Percy Harvin Will Reward Patient Fantasy Football Owners Who Stashed Him Away
Patience is a virtue, even in fantasy football.
As reported by CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, Harvin is expected to practice fully for the first time in 2013 this week. There's a chance he could see the field in Week 8 on the road against the St. Louis Rams.
Harvin owners: Now is a good time to leap for joy.
Everyone else: Now is a good time to panic.
It's been a whirlwind calendar year for the former Florida star; he sprained his ankle in Week 10 of the 2012 campaign as a member of the Minnesota Vikings—ironically in a game against Seattle. He missed the remainder of the season.
Minnesota became disenchanted with Harvin's illness troubles and injury concerns and decided to trade him to Seattle in March. The Seahawks surrendered their first and seventh-round picks in the 2013 NFL draft and a third-round pick in 2014 to complete the deal.
The 5'11", 200-pound speedster then signed a six-year, $67 million contract extension with Seattle, making him one of the league's highest paid receivers and heightening the need for him to produce for Russell Wilson and the offense.
A hip injury derailed those expectations.
He underwent surgery in August to repair a partially torn labrum; the recovery time for that kind of injury, per this piece from USA Today's Tom Pelissero, is 12-16 weeks. That put the median time frame for Harvin's return right around the middle of November.
But the 25-year-old star has progressed better than expected over the past few months, and that has led Seattle team doctors and officials to put him in a practice situation to better gauge his progress in terms of being readily available for Sunday.
We've already established that owners who finagled their rosters to include Harvin either on their injured reserve list or bench will be rewarded for that decision.
It might be redundant, but ESPN's Matthew Berry posted this tweet earlier in the week to remind those in leagues where Harvin is still available that pulling the trigger on adding him would be a smart move:
Harvin 80% avail. Must add MT @AdamSchefter WR Percy Harvin both returned to practice today. Seahawks have three weeks to activate Harvin.— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) October 21, 2013
CBS Sports also discussed Harvin's potential return:
Is it time to add Percy Harvin to your team? Fantasy Football Today explores his recovery. Watch online: http://t.co/9Ht2TMSSia— CBSSports.com (@CBSSports) October 17, 2013
Despite only playing in nine games in 2012, Harvin managed to record more fantasy points in ESPN standard leagues than Antonio Brown, Nate Washington, Dwayne Bowe and Pierre Garcon. Heading into Minnesota's clash with Seattle, Harvin was on pace for 196 points—a figure that would have placed him behind only Dez Bryant, Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall in total fantasy output.
Seattle hasn't been a juggernaut on offense so far this year, but it is currently a top-10 offense in terms of total yards per game—and that's without Harvin.
With Marshawn Lynch guaranteed 20-25 touches per game and Wilson comfortable with Sidney Rice and Golden Tate as his outside receivers, it will be exciting to see how Pete Carroll and Co. use Harvin in the flow of the current setup.
In four previous NFL seasons, Harvin has never caught fewer than 60 passes and is also a threat in the running game, where he averages 6.4 yards per carry and has four career touchdowns. Harvin is a threat to score from any position on the field.
If he does return to the field in Week 8, it wouldn't be wise to count on him in anything more than a flex role. He might be talented, but we don't really know what to expect in terms of his feel for the game or how Seattle infuses him into the offense.
Should he take the field against the Rams, expect Harvin to be eased back into the offense in the first half but also feel comfortable that Wilson will target him at least a handful of times over the course of the game. After all, it only takes one Harvin touch for something special to happen.
Who will finish the year with the most receptions?
Optimism in Seattle—and among owners who boast Harvin on their roster—has to be high right now. There's a reason the Seahawks gave up three draft picks and shelled out a ton of guaranteed money to get him. He's the kind of player who can single-handedly take over a game.
He can also take over your fantasy roster, if you were patient enough to keep him on your bench through the length of his injury.
Enjoy the spoils of Harvin's return, fantasy owners. For most of you, it's been a long time coming.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant on Twitter.
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