The ESPN fantasy football analysts -- Matthew Berry, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Christopher Harris and Eric Karabell -- have put together their initial rankings for the 2015 season. Obviously these are subject to change between now and September, but here’s a look at where the Seattle Seahawks stand for now with our fantasy experts:
Here’s the link to the entire NFL list:
Russell Wilson: 3rd among quarterbacks
I’m pleasantly surprised to see Wilson ranks this high considering how often he’s called a "game manager" by some NFL experts. But Wilson is a good fantasy league pick because he makes things happen running and throwing. And he should be even better this season with tight end Jimmy Graham as a target. Only Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay and Andrew Luck of Indianapolis rank higher.
Marshawn Lynch: 5th among running backs
Hmmm? Only fifth. The Beast is a durable TD machine who doesn’t miss games. He’s the only player in the NFL to rush for 1,000 yards and score at least 10 TDs in each of the last four seasons. He leads the league with 56 TDs since 2011, including 48 rushing.
The Rodney Dangerfield duo of the NFL just can’t get any respect, but they don’t produce big fantasy numbers in Seattle’s run-first offense. However, Graham's presence is going to mean better numbers for both players, especially Baldwin, because Baldwin will be open more often with defenses focusing on Graham.
Jimmy Graham: 2nd among tight ends
The sky’s the limit for how good Graham can be in this offense with so many weapons around him. Wilson plays the game in a similar style to Drew Brees, Graham’s QB at New Orleans. But Wilson is a much better runner and can extend plays, which will benefit Graham. Plus, Graham never had a running back like Lynch in his years with the Saints. Load the box to try and stop Lynch and Graham will run free in the secondary.
Defense and special teams: 1st overall.
The Seahawks return 10 starters off last season's dominant defense. They were the first defense in 28 years to lead the league in fewest points allowed and yards allowed in back-to-back seasons. Special teams will be dramatically better this season in the return game with rookie Tyler Lockett, a threat to score every time he touches the ball on a kick or punt.
Steven Hauschka: 3rd among kickers
Only Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots and Adam Vinatieri of the Colts rank ahead of Hauschka. He has earned the nickname, Hausch Money, with his accuracy. He made 23 consecutive field-goal attempts in 2013 and holds the franchise record for most consecutive games (14) with at least one field goal. One other thing: Hauschka shouldn’t have any problems with the new distance on extra points. He is 29 for 29 on kicks between 30-39 yards over the previous three seasons.