Buoyed by a strong performance from Russell Wilson and a comeback outing for Thomas Rawls, the Seahawks overcame Cincinnati’s first-quarter touchdown to break out a big lead. Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for a 30-yard score to knot the game up in the first quarter, and Rawls broke out a career-high 69-yard touchdown that helped open up the game in the third.
Strong performances from Wilson and Rawls helped render Fred Jackson nearly irrelevant, as the veteran barely touched the ball out of the backfield or in the passing game. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at how all three players fared in Week 5 and assess what it means for their fantasy value going forward.
Rawls is an every-week start until Marshawn Lynch gets back in the lineup. His disappointing 48-yard performance against the Detroit Lions led to some jumping ship, but he’s now gone over 100 yards in two of his three games with significant work.
What makes Rawls exciting is that he’s done it in different ways. In his 104-yard breakout against the Chicago Bears, he looked like a Marshawn Lite. He kept mostly between the tackles, churned solid gain after solid gain and didn’t do anything too spectacular. This week saw him bust out for a 69-yard scamper that added some much-needed explosiveness to a Seattle offense that was quiet through the season’s first quarter.
Of course, the optimism changes the moment Lynch returns. The Seahawks aren’t going to bench Lynch because an undrafted rookie had a couple of nice games. Lynch has earned that spot by becoming a perennial Pro Bowler, and he’s going to get the lion’s share of the work when he gets back. Rawls’ presence just may allow Seattle to bring him along a little slower.
Not ownable in any fantasy format, Jackson is clearly seen by the Seattle staff as little more than a third-down back. He didn’t even get a chance to win the starting job when Lynch first went down, with Rawls essentially overtaking his full workload. The 34-year-old would need both Lynch and Rawls to go down to have any real value—and even then it might only be for one week.
The days of Jackson being a sneaky pickup or mid-round selection are over. He’s not even getting enough work as a pass-catcher to receive consideration in PPR leagues. If you picked him up hoping for a brief flex filler, the time to drop him has come.
Expecting the fantasy stud of 2014? Well, it might be time to recalibrate. Wilson just isn’t running nearly as effectively as he was a year ago. The Seattle signal-caller averaged 7.2 yards per carry in 2014 on his way to a career-high 849 yards on the ground. While he’s never been a big points-getter from a passing standpoint, the uptick in rushing turned him into a fantasy stud.
What we’re seeing in 2015 is called a regression to the mean. Wilson averaged 5.2 and 5.6 yards per carry in his first two seasons, respectively. He was averaging 5.2 coming into Week 5. After scoring five rushing touchdowns in 2012 and 2013 combined, he had six in 2014 alone. Right now he’s five games into 2015 without touching paydirt.
Basically, Wilson is back to being the player he was his first two seasons. That’s fine for the Seahawks but disappointing for fantasy owners. Instead of being a top-five option, Wilson should probably be considered a borderline starter going forward.
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