Fantasy football: Why Russell Wilson could quit as QB1

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In one of the biggest trades in NFL history, the Denver Broncos bought Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks for a pack of players and draft picks. He will be the first quarterback to start for a team he defeated in the Super Bowl. Denver now has the quarterback it has been looking for ever since Peyton Manning retired in 2015. In the following years, the Broncos have used 11 different starting quarterbacks, the most in the NFL during that time.

In Denver, the sky is the limit for Wilson. This could very well be the best statistical season of his career thanks to Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and a host of other offensive playmakers. But before I outline a picture of what the upcoming season might look like for Wilson and the Broncos, it’s important to review his career so far.

What exactly can Wilson accomplish beyond what he has already accomplished in his historic first 10 seasons? Wilson has been selected to nine Pro Bowls through 10 seasons, more than either Peyton Manning (eight) and Johnny Unitas (eight). After 10 seasons, he has thrown 292 TD passes in his career, second most all time after Peyton Manning (306) and one more than third place Dan Marino. Wilson has averaged 19.9 fantasy points per game. struggle during his career.

That said, Wilson is still a bit of a rough diamond who has made progress in an environment that is not conducive to success. Here’s why. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks have always been in love with a run-first offense. Despite having an average to below average pass rate for most of his career, Wilson thrived. During six of his 10 seasons with the Seahawks, the team was ranked in the top six of league percentage points. During Wilson’s tenure, the Seahawks ran on 46.4% of their snaps. Only Baltimore Ravens ran more often.

Since 2016, the Broncos have battled as quarterbacks, while Wilson finished eighth in finishes (1,956), sixth in passing yards (23,085) and third in touchdowns (186) for a Seattle offense that was 31st in total passing attempts (3,124) in the time. frame. That said, we need to discuss the elephant in space that was Wilson’s 2021 season.

The Seahawks brought in a new offensive coordinator, Shane Waldron, and for the first time since his rookie season, Wilson finished outside the top 12 in fantasy points per game. match. In fairness, Wilson missed three starts with a finger injury, which certainly did not help as the quarterback made a career-low in passing yards (3,113). So in addition to all the coaching problems, health was clearly a big factor in Wilson’s minor season, based on his numbers both before and after the injury.

From weeks 1-5, Wilson averaged 9.6 yards per game. trials with a completion rate of 72%. After his return from injury in Week 9 to the end of the season, Wilson’s numbers dropped markedly to 6.97 yards per game. trials and a completion rate of 61%. For the entire campaign, he averaged only 28.5 passing attempts, 222.4 passing yards and 17.7 fantasy points per game. match. This was a significant drop from his 2016-20 average of 32.5 passing attempts, 249.7 passing yards and 20.6 fantasy points.

Surprisingly, the Seahawks showed us a brief glimpse of what we could see with Wilson at the Broncos. During the 2020 season, Wilson threw 26 touchdowns and just six interceptions in the first eight weeks. Wilson had collected 206.0 fantasy points. Only Patrick Mahomes accumulated more (207.1). Wilson was an early MVP candidate, but the Seattle offensive struggled in the second half of the campaign. As a result, Wilson threw seven interceptions and just 14 TD passes in Week 9-17.

In Denver, Wilson has the offensive players to succeed. Sutton and Jeudy will both benefit under him, and he will have enough secondary support from Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler to push him beyond 4,100 passing yards and 30 touchdowns. Patrick and Sutton are particularly exciting because they are huge recipients with large catch radii, which will complement Wilson’s career completion of 65%. The Broncos are filled with young playmakers who have all shown glimpses in the league but were held back by subpar quarterback play and conservative playcalling. Denver will not face this problem in 2022 with Wilson as quarterback.

The Broncos’ offensive line may not include any superstars, but overall, it may be the best team Wilson has played at the back of his career. In Seattle, Wilson’s protection was almost always subpaired (361 sacks from 2013-2020, with 41 sacks in 2016). Despite the protection issues, Wilson was very good at escaping pressure and making plays. Even just a small improvement in the protection and prevention of pressure behind the Broncos’ offensive line should bode well for Wilson.

There are many high-scoring offenses in AFC West, so Wilson should have ample opportunity to pass. Last season, both the Kansas City Chiefs (407.6) and the Los Angeles Chargers (390.2) were ranked in the top five in the division for total yards per game. However, due to the addition of Davante Adams in the offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders are expected to improve offensively. The Broncos and Wilson should be involved in many high-scoring games.

In addition, Wilson finally has a coaching staff that believes in him. New coach Nathaniel Hackett and offensive coordinator Justin Outten build their offensive around Wilson’s strengths, which include his athleticism and ability to threaten defense vertically. Since 2016, Wilson first ranks in passing attempts, finishes, passing yards and touchdowns on passes over 20 airyards, according to Next Gen Stats.

Wilson is still only 33 years old and is able to create fantasy points not only as a fit but also as a runner. He has finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback several times, including a QB1 overall finish in 2017. Wilson could do it again in 2022. Instead of drawing Mahomes, Josh Allen or Justin Herbert early in fantasy football drafts, consider wait and choose Wilson. It should be a selection that far exceeds the expectations of his current average draft pose.

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