'Tis the season for fantasy football drafts.
If you have yet to conduct yours, keep these three Seahawks tips in mind when devising your draft strategy:
Look for value with Marshawn Lynch
You've probably heard all the concerns about Lynch's fantasy prospects:
Will the heavy workload he's endured over the last three seasons cause him to slip down – or fall completely off of – the proverbial running-back cliff? Will his holdout affect his conditioning or lead to an injury like it has with others? Will the Seahawks dial back his workload with an eye toward the stretch run and/or their backfield succession plan?
Chances are, everyone in your fantasy league has heard all of that as well. That means Lynch could be had at a bargain, whether it's later than normal in a snake draft or for an affordable portion of an auction budget. That's what you should look for.
Lynch has been a fantasy stud the last three years, rushing for at least 1,200 yards with double-digit touchdowns each season since 2011. He can't keep up that pace forever, and his best days could very well be behind him. It would be a risk to draft Lynch like a top-three running back given all the aforementioned concerns. But that doesn't necessarily mean he's going to disappear in 2014. Even if Lynch produces 80 percent of what he did a year ago, he's still a good fantasy player, and it's entirely possible he shows no decline and has another monster season.
The only thing better than getting that kind of production on your fantasy team is getting it at a nice bargain. You might find one if if your fantasy opponents shy away from Lynch. Just make sure the price is right.
Don't forget about Percy Harvin
It's easy to forget about Harvin from a fantasy football standpoint since he's missed most of the last season and a half with injuries. But consider this: the last time Harvin was healthy – the first half of the 2012 season – he was an MVP candidate before his season ended in Week 9 due to an ankle injury.
Extrapolated over a full season, Harvin's 2012 receiving numbers look like this: 110 catches, 1,204 yards and five touchdowns. Keep in mind that Minnesota's offense that season ranked 28th in pass attempts and was quarterbacked by Christian Ponder, who is now a third-stringer.
Harvin posted big numbers – albeit for half a season – in a run-first offense. Now imagine what he might do in one with a much better quarterback. Also consider that Harvin should pick up extra yardage – and perhaps a touchdown or two – by taking handoffs (see: Super Bowl XLVIII). Anything he does as a kickoff returner is a bonus.
Of course, any projection of Harvin has to take into account that his health is never a guarantee. But if he plays at least 13 games, there's a decent chance he'll be among the 20 highest-scoring receivers in fantasy football. In a 10-team league with two starting receivers, that would make him a viable No. 2 or at least a strong flex option.
You could do much worse than Russell Wilson
Seattle attempted fewer passes than all but one team in the NFL during the 2013 regular season. Starting offensive tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini missed about half the season, as did starting wide receiver Sidney Rice. Harvin played in only one game.
Despite all that, Wilson scored the eighth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks (in ESPN's standard scoring), which should tell you how much better he could be this season under better circumstances. Seattle will remain a run-first offense, but Wilson's life should be easier with Harvin and the rest of his surrounding cast mostly healthy. He's also entering his third NFL season, which means you can reasonably expect his game to improve overall.
Another reason why Wilson could be a better fantasy quarterback in 2014 is rushing touchdowns. He had only one last season, which seems like an anomaly considering the frequency with which he scrambles along with Seattle's occasional use of the read option. Wilson had four rushing scores as a rookie and he has three so far this preseason.
Given the confines of Seattle's offense, it might be hard for him to elevate into the top-five of fantasy quarterbacks this season. But if you're considering Wilson as your starter, know that you could do much worse because there's a good chance that he'll be even better than he was a year ago.