The Seattle Seahawks returned home Sunday and picked up their first win of the season thanks to an impressive all-around performance on both sides of the ball. Fantasy owners were glad to see solid showings from Russell Wilson and two of his primary pass-catchers in Jimmy Graham and Jermaine Kearse.
Here is a look at their outings in the 26-0 victory over the Chicago Bears:
For players who are not as established as Wilson and Graham, it is easy to point to an abysmal opposing Bears defense that allowed the Arizona Cardinals to score 48 points and made the 32-year-old Larry Fitzgerald look like Jerry Rice in his prime and wonder whether that was the reason for the production.
Wilson threw for more than 3,000 yards in each of his first three seasons in the league and notched a career-high 849 rushing yards in 2014. He is a threat to run and throw on any play, and Seattle will likely rely on his various abilities even more so moving forward if running back Marshawn Lynch is forced to miss extensive time with the hamstring injury he suffered Sunday, per Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com.
Rather than straight handoffs to Lynch or the read-option the two run so well together, Seattle could use shorter passes as an extension of its running game. That will mean more fantasy points for Wilson.
The star quarterback has already thrown 101 times in three games and is on pace for more than 538 passes this season. He set a career high last year with 452, and the coaching staff is putting the ball in his hands even more often in the early going this season. There is no reason to expect anything different with an injured Lynch, which means Wilson must be in your lineup.
As for Graham, he looked like his old self Sunday, as the NFL highlighted:
Graham didn’t settle into Seattle’s offense in the first two games, notching only 62 combined receiving yards, and built some frustration. Former coach and current NFL Network analyst Brian Billick pointed out the team was not utilizing the athletic tight end correctly:
Now that Seattle could be without Lynch, it will need to find different ways to move the ball. The longer Graham and Wilson play together, the more of a rapport they will develop, and plays like Sunday’s touchdown will become the norm.
Graham boasts four straight years with at least 889 receiving yards, including two years of more than 1,200. He also had 46 touchdown catches in the last four seasons alone coming into 2015. The talent is unquestioned, and he will gradually grow more comfortable in Seattle’s offense and become the fantasy superstar many expect him to be moving forward.
Kearse is not a fantasy lock, like Wilson and Graham are, even if the wide receiver played well Sunday.
Doug Baldwin is the wideout with the best track record in Seattle and figures to receive plenty of targets this season. Some of those targets will also go Graham’s way, and Wilson will pick up yardage with his legs as well. There is only one ball to go around, and Kearse will need to seize his opportunities when they come.
To his credit, that’s what he did Sunday with six catches on six targets, but he still didn’t find the end zone.
That was the main problem with Kearse in 2014, when he scored only one time.
The production that would be needed to consider Kearse a surefire fantasy starter has never been there. He tallied a career-high 537 receiving yards in 2014 but couldn’t find the end zone, and he notched a career-high four touchdown catches in 2013 but only had 346 receiving yards.
Inconsistency has been the theme again this year, with 76 yards in the opener, 76 yards Sunday and zero catches in Week 2.
Sunday’s performance was encouraging against a vulnerable defense, but fantasy owners must see more consistent production in the near future to trust him as a starter.
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