Last season, I didn’t want Fantasy players to draft Russell Wilson too early.
In 2014, he rushed for 849 yards and scored six rushing touchdowns. That was a 57% increase in rushing yards from the previous season, and I didn’t think it was realistic for Wilson to finish with those type of numbers in 2015.
His rushing yard total (553) significantly dropped in 2015, but he made up for it by posting 34 touchdown passes. He also completed the most passes (329) in his career, and posted a career-high passing total of 4,024 yards.
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Wilson finished as the third-highest scoring quarterback in most Fantasy Football formats, and he provided a solid ROI as a sixth-round pick.
But does his performance from last season make Russell Wilson worth drafting in 2016 Fantasy Football leagues?
2015 Fantasy Football Review: Russell Wilson
Even though his rushing totals decreased, Cam Newton and Tyrod Taylor were the only quarterbacks to finish with more rushing yards than Wilson.
When you review Wilson’s passing totals, it’s particularly impressive to consider his passing attempts and how many passing yards he finished with in 2015. The 27-year old quarterback only attempted the 18th-most passes, but he finished with the 12th-most passing yards.
But part of Wilson’s strong 2015 campaign was a tale of almost two completely different seasons…
Between Weeks 1-10, Wilson averaged 235 passing yards per game. In comparison, Alex Smith averaged 217 passing yards per game. Wilson also only threw one touchdown pass in every single game during that time frame except for Week 2.
In Week 2, he threw two touchdown passes.
Things turned around, however, in Week 11. From Weeks 11-17, Wilson averaged 272 passing yards and averaged 3 touchdown passes per game.
So if it wasn’t for the strong campaign near the end of the year, Wilson may not have even finished as a top-10 quarterback in 2015.
Russell Wilson 2016 Fantasy Football Weapons
There aren’t a lot of changes in Wilson’s weapons from 2015 to 2016.
Doug Baldwin was one of the biggest benefactors of Wilson’s turnaround. From Weeks 12-16, Baldwin hauled in at least one touchdown in every single game. He was also a PPR beast, averaging 5.8 receptions between Weeks 10-17.
The 27-year old receiver will continue to serve as one of Wilson’s favorite targets in 2016 Fantasy Football league.
Speedster Tyler Lockett (4.40 40-yard dash) showed a lot of promise in his rookie campaign. He contributed as a receiver with 664 receiving yards and six touchdown receptions, and he was also tough to stop on special teams with a total of two touchdowns. If Lockett can continue to develop, he should see more targets as receiver than Jermaine Kearse in 2016.
Jimmy Graham only appeared in 11 games last year, but it was clear his Fantasy value wasn’t the same as it was during his time in New Orleans. Wilson benefits more from Graham being in the lineup than Graham benefits from having Wilson as his quarterback.
Even though he only has one season under his belt, Thomas Rawls is flying off draft boards in Round 2 because of several impressive performances in 2015. But Rawls was never asked to serve as a dual-threat back, with just nine receptions in 13 appearances.
Because he was a former wide receiver, third-round pick C.J. Prosise may carve out a role in his rookie season, providing Wilson with a source for quick dump offs.
Russell Wilson: 2016 Fantasy Football Outlook
Even though Wilson didn’t match his rushing totals from 2014, he was still able to put together a strong season because of increased passing yards and touchdown passes.
Right now, Wilson is being selected at the end of Round 5 in 2016 Fantasy Football drafts. That’s a fair price.
My biggest concern for Wilson, though, is that he has saved his Fantasy seasons the past two years because of outliers.
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) March 19, 2016
As I previously mentioned, Wilson rushed for 849 yards in 2014 and scored six rushing touchdowns. That’s extremely important to keep in mind because he only threw 20 touchdown passes that year. Last season, Wilson only scored one rushing touchdown and finished the year with 553 rushing yards, but he threw 34 touchdown passes and 4,024 yards.
I have to wonder if 2016 will be the year where Wilson doesn’t post career highs in rushing yards or passing yards. Fantasy owners may be left with mediocre totals.
You could do a lot worse than Wilson, but I would wait until Round 6 and draft a quarterback with more upside in terms of touchdown production like Blake Bortles.