Russell Wilson is my boo, and I don’t care that you think his cooking is just limited. Me, I’m OK getting burned a bit as long as I generally know my way around the kitchen. Reservation for one at Mr. Limited’s Restaurant, please! I made waves in one of my tout best-ball drafts when I took Wilson as the QB2 off the board, behind the esteemed Patrick Mahomes. Why would I take Wilson over Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, or Dak Prescott? For one: diversification. In another tout best-ball league, I had the Bills stack lead by Josh Allen. And second: I landed the Russell Wilson/D.K. Metcalf pair (narrowly missing on Tyler Lockett for the stack), which is a match made in best-ball heaven.
Quick trivia: Who’s the only QB to top 30 passing TDs from 2017-2020? I hope you guessed Russell Wilson, otherwise, I don’t think you read the title of the article. Passing TDs are notoriously hard to predict; when you can find a trend maker, you can snag an advantage.
So, let’s look into Mr. Unlimited, Russell Wilson, and see how he fits into your Underdog best-ball drafts for 2021.
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From a fan standpoint, don’t you think the Seahawks had one of the more disappointing 12-4 records in the 2020 NFL? Their defense was atrocious against the pass, allowing the 2nd most yards in the NFL on the most pass attempts. However, the Seahawks managed to fight the run pretty well and ended up in the middle of the overall NFL defensive rankings. Wilson helmed a team that was healthy for the most part of the 2020 season, although Seahawks Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer received a demotion and now works as a passing game coordinator in Jacksonville. For 2021, the Seahawks bring in Shane Waldron to lead the offense, and Waldron was the passing game coordinator for the Rams when Jared Goff was putting up top 5 and top 10 seasons in passing yardage.
Russell Wilson enters the 2021 season as a 33-year old with every accolade you could want: he’s a 7-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion and a Walter Payton Man of the Year Award-winner. And, for whatever reason, fantasy managers find him boring. Remember back to draft season in 2020 when you watched Russ’ “Cookin” video and you laughed and then started celebrating when you drafted Lamar Jackson in the 3rd round while picking Gardner Minshew as your backup? Yeah, Russell outscored Lamar. Or maybe you did the QB free fall and drafted Tua Tagovailoa and Daniel Jones because somebody told you QBs have enormous point parity? Well, Russ outscored Tua and Danny Dimes combined in 2020.
So, why is Russell Wilson going as QB 6 in Underdog best-ball drafts, around ADP 75? Well, we can’t leave this conversation without talking about Russ’ second-half performance in 2020. From weeks 9-17, Wilson managed only 12 TDs and 1671 passing yards, which is dramatically ho-hum. So you think, “Nah, I’m not going to take a guy who finished that weak on the season.” Yet, Patrick Mahomes — in that same time period — scored 14 more points than Wilson. Sure, Mahomes had fewer games, but you’re here to think about best-ball and not weekly lineups, right? Mahomes would have cost you a 2nd/3rd round pick. Wilson often went around round 6, and you could have easily paired him with somebody like Ryan Tannehill last year. In fact, that’s what I did in the DataForce Charity draft, and won the league against the likes of Sean Koerner, John Paulson, and Jake Ciely.
The Team Rise or Fall Underdog Projections envisions Russell Wilson at QB 8, sandwiched between Justin Herbert and Tom Brady. Of course, point parity between the top 12 QBs is pretty similar, and we’re talking about a small variance in one game (perhaps the coach wants to pass in the red zone versus run the ball due to injury) can allow QBs to jump multiple positions. I’m personally bullish on Russell Wilson in 2021 because he will likely play under a much more pass-friendly Offensive Coordinator than he has in recent years. Brian Schottenheimer was actually a run-oriented coordinator, yet Wilson still posted annual top-6 fantasy QB finishes and maintained his streak of 30+ passing TDs for 4 years (a feat not achieved by any other QB in that period). Shane Waldron managed the passing games on the Rams back when Jared Goff was racking up passing yards. So, the likelihood that Wilson could surpass his projections is very high, especially when we consider the skills of his top receivers, D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
Russell Wilson is an upside-laden value QB1 for your Underdog best-ball team. He enters a new offensive system with a pass-friendly coach and has two of the best receivers in the league. Wilson has a penchant for making reliable pass TDs on a year-in-year-out basis, meaning he has a high fantasy floor and ceiling. At ADP 75 in Underdog best ball drafts and going as the QB6, you can get a real value on Wilson. If you find yourself drafting D.K. Metcalf as your WR1, you must consider pairing him with Wilson, perhaps even at a 1 round premium to your draft cost. If you take Wilson as your QB1, his durability and high point floor allow you to wait on your QB2 until much later in the draft, when you might want to take somebody like Zach Wilson, Sam Darnold, or Trey Lance — a QB who won’t be stellar to start the season, but who could be a dominant force after adjusting to their new surroundings.
Original Image Source: Otto Greule Jr.
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