Week 4 Recap:
Seattle Seahawks vs New York Jets
Quarterback: We knew Russel Wilson was good, but the question coming into this week was his health. Well, I don’t think there’s any concern of that anymore. The offensive line played much better than it had been as well. This led to a much cleaner pocket for Wilson. It looks like Tom Cable is working his magic yet again. The re-emergence of Jimmy Graham has also helped tremendously.
Running Back: Christine Michael is here. And he is glorious. I was blown away by this performance. He ran well, he was fast, he was powerful, he is an angry runner, he ran people over, and he caught passes. He has good, not great, acceleration, and his pass protection could use a little work. ProFootballFocus rates him as the number 5 overall back with an overall grade of 76.1. For comparison, David Johnson is the top graded back at 81.4 overall. You probably heard the off-season narrative of an awakening for Michael. He is awake alright.
His awakening has really given this offense a spark. It seemed like the Seahawks struggled last year until Rawls emerged as their lead back. I watched the film of the Seahawks down the stretch, and I was impressed with how well the line played. They began playing as a unit when they had not before. I’ve heard it said often by former offensive linemen that running the ball allows the line to get into a rhythm. In return, the skill players look a hell of a lot better. Look at Atlanta this year – their line has been impressive through Week 4 of the season.
Spiller had an absolutely spectacular catch. I don’t plan on relying on him unless he earns more snaps in the offense. Alex Collins showed flashes earlier this season, but he was barely used in this one. If something happens to Michael, I think he’d be the guy to get first shot at carries. Of course, there is Rawls. He showed enough down the stretch last year to lead me to believe that, when he comes back, he would be the handcuff over Collins. I would be very surprised if he came back and took the job from Michael, or if they split carries. Their statistics are included below.
Seattle Seahawks running back touch breakdown against New York Jets Week 4. Statistics used from www.pro-football-reference.com.
Wide Receiver: Going into the season I couldn’t buy into Tyler Lockett, so I went back to watch the film on the Seahawks down the stretch. I came away much more impressed with Doug Baldwin and Thomas Rawls than with Lockett. He is quick and has really good top end speed. Doug Baldwin has all of that, too. He also has amazing hands, and he makes very tough catches. Go watch the Seahawks second drive at 13:16 in the second quarter. Wilson zings a pass into a small window and Baldwin gets laid out making a very tough catch. Baldwin seemed to miss a few series in this game, so I think that contributed to his targets being down a bit. Lockett only caught one of his three targets, but at least one of them was a throw-away from Wilson. If I owned Lockett I think I would hold onto him, because were reports that Doug Baldwin, of all people, that he was dealing with an injury. I didn’t see a degraded performance, just a lack of targets due to the resurgence of Jimmy Graham.
Then there’s the long touchdown pass to…. Tanner McEvoy!? Who!? He played snaps at receiver, safety, and quarterback at Wisconsin. His college numbers are pretty impressive. Especially at 6’6” 230 pounds. The TD catch in this game was clearly a blown coverage. So let’s not get too excited here. Maybe keep an eye on him if you are in a deeper dynasty league; I’m thinking of another big, athletic quarterback who has won people games this year in Pryor. The fact that he played the three different positions leads me to believe that he has good football knowledge. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for him. Kearse will have big games, but he is not a primary target in the offense. He also blocks quite a bit on runs. I would only give him a look in the deepest of leagues as a bye week fill in. He is not a reliable option. He caught 5 TDs last year, but that was mainly after Graham went down.
Seattle Seahawks receiver target distribution against New York Jets Week 4
Tight End: Jimmy Graham looks to be back! He made some acrobatic catches. He cut well, he ran well, and he looked strong. He was actually their number one target in this one. His targets through week 4 were 1, 4, 9, and 8. He looked excellent and they have figured out how to use him. I think if you drafted him and were able to hold on, then you can probably start playing him on a weekly basis.
Quarterback: Ryan Fitztragic. Ryan Fitzmagic. Who knows? I’m not going to rely on him. Not until the Jets call less predictable plays. There was a lot of nearly identical routes with Marshall facing Sherman with some safety help. They tried several back shoulder throws to Marshall, and some of them were picked off. When you face Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, you can’t afford to be that predictable. Fitzpatrick has a bit of Favre in him. He can zing the ball in there but he will make bad decisions. It’s not all on him though. The coaching staff called very predictable plays to Marshall. Fitzpatrick also seemed to have consistent pressure in his face, and he is not very good at protecting himself as a runner. Two of his interceptions were great plays by Richard Sherman, and the third was a nice read by Earl Thomas. As with Cam, I think the hits wore him down as the game went on.
Running Back: I am seriously concerned about Matt Forte. It was widely publicized that he was losing touches to Bilal Powell. RotoWorld is currently reporting he is banged up with a knee and rib issue. He just looked to be straining himself on every play. I did not notice him being absent from the game for any extended period of time, and he did not appear to be favoring one leg over the other. He really just looked gassed. I have had sore ribs before, and doing anything physical was really difficult. So I could definitely see that causing him some issues. I don’t think you can sell him now unless you’re willing to sell low. He’s a flex RB for me going forward.
Powell, on the other hand, looked great. He has quickness, acceleration, speed, and power. The word slashing comes to mind with how hard he jump-cuts. There was one play that Powell juked one defender, and then he stiff-armed Richard Sherman to gain a couple more yards. He did alright in pass protection as well. I really don’t know how the workload will be split moving forward, but the past two weeks have been a near 50/50 split. He’s become flex-worthy in any PPR league for me.
Wide Receiver: Brandon Marshall did really well this game. He looked explosive. He ran several dig and curl routes where he planted hard, and then he came out of his break very well. So well that Sherman kept on going a few more yards. He was not showing ill-effects from his sprained MCL. The plays where he received passes were very predictable. On several occasions Sherman had to have safety help to bring Marshall down. Marshall also lost a long catch down the left sideline to a defensive holding call. Sherman clearly held his arm on the play but he still almost made the catch.
I had heard several professionals in the fantasy industry mention Enunwa was used similar to a tight end. The tape definitely reflected that notion. He played a lot from the slot or lined up as a tight end. He is pretty good as a run blocker. He reminds me of Anquan Boldin. He makes incredibly tough catches while linebackers are delivering big blows. He just keeps bouncing back up. I think he will have a few games where he will catch a touchdown, but he looks like he’s being used as a possession type receiver that they also like as a blocker. I think this will be his floor each week moving forward.
Robby Anderson looks to have become the third WR for the Jets. At least for this game. I was not really impressed with him on film, but simply having the opportunity might be enough to make him fantasy relevant. I wouldn’t look here for anything unless Anderson improves and remains consistent.
Tight End: See the section above about Enunwa. They did pick up Austin Sefarian-Jenkins. Perhaps getting cut will force him to get his life together. He is physically gifted, but he is missing something between the ears. If he plays to his potential here I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes the third target in the offense. He’s not worth picking up until we see him on the field in a meaningful role.