For yet another season, Razzball will be interviewing local NFL beat writers for some in-depth actual football knowledge to sway some insight in our fantasy football knowledge. Keep your eye out for an interview for every NFL team through the summer and check out each one on the “2012 Fantasy Football Team Previews” link. This installment comes courtesy of Eric Williams from The News Tribute in Tacoma:
1) Well, as you would expect I have to start with Marshawn Lynch. On an un-fantasy side note, how are Seahawks fans feeling about his continual legal troubles? And back to fantasy, if Lynch can avoid a suspension, do you expect him to have another big season like what he showed last year?
The alleged driving while intoxicated charge that occurred in Lynch’s hometown of Oakland is his first off-the-field incident since joining the Seahawks in a midseason trade in 2010. So while disappointed, fans are willing to give Lynch a pass. The Cal product is the identity of this team. And with head coach Pete Carroll continuing to emphasis the run game, expect Lynch to pile up the carries once again this year.
Lynch finished with a career-high 1,204 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns on 285 carries. But with Seattle drafting rookie Robert Turbin to give Lynch an occasional blow, expect Lynch to tote the rock a little less in 2012.
2) The Seahawks enter 2012 with newly acquired Matt Flynn at QB, who showed us all one big game can get you a huge payday. I wish my job was like that… What do expect out of Flynn this year?
If Flynn wins the three-man competition with Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson, he should be a moderate upgrade at the position. But don’t expect the type of eye-popping numbers he had in two starts with Green Bay. The Seahawks run more a ball-controlled offense that leans on Lynch and the running game, so Carroll is looking for his quarterback to be more of a game manager.
3) Sidney Rice was a monster while healthy in Minnesota, but didn’t find his stride last year with the Seahawks. Will the big arm of Matt Flynn get Rice more involved, and is there any word or determination on how the rapport is going between Seattle’s QB and #1 receiving option?
Rice has been limited in training camp because of two shoulder surgeries this offseason. He’s only played a full, 16-game season one time in his five-year career. However, regardless of who earns the starting quarterback job, the Seahawks expect Rice to be the team’s explosive playmaker on the perimeter – if he can stay healthy.
4) Besides Rice, Doug Baldwin, Ben Obomanu and Golden Tate are all jockeying for a featured role as the #2. All three have shown flashes of talent, with Baldwin looking like the biggest asset. How do you see these receivers playing out through the regular season and do you think Baldwin could have a nice sophomore campaign?
Add veteran Braylon Edwards to that conversation. He just signed a one-year deal with Seattle a couple days into training camp. Baldwin likely will get the most targets of those mentioned as the team’s slot receiver. But Tate has shown flashes of potentially breaking out in his third year. The Notre Dame product finished with 19 catches for 209 yards and a touchdown in five starts for Rice down the backstretch of 2011. And he’s looked explosive during training camp. Another name to watch is Ricardo Lockette. The second-year pro has track speed and finished with only two catches in 2011, but averaged 52.5 yards a catch, including a 61-yarder for a score.
5) A move I barely heard anything about was Kellen Winslow coming in from Tampa Bay. Winslow is certainly getting up there in age, but do you think he has a full season of being fantasy relevant within the Seahawks’ offense?
The Seahawks were excited to get Winslow in a trade with Tampa Bay during the offseason. Seattle ran two tight end sets nearly 40 percent of the time last year, so expect to see Zach Miller and Winslow together a lot in 2012. The Seahawks will do a good job of managing Winslow’s balky knee during the week so that he’s ready to go on Sunday. He likely will not have as many targets as he did with Tampa Bay because of Seattle’s focus on the run, but he still should finish in the 50-catch range.
Eric Williams is a reporter for The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., and has covered the Seattle Seahawks since 2008. Williams also covered the NBA’s Seattle Sonics during that team’s final season in Seattle in 2007-08.