles” have at least made people take notice this year.  We’ll tear them apart after this important game and see if they’re for real.

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