I had already written this article in my head except it had a different title last night. I was planning on taking Sidney Rice in the 8th round of our current RotoViz draft. Then Matthew Freedman took Rice a few picks before me, so I didn’t want to have to throw out the article. I just changed the title.
This takes a little bit of funny business with the numbers to make the case, but I’m at least disclosing to you that what I’m doing is problematic. Here are Rice’s season averages for 2012:
But Russell Wilson wasn’t really Russell Wilson until after week five, so I’m willing to throw out weeks 1-5. Also, Rice was targeted at least three times each week between week 6 and the end of the season. That is with the exception of the week 16 blowout of the 49ers (when SEA didn’t need to throw to be competitive) and their week 17 game against the Rams that they didn’t actually need to win (but did anyway). So if you look at Rice’s games during that span (week 6-15) you get the following table:
That’s a 950 yard, 10 touchdown pace. It’s a cherry picked stat line, but I’m being up front about that. If we’re trying to figure out what the Seahawks pass offense will look like in 2013, I think it’s fair to throw out the first 5 games of the ‘12 season when they averaged fewer than 150 yards per game. Throwing out the last two games is probably more questionable.
To be clear, I wanted Rice to be my 5th WR in a 14 team league, so I’m not saying he’s going to lead the league in receiving yards. But you can see from both stat lines that Rice was a productive player when the ball went his way. Also, Rice is the only SEA receiver that has recorded either a 1,000 yard season or an 8 touchdown season.
It’s true that with more mouths to feed, there’s risk that Rice’s usage goes down. However, between Rice and Percy Harvin, which is the one that needs the ball a lot in order to score fantasy points? Unless he’s the focal point of an offense, I have a really difficult time believing that Percy Harvin can put up WR1 type numbers. I also don’t think SEA is going to win very much of anything if they throw the ball to Harvin as much as Minnesota did (if you want to see the results of a run heavy offense that mixes in Percy Harvin screen passes, there’s precedent for that. It’s called the Vikings 2012 season and it would actually be a step back from SEA’s offense last year).
Golden Tate could be the odd man out in SEA given that he’s the one that isn’t under contract after this year. I don’t think SEA will let the tail wag the dog as far as letting contracts dictate usage with their WRs, except the salaries obviously imply something in the way of priorities. Right now the order looks like it’s Harvin, then Rice, then Tate.