In fantasy circles, just hearing Russell Wilson's name invokes yawns and droopy eyes.
Few quarterbacks have enjoyed the kind of real-life success in their first two seasons as the 25-year-old, but from a fantasy perspective, he is already regarded as a safe, boring option with limited upside.
The main culprit is his offense.
Volume often breeds fantasy success, and Wilson gets none of the former. The Seattle Seahawks, one of the most run-heavy teams in the league, have finished first and second in the NFL in rushing attempts each of the past two years.
Last season, Wilson attempted 407 passes. That was least among quarterbacks who started at least 12 games.
And it's not going to change anytime soon. When asked about altering the playbook and opening up the passing game a little bit, Pete Carroll was adamant about his intended refusal to do so, via The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta:
Gosh, we don’t want to do that. Why would we want to do that? We’re just going to keep growing. We’re not changing anything. We’re just playing ball the way we play. We’ll always play to the strengths and uniqueness of our players and hopefully as the guys develop, you learn more.
Add it all up, and Wilson is being drafted 15th among quarterbacks—a late 10th-round pick in 12-team leagues, according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com.
That, right there, is tremendous value.
He may be boring, but that's only because he is consistently very good. Check out Wilson's stats through his first two years in the league (fantasy points and rankings are courtesy of NFL.com's standard scoring system):
|Season||Completion %||Pass Yards||Pass TDs||Rushing Yards||Rushing TDs||Fantasy Points||Fantasy Rank (QBs)|
Essentially, what you've seen so far is his floor. He has thrown for just 202.3 yards per game, yet because he is so ridiculously efficient—his 8.5 adjusted yards per attempt were sixth in the NFL last year—and because he makes plays with his legs, he has remained a top-10 fantasy quarterback.
And despite the perception, there is plenty of room to grow.
A healthy Percy Harvin, the addition of lightning-fast rookie Paul Richardson and an improved offensive line (it can't get much more worse than last year) will all benefit Wilson, who is still improving.
As NFL Philosophy noted, he was a game manager for much of his rookie year:
People are mentioning Russell Wilson as starting early. He was initially a tool in their offense, not a weapon. Asked little of him in yr 1— NFL Philosophy (@NFLosophy) August 9, 2014
The volume and team situation will always serve as a cap on his fantasy value, but this will be just his third season. He's going to get better. Considering what he's already done, that's a scary thought.
Ultimately, you're getting a player who has the floor of a top-12 QB and the ceiling of a top-seven QB—and you're getting it for a QB15 price.