2017 Projections: Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks
In this series, I use an internal version of the Projection Machine to explore likely outcomes for offensive players on all 32 NFL teams.
The Projection Machine employs a top-down approach that builds on team-wide assumptions to develop expectations of offensive output. I will use staff averages to help guide the inputs underlying the projections. Check out this article for further information on the process used by the RotoViz team. All 2017 Seattle Seahawks projections are based on PPR scoring.
The Seahawks won ten games in 2016 and are expected to win ten and a half in 2017. As a result, the RotoViz staff projects the team to operate with similar tendencies while seeing an uptick in scoring margin. Based on these assumptions, the Projection Machine forecasts 532 passes and 450 rushes.
|Scoring Margin||Pass Tendency||Pace Tendency|
|League 75th percentile||1.00||0.02||0.85|
|League 50th percentile||-1.25||-0.01||-0.85|
|League 25th percentile||-3.75||-0.04||-2.70|
|Seahawks 2017 (Projection)||2.00||0.00||-0.77|
A Lot of Uncertainty
The Seattle backfield makes a strong case for being the hardest to figure out. The staff is divided between three of the team’s running backs and all are projected by a number of writers as the Seahawks’ starter. As a result, Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, and C.J. Prosise come equipped with significant standard deviations.
Drafters are equally perplexed; Lacy is being drafted as RB31, Rawls RB41 and Prosise 42. This makes Prosise the most desirable option. In addition to coming with the cheapest cost, he has the best chance of being a three-down back for Seattle. Given his ability as a receiver, he’s the team’s only RB that’s expected to have a defined role. With a David Johnson like profile, Prosise possesses significant upside.
In Seattle’s third preseason game, rookie Chris Carson took snaps with the team’s starters, muddying the waters even further. Some drafters are questioning if he’s actually the upside pick. While it’s hard to imagine Carson remaining in the team’s rotation when Prosise is healthy, he could be worth a late-round stash. However, drafters shouldn’t fade Prosise based on Carson’s performance in the preseason alone.
Due to the significant variations in staff projections, the averages lose context when looking at each back in isolation. For this reason, the presented projections assume that either Lacy or Rawls wins the starting duties outright and Prosise is used as the receiving and change of pace back. A rushing share of 49 percent is allocated to the starter as well as four percent of targets. Prosise is projected with a target share of 12 percent and 22 percent of carries. Average efficiency is included in each projection.
The staff average gives Prosise 120 points; the highest individual mark of the three backs. Per the RotoViz Draft Lab, his projections have a standard deviation of 30. Lacy is projected with 112 points and a standard deviation of 42. Rawls’ projections average 102 points with a standard deviation of 43.
Doug for the Baldwin
Doug Baldwin has been extremely efficient for three consecutive seasons. While it would be easy to write off these performances as flukes, he finished at the 95th percentile or better in points per target (PPT) in all three seasons. No other receiver accomplished this feat. Since points per target isn’t known as a sticky statistic, this is a notable achievement. Sure, his efficiency could drop in 2017, but it’s hard to argue that Baldwin isn’t a talented receiver.
The RotoViz staff projects Baldwin with 23 percent of targets and greater than 75th percentile efficiency. Tyler Lockett projects as the Seahawks’ WR2 with a target share of 15 percent and average efficiency for a WR2. Paul Richardson is slated for 12 percent of targets with modest efficiency.
With an average projection of 241 points and standard deviation of 14, Baldwin is expected to score between 227 and 255 fantasy points. He projects as a top-15 wide receiver in 2017.
Lockett is pegged for 128 points and a standard deviation of 25. Richardson is expected to accrue 103 points with a standard deviation of 14.
Jimmy Graham is Still At It
Jimmy Graham finished as the TE4 in 2016 averaging 12 points per game. He’s still a solid fantasy option, even if a top-3 finish is unlikely. With a projected target share of 18 percent and moderate efficiency, Graham will be the second option in Seattle’s passing game. While his ceiling is limited within the Seahawk’s offense, his target share provides a high floor.
The staff average projects Graham with 176 fantasy points and a standard deviation of 15. He’ll once again be a TE1.
The Staff Loves Wilson
The RotoViz staff loves Russell Wilson and thinks he could finish as one of the top three quarterbacks. His rushing ability boosts his production and provides a nice weekly floor. Since 2014, Wilson has gone for 10 or more points in 92 percent of games played and 20 or more in 40 percent; this places him among fantasy’s elite. He finished outside of the top-10 last season but has a great chance to finish among the league’s top QBs in 2017.
The presented projection aligns with the staff average 308 fantasy points and standard deviation of 14.