SeahawksGab Editor Devon Heinen’s Fantasy Take on the 2011 Seahawks

Despite Seattle’s misfortunes the past two seasons, fantasy team owners shouldn’t leave the Seahawks for dead come Draft Day.

Sunday I wrote how CBSsports.com’ Senior Fantasy Writer, Jamey Eisenberg tabbed Seattle’s Justin Forsett as a sleeper, T.J. Houshmandzadeh as a bounce-back candidate and Golden Tate as a keeper league target.

Today it’s my turn.  In 12-team standard scoring leagues, here’s who you should consider picking up when you’re on the clock. 

BREAKOUT PLAYER
Justin Forsett: Who isn’t singing the running back’s praises this offseason?  It’s for this reason why he’s not my sleeper.  Reports out of camp are that Forsett are doing everything necessary to supplant Seattle’s current starter Julius Jones and, when coupling those reports with last year’s statistics, fantasy owners should expect the kind of production from the 5-foot-8 back that would make him a quality RB2.

While Forsett’s 619 yards on 114 carries (an average of 7.1 yards per carry), 41 receptions and five total touchdowns last season are impressive, especially since he started just twice, there’s a stat that might go overlooked that really sheds light on what kind of a season the running back had last season and what could be expected from him this season.

Forsett ranked sixth out of all running backs in the National Football League last season in yards after contact per attempt with 3.2 yards.  Forsett’s elusiveness is not an epiphany, but when you find out that he outperformed Beanie Wells, Maurice Jones-Drew and Chris Johnson – all players that will go higher than the Seahawks’ running back in fantasy drafts this season – you have to think that Forsett will produce once again this year. 

SLEEPER
T.J. Houshmandzadeh: Despite hauling in 13 less receptions and one less touchdown, Houshmandzadeh didn’t have that bad of a season last year.  In fact, despite recording ‘just’ 79 receptions in 2009 compared to 92 in 2008 with Cincinnati, Houshmandzadeh gained seven more yards last year (911) than he did in his final one as a Bengal (904).  It’s this reason why I don’t view him as having a down season last year and that he’s sleeper worthy this season instead of a “bounce-back candidate”.

Factor in new head coach Pete Carroll recently telling NFL.com that quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is “in the best shape of his career and ready to have a great season” and it’s not hard to believe that Seattle’s top receiving option is in line for a 1000-plus receiving yard year.  He won’t get you a ton of touchdowns though since tight end John Carlson and Justin Forsett could vulture red-zone looks, but Houshmandzadeh should shape up to be more than a serviceable WR3 with the possibility of becoming a low-grade WR2 depending on matchups. 

KEEPER-LEAGUE TARGET
Mike Williams: Before I begin, I’ll let you clean up the coffee you probably just spit out from laughing upon reading that the first-round bust’s name is a player with fantasy relevancy.

Like Justin Forsett, reports from Seattle’s offseason workouts have been glowing for the wide receiver.  Those reports indicate that the wideout is slimmer, in excellent shape and knows that this is quite possibly his last chance of playing in the NFL if he doesn’t right his personal ship.

The installation of Williams into the Seahawks’ offense has provided quarterback Matt Hasselbeck a big body to snatch balls out of the air, something Seattle hasn’t had the luxury of having for quite some time.  While Williams is a gamble, he’s worth a late-round flyer and being stashed on your bench in case his offseason hype, granted in what will probably be a small role this season, comes to fruition and can be parlayed into something special next season. 

OTHER NAMES TO MENTION
Here are a few names also worth looking into as either players to draft or as waiver-wire pickups sometime during the season:
-John Carlson (TE)
-Olindo Mare (K)
-Matt Hasselbeck (QB)

Can’t get enough SeahawksGab?  Follow Devon on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DevonHeinen.


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