The connection between Baldwin and Russell Wilson could be the key component of the Seahawks offense in 2017 due to the free-agent departures of Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson, Andy Patton of USA Today reports.
In the post-Marshawn Lynch era in Seattle, the onus of the offense has fallen on Wilson, who has averaged 256 passing yards per game the last two years. The receiving corps experienced upheaval this offseason, exchanging Graham, Richardson and Luke Willson for Jaron Brown and Ed Dickson. Like Wilson, who hasn't missed a contest in his six-year career, Baldwin is an ironman in his own right, starting 88 consecutive regular-season outings. Baldwin particularly has been productive the past three campaigns, ranking second in the entire NFL in TD receptions (29), eighth in catches (247), ninth in receiving yards (3,188) and 12th in targets (344). Due his rapport with Wilson, Baldwin is a great bet to surpass his career-best mark of 125 targets from 2016.
Baldwin finished the year nine yards shy of his third consecutive 1,000-yard season, posting 75 receptions and eight touchdowns.
Baldwin has one of the quickest first steps off the line in the league, is an excellent route runner and has speed to be effective downfield. But he suffered in 2017 from an at times inept offense that couldn't protect the quarterback and couldn't keep defenses honest with a legit running game. Perhaps that helps explain why his catch rate dipped to by more than 10 percentage points to 64.7 percent after consecutive seasons at 75-plus percent and why his yards per target dropped to a three-year low 8.5. Maybe a new offensive coordinator will make life less difficult in 2018.
Baldwin hauled in four of five passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns during Sunday's 26-24 defeat to the Cardinals.
On the heels of two of his worst performances in terms of output this season -- a combined five receptions (on 10 targets) for 41 yards and one TD in Weeks 15 and 16 -- Baldwin bounced back with one of his best. That said, his sole reception of the first half accounted for nearly all of the Seahawks' offensive production (a 20-yard catch versus 24 total yards), putting it in a 20-7 hole. In the second half, Baldwin was on the receiving end of both scoring strikes from Russell Wilson, reaching the end zone from 18 and 29 yards. While Baldwin fell short of a third consecutive 1,000-yard season by nine yards, his eight touchdown grabs marked the second-most of his seven-year career. On a sour note, the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Nonetheless, the Baldwin-Wilson connection remains one of the most reliable in the entire NFL.
Baldwin caught four passes for 35 yards and one touchdown on six targets against Dallas on Sunday.
The volume was disappointing, but given that Russell Wilson threw for just 93 yards, this showing was a very strong one by Baldwin in terms of share percentages. Wilson should post bigger numbers against the Cardinals in Week 17, and such an outcome would present Baldwin the opportunity to accumulate some volume.
Baldwin posted his fewest receiving yards since 2014 in Sunday's loss to the Rams, catching one of four targets for six yards.
Russell Wilson badly missed on a deep throw in the first quarter that would have changed Baldwin's fantasy fortunes. But it's disappointing the Seahawks couldn't get their best receiver more involved. Such is life for an inconsistent Seahawks offense that cannot run the ball at all, thereby allowing opponents to play nickel defense most of the game. However, Baldwin faces a Dallas defense in Week 16 that allows the fifth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers.
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