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Russell Wilson Heats Up When it Matters Most

Ian Riley Staff Writer December 7, 2015 11:09AM EDT
Most offenses would have had some serious issues after losing a guy like Jimmy Graham to a season-ending injury. Seattle isn’t one of them. Looking for a reason why? The answer is simple; Russell Wilson is now capable of carrying an offense. Through 12 games he has completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 2,997 yards and 21 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. Entering this week, he was third in the league in yards-per-attempt at 8.38. He managed to up that total to 8.51. He is currently on pace to pass for 3,996 yards and 28 touchdowns; both would set career-best marks. Throw in another 600 yards rushing (if he maintains his current pace) and arguably you have the best dual-threat quarterback in the league. Doug Baldwin has really morphed into his go-to guy, especially over the last four weeks, as he has hauled in 24 passes for 433 yards and six touchdowns.

A look ahead reveals two really sweet matchups against Baltimore and Cleveland for Wilson. Each team ranks among the league leaders in Fantasy points given up to quarterbacks. Week 16 brings a matchup against St. Louis in Seattle in what will be Championship Week for many Fantasy leagues. On paper this looks tough, but Wilson has thrown for at least 206 yards and a touchdown in every game this season. That’s a pretty nice floor to be working with.

Observation

Russell Wilson has a passing TD in every game this season. Photo Credit Keith Allison

Russell Wilson has a passing TD in every game this season. Photo Credit Keith Allison

Brandon Marshall hauled in 12 of his 13 targets for 131 yards and a touchdown against the Giants. It was his second consecutive game with 131 yards receiving and his fifth consecutive game with a receiving touchdown. For the season, he has now caught 83 passes for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns, leaving him on pace for 110 receptions, 1,416 yards and 13 touchdowns. If this holds to form, it would mean that in his 10th NFL season, he would set a career-best in touchdown receptions while catching the second-most passes and netting the highest total receiving yardage of his career. He hasn’t been targeted fewer than seven times in a game this year, and he has logged seven games with at least 100 yards receiving. His first season as a Jet has been a smashing success. Heading into next season, he should be drafted as a Top-10 option at receiver if the Jets bring back Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Speculation

In standard scoring leagues, Matt Ryan has scored more than 20 points just once this season. Last year, he finished sixth in total points in standard scoring leagues and surpassed the 20-point plateau five times. A few things have changed from last year. For starters, there hasn’t been a consistent second fiddle to Julio Jones in the passing game.  Roddy White has been a shell of his former self and Leonard Hankerson’s injuries limited him to just eight games this year. News started breaking early Sunday that Ryan isn’t comfortable with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s new system. Now, that is something I can get on board with. Ryan has struggled with turnovers all season, and he just isn’t throwing the ball deep downfield. Last year, he attempted 51 passes that traveled over 20 yards past the line of scrimmage. Through 12 games this year he has only 46. Ryan honestly isn’t worth owning while he fights through these struggles. Next year though with an offseason to work out the kinks in Shanahan’s system you should expect a bounceback.

Revelation

Forward thinking wins Championships. So what if you didn’t make the playoffs in your league this year. Study up, keep watching those games and start putting together your rankings for next season. One team you should really focus on to close out the season is the Jacksonville Jaguars. Blake Bortles is on pace to finish as a Top-10 Fantasy option in his second season. The biggest reason is the emergence of Allen Robinson. After adding another 10 grabs for 153 yards and three touchdowns against the Titans, Robinson is now on pace for 1,440 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Allen Hurns is no slouch on the other side either, with 48 catches for 758 yards and seven touchdowns despite missing this week’s game. With these three entering the league together and growing, and rookie running back T.J. Yeldon and tight end Julius Thomas also in the mix, this nucleus is only going to get better. Invest in these guys next year folks. This team is going to be a ton of fun to watch on offense.

Observation

The Patriots have now lost two games in a row and I would be lying if I didn’t believe the injuries finally caught up with them on offense. First they lost Dion Lewis, then it was Julian Edelman and then they had to face the Eagles without Rob Gronkowski. Without Gronk creating mismatches down the center of the field, Tom Brady didn’t really have a safety valve downfield. He was forced to dink-and-dunk with a combination of James White and Danny Amendola, while trying to play catch-up after falling three touchdowns behind the Eagles. Brady’s biggest completions were to White, who was too much to handle for Philadephia’s linebackers. White doesn’t have Lewis’s moves in the open field or running ability out of the backfield, but he does offer sure hands and decent quickness. Yes, Bill Belichick is the toughest coach to read in the NFL. After saying that it will be difficult for him to not show White more time on the field after he hauled in 10-of-13 targets for 115 yards and a score. If you own him in a PPR league that starts FLEX players, White has some value while Gronk is on the shelf. You can bet Brady will lobby for him to get more playing time after this one.

Speculation

After watching Pittsburgh absolutely throttle Indianapolis on Sunday night, is it now fair to call them the current best offense in football? They have my vote. Because of this, when my quarterback rankings get released next year Ben Roethlisberger will be on top of mine. Sure Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers get consideration, but when you take a look at the entire package, you get your answer. Antonio Brown is un-coverable. Combine that with the fact that he has amazing quicks and equally impressive hands, and you have your most consistent receiver in the league. Martavis Bryant just scores touchdowns. He has now played in 17 career games and scored 14 touchdowns through the air and one on the ground. At 6’4”, 211 pounds with a sub-4.4 40-yard dash, he is the premier deep threat in the league. And let’s not forget when healthy Le'Veon Bell is the best overall running back in football. This offense is scary, and Big Ben has the keys.

Revelation

Entering this week, David Johnson had 35 carries for 139 yards and four touchdowns this season. He also added 19 receptions for 241 yards and a score, very solid numbers in a very small sample size. He got his first start with Chris Johnson now out for the season and Andre Ellington out indefinitely with turf toe and he didn’t disappoint, racking up 120 yards and a touchdown on 22 touches against a tough Rams defense. He runs hard and grinds out yards after contact. He combines that with some open field moves and soft hands in the passing game. The ingredients are here for an every down back and he will be one for the remainder of the season. He looks good for 20-plus touches a game, and because of that he should be locked into all starting lineups to close out the season despite the fact that he is facing off against Minnesota, Philadelphia and Green Bay to close out the Fantasy season. Carson Palmer is deadly on play-action, meaning these defenses can never stack the box. Don’t shy away here if you own Johnson. He is looking like the late season pick-up that is going to wind up winning plenty of leagues this year.

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