Russell Wilson is hoping to play at a high level in 2018 after coming off the best Fantasy season of his career in 2017. Wilson was the No. 1 Fantasy quarterback last season, scoring at least 20 Fantasy points in 11 games. His 34 passing touchdowns led the NFL and matched his career high in 2015. Wilson was also second in rushing yards among quarterbacks with 586, the second-best total of his career (he had 849 in 2014). Wilson had to carry the Seattle offense in 2017 because of a poor running game, something that the team addressed this offseason but isn't necessarily fixed. Furthermore, the Seahawks defense is expected to take a step back, leading to Wilson doing more work. A preseason injury to Doug Baldwin isn't an issue so long as Baldwin stays on track for Week 1. Bank on Wilson being among the first players taken at the position, behind potentially only Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Wilson has only finished outside of the top eight quarterbacks in standard leagues once in his career and injuries played a big role in that. Wilson should be drafted as early as Round 5 in one-quarterback leagues and Round 1 or 2 in two-quarterback formats.
Wilson expects to sign a franchise tag with the Seahawks once his contract expires after the 2019 season, Kole Musgrove of USA Today reports. Wilson's contract negotiations with the Seahawks in 2015 weren't especially amicable. With monster deals being penned around the league -- quarterback Matt Ryan recently signed a record-setting, five-year, $150 million extension with $100 million guaranteed -- there's reason to believe that will happen again. Talks about a new pact will likely commence after Packers QB Aaron Rodgers inks a long-term extension, but sources close to Wilson expect him to finish his current contract and be franchise-tagged for the 2020 season. Wilson's first franchise tag would cost the Seahawks $30.34 million, a second one in 2021 would cost $36.41 million and a third one in 2022 would cost $52.43 million. It's a long way out, but those numbers are staggering and possibly crippling to Seattle's payroll. Of course, this would all be alleviated with a successful extension by March 2020.
Wilson led the NFL and tied a team record with 34 touchdown passes in 2017, but it was partly a result of an inept running game as he posted career lows in completion percentage (61.3) and yards per attempt (7.2). Wilson threw 15 touchdown passes inside the 10-yard line (second overall) as the Seahawks passed on 64.3 percent of their inside-the-10 plays (also second), largely because they couldn't run the ball. Seattle running backs rushed 17 times inside the 10 for minus-11 yards -- the fewest in the NFL since 1991 -- and failed to score one touchdown. The Seahawks' two rushing TDs inside the 10 came from Wilson, who accounted for all but one of the team's offensive touchdowns. The running game's ineffectiveness was such that Wilson became the fifth quarterback since 1970 to lead his team in rushing (586 yards). The ground attack was partly a victim of another terrible Seattle offensive line, as was Wilson, who was sacked 43 times, becoming the third quarterback ever with five consecutive seasons of 40-plus sacks. Unless the Seahawks upgrade the offensive line substantially this offseason, expect Wilson to match former Cardinal Neil Lomax's dubious record of being brought down more than 40 teams in six consecutive seasons (1983-88).
Wilson completed 18 of 29 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns during Sunday's 26-24 loss to the Cardinals. With a playoff berth hanging in the balance, the Seahawks offense mustered 24 total yards by the end of the second quarter, 36 of those on 4-of-8 passing from Wilson. Trailing 20-7 at halftime, the sixth-year signal caller culminated two of seven second-half possessions with touchdown passes to Doug Baldwin, including an NFL-record 19th in the fourth quarter. The pair of TDs left Wilson with a league-leading 34 on the season, but the Seahawks' final drive stalled out at the Cardinals' 30-yard line, from which Blair Walsh missed a potential game winner from 48 yards with 37 seconds remaining. Overall, Wilson accounted for a ridiculous 86 percent (37 of 43) of Seattle's touchdowns in 2017, so management likely will seek out moves in the offseason to create a bit more balance between run and pass for the 2018 campaign.
Wilson completed 14-of-21 passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns against Dallas on Sunday, adding 29 yards on nine carries. Wilson dealt with occasional disruption from a pass rush led by the great Demarcus Lawrence, and otherwise couldn't find any downfield cracks in the Dallas defense. It's an outcome that's difficult to understand given the underwhelming cornerback personnel in Dallas, but Wilson should show better against the Cardinals in Week 17.
Wilson completed 14 of 30 pass attempts for 142 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 42-7 loss to the Rams. He added 39 yards on five rushing attempts. Wilson had not thrown for fewer than 200 yards or two touchdowns in a game since the last time he faced the Rams in Week 5. The 29-year-old was sacked seven times and was on the run all day. If there is a bright side for the six-year veteran, it's that he led Seattle in rushing. He will look to rebound in Week 16 at Dallas.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|5||10/07||Los Angeles Rams||9||16.65|
|9||11/04||Los Angeles Chargers||3||14.50|
|10||11/11||@Los Angeles Rams||9||16.65|
|11||11/16||Green Bay Packers||31||22.06|
|13||12/03||San Francisco 49ers||27||21.00|
|15||12/16||@San Francisco 49ers||27||21.00|
|16||12/24||Kansas City Chiefs||25||20.41|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||64.5||4075||30||10||466||2||387|