Fantasy: Why Russell Wilson could finish as QB1


In one of many largest trades in NFL historical past, the Denver Broncos acquired Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks for a bundle of gamers and draft picks. He’ll turn into the primary quarterback to start out for a staff he defeated within the Tremendous Bowl. Denver now has the quarterback it has sought ever since Peyton Manning retired in 2015. Within the following years, the Broncos have used 11 totally different beginning quarterbacks, tied for probably the most within the NFL over that span.

In Denver, the sky is the restrict for Wilson. This might properly be the perfect statistical season of his profession because of Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and a plethora of different offensive playmakers. Nevertheless, earlier than I sketch an image of what the upcoming season would possibly appear to be for Wilson and the Broncos, it is vital to evaluate his profession to this point.

What precisely can Wilson accomplish past what he already has achieved in his historic first 10 seasons? Wilson has been chosen to 9 Professional Bowls via 10 seasons, greater than both Peyton Manning (eight) and Johnny Unitas (eight). After 10 seasons, he has thrown 292 profession TD passes, second most all time behind Peyton Manning (306) and yet another than the third-place Dan Marino. Wilson has averaged 19.9 fantasy factors per recreation throughout his profession.

That mentioned, Wilson continues to be a little bit of a diamond within the tough who has prospered in an atmosphere that’s not conducive to success. Here is why. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks have at all times been enamored with a run-first offense. Regardless of having an average-to-below-average passing price for many of his profession, Wilson thrived. Throughout six of his 10 seasons with the Seahawks, the staff ranked within the high six of run share within the league. Throughout Wilson’s tenure, the Seahawks ran on 46.4% of their snaps. Solely the Baltimore Ravens ran extra usually.

Since 2016, the Broncos have struggled at quarterback whereas Wilson ranked eighth in completions (1,956), sixth in passing yards (23,085) and third in touchdowns (186) for a Seattle offense that was thirty first in whole passing makes an attempt (3,124) over that timeframe. That mentioned, we have to focus on the elephant within the room that was Wilson’s 2021 season.

The Seahawks introduced in a brand new offensive coordinator, Shane Waldron, and for the primary time since his rookie season, Wilson completed exterior of the highest 12 in fantasy factors per recreation. Now, in equity, Wilson missed three begins with a finger harm, which definitely did not assist issues because the quarterback posted a career-low in passing yards (3,113). So, past any teaching points, well being was clearly an enormous think about Wilson’s subpar season, based mostly on his numbers each earlier than and after the harm.

From Weeks 1-5, Wilson averaged 9.6 yards per try with a 72% completion share. After his return from harm in Week 9 via the tip of the season, Wilson’s numbers dropped considerably to six.97 yards per try and a 61% completion price. For your entire marketing campaign, he averaged solely 28.5 passing makes an attempt, 222.4 passing yards and 17.7 fantasy factors per recreation. This was a large drop from his 2016-20 common of 32.5 passing makes an attempt, 249.7 passing yards and 20.6 fantasy factors.

Surprisingly, the Seahawks did present us a quick glimpse of what we may see with Wilson on the Broncos. Through the 2020 season, Wilson threw 26 touchdowns and simply six interceptions within the first eight weeks. Wilson had gathered 206.0 fantasy factors. Solely Patrick Mahomes gathered extra (207.1). Wilson was an early MVP candidate, however the Seattle offense struggled within the second half of the marketing campaign. In consequence, Wilson threw seven interceptions and solely 14 TD passes in Weeks 9-17.

In Denver, Wilson has the offensive gamers to succeed. Sutton and Jeudy will each profit underneath him, and he could have ample secondary receiving help from Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler to push him past 4,100 passing yards and 30 touchdowns. Patrick and Sutton are notably intriguing as a result of they’re enormous receivers with massive catch radiuses who will complement Wilson’s profession completion price of 65%. The Broncos are loaded with younger playmakers who’ve all proven flashes within the league, however have been held again by subpar quarterback play and conservative playcalling. Denver will not face this difficulty in 2022 with Wilson at quarterback.

The Broncos’ offensive line may not embody any superstars, however as an entire, it may be the perfect group Wilson has performed behind in his profession. In Seattle, Wilson’s safety was virtually at all times subpar (361 sacks from 2013-2020, with 41 sacks in 2016). Regardless of the safety points, Wilson was excellent at escaping stress and making performs. Even only a slight enchancment in safety and stopping stress behind the Broncos offensive line ought to bode properly for Wilson.

There are plenty of high-scoring offenses within the AFC West, so Wilson ought to have ample alternative to move. Final season, each the Kansas City Chiefs (407.6) and Los Angeles Chargers (390.2) ranked within the high 5 within the division for whole yards per recreation. As a result of addition of Davante Adams within the offseason, nevertheless, the Las Vegas Raiders are anticipated to enhance offensively. The Broncos and Wilson must be concerned in lots of high-scoring video games.

Moreover, Wilson lastly has a training workers that believes in him. New Denver coach Nathaniel Hackett and offensive coordinator Justin Outten are constructing their offense round Wilson’s strengths, which embody his athleticism and skill to threaten defenses vertically. Since 2016, Wilson ranks first in passing makes an attempt, completions, passing yards and touchdowns on passes over 20 air yards, in response to Subsequent Gen Stats.

Wilson continues to be solely 33 years previous and is able to creating fantasy factors not solely as a passer, but additionally as a runner. He has completed as a top-five fantasy quarterback a number of occasions, together with a QB1-overall end in 2017. Wilson may try this once more in 2022. Slightly than drafting Mahomes, Josh Allen or Justin Herbert early in fantasy soccer drafts, contemplate ready and choosing Wilson. That must be a range that may properly surpass expectations at his present common draft place.

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