Fantasy Football: Patience Is Key for Big Payoff in Percy Harvin's Return

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystNovember 14, 2013

As we near the fantasy playoffs, every game takes on added importance. Many fantasy squads cannot afford to lose another matchup.

A lot of those same fantasy owners are dealing with mounting injuries. Holes in their rosters have them hard up for help in the starting lineup, and the return of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin to game action could be just what the doctor ordered.

Unfortunately, that prescription isn't going to be any good for a couple of more weeks.

Harvin, who joined the Seahawks in the offseason via a trade with the Minnesota Vikings, was activated on Monday from the physically unable to perform list. With Seattle meeting the Vikings on Sunday, the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Harvin intends to play:

That news has some fantasy owners as excited as Harvin's teammate:

However, this is one of those "patience is a virtue" situations.

Yes, a healthy Harvin is capable of putting up big fantasy numbers. Over the nine games he played in 2012, the fifth-year veteran ranked eighth among all wide receivers in fantasy points per game in leagues that award a point for receptions.

Percy Harvin 2012 Stats
In PPR fantasy football leagues

However, that was a long time ago.

He hasn't played in a game since November 4, 2012—against the Seahawks, of all teams.

He suffered a season-ending ankle injury in that game. After that came the blockbuster trade, then a hip injury, surgery, rehab and finally a return to practice a few weeks ago.

Harvin's rehab hasn't gone smoothly either. In fact, there was a setback less than a month ago.

Part of the reason that Seattle activated Harvin is that it had to. It was either that or place him on injured reserve.

He'll have to shake off a lot of rust even if he does play, and assuming he does go, he will be on a fairly strict snap count.

Is there a chance he'll blow up? Yes. New York Giants running back Andre Brown was supposed to be on a snap count last week in his return from a broken leg. He ended up carrying the ball 30 times, topping 100 yards and finding the end zone.

However, the Seahawks aren't a desperate New York team fighting to keep their season alive. They're a 9-1 football team hosting a two-win Vikings squad.

There shouldn't be any reason to push Harvin, and head coach Pete Carroll has the big picture to consider.

Fantasy owners should consider it too.

Yes, it would sting a bit to see Harvin blow up on the bench this week, but the odds are against it, even against a bad Minnesota secondary. He hasn't scored a fantasy point in more than a year, and counting on a long touchdown to save the day is almost always asking for trouble.

The only thing that fantasy owners should want to see from him this week is a smiling Harvin leaving the field healthy after the game.

The Seahawks have Week 12 off, and starting in Week 13, Harvin could do some damage for fantasy teams.

Seattle Seahawks: Weeks 13-16
WeekOpponentPass D RankFPPG to WR Rank*
13New Orleans Saints3rd23rd
14at San Francisco 49ers9th26th
15at New York Giants11th20th
16Arizona Cardinals20th25th

Granted, the Seahawks' games in Weeks 13 to 16 aren't great from a fantasy standpoint at first glance. However, against the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints, Seattle will likely throw the ball more than usual, and Harvin's unique skill set as a runner helps offset the bad matchups.

The Seahawks will want to get their 24th-ranked passing attack on track in advance of the playoffs, and that means finding ways to get the rock to a healthy Harvin down the stretch.

Besides, he is the equivalent of house money. The fantasy squads who have him and are in playoff contention got there without him.

Harvin isn't the cake. He's the icing—a player with WR1 upside whom many teams will be playing as a third wideout or flex option.

Those sorts of late-season pushes often put fantasy teams over the top.

Now it's just a matter of waiting a little longer to get that push.


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