This is How the Percy Harvin Trade Shakes Up Fantasy Values
So the NFL has done it to us again.
A day after the Jets and Patriots squared off to start Week 7, the losing team from that matchup trades for the Seahawks' most talented WR. The fact that Percy Harvin only brought back a conditional draft pick in trade pointed to non-football issues in Seattle. Sure enough, Twitter has buzzed since the deal with reports of Harvin seeming a little jerky for the Seahawks.
But we don't care much about his attitude. We're only interested in the fantasy impact of his trade.
Harvin endured a disappointing start in Seattle this season, catching just 22 balls. That averages out to 4.4 over his 5 games, a mark he actually only reached twice (weeks 1 and 3). And despite 3 penalty-negated TDs at Washington, Harvin arrives to the Jets without a regular-season TD since October 2012.
So what should we expect from him and all the other fantasy prospects on each side? Let's go through it ...
Geno Smith, QB, Jets
Smith stands as the most obvious winner in the Harvin deal. He adds arguably 1 of the league's top playmakers, a slot WR who can turn a short completion into a TD anytime.
As of this writing, Smith sits 22nd among fantasy QBs, thanks in large part to a rotten half-outing against the Chargers in Week 5. But he had better outings the past 2 weeks and finished among the top 13 fantasy QBs back in Week 2 and Week 3.
Smith won't morph into a regular fantasy starter all of the sudden, but he could become a matchup option with more talent around him.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks
Lynch enters Week 7 on pace for a relatively low 252 carries. Chalk that up to inconsistent usage on a team struggling a bit with its identity.
Lynch has carried 17+ times in 3 of 5 games, including 2 weeks of 20+. But he has also put up weeks of 6 and 10 carries. Look for Seattle to go to him more consistently now that it sports a WR corps led by Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse.
Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and others, WRs, Seahawks
Baldwin finished last season as the #37 WR in non-PPR formats, #41 in PPR. Now he's the only Seattle wideout who has reached 20 targets this season.
Baldwin stands as easily the most proven receiver remaining for Russell Wilson, who ranks 9th in the league in completion rate so far. Baldwin becomes a #1 WR (for his team) by default, which could well push him into WR3 range the rest of the way. His performance last year came with Golden Tate still around.
Kearse and Ricardo Lockette stand as the only Seattle WRs to score TDs this season. Kearse's 11 total catches don't make him an immediate option for anyone in fantasy. But he's the Seahawks' new #2, and the team has no explosive receiving option in the backfield and hasn't showed any desire to feature its TEs.
Lockette's the only Seahawk besides Lynch who has scored more than 1 receiving TD so far. But he has done so on just 4 catches. Look for him to remain only a sporadic deep threat -- though maybe a bit less sporadic now than before.
Rookie's Paul Richardson (1 catch, 1 target) and Kevin
Norwood have yet to make an impact but could now become factors. Richardson --
a speed guy -- is worth a pickup in deep leagues.
So, the guy goes from a run-heavy offense with a good QB to a run-heavy offense with a bad QB. Russell Wilson sports a career 64% completion rate and nearly 3:1 TD:INT ratio in the NFL. Smith, meanwhile, has completed 56.3% of his throws to date, with 19 TDs and 28 INTs. Even his 6.6 yards per attempt fall 1.3 short of Wilson's career mark, which has come down this season.
Seattle has proved slightly more run heavy this season, rushing on 48.3% of its offensive plays (5th in the league). The Jets have run on 43.6%, though, to rank 10th so far. And that includes a pair of games in which Smith attempted 43 passes. His coaches would probably like to not see that happen again.
Harvin drew 20% of the targets in Seattle through 5 games, which he could certainly get to with the Jets. But New York signed Eric Decker for big money this offseason and isn't going to marginalize him. There's certainly room for both in the lineup, with Decker a pure outside guy and Harvin an ideal slot fit. But how many targets are available?
Harvin hadn't done much with the Seahawks yet this year, but a breakthrough to some degree seemed likely given the combined talent between him and Wilson. The new situation sports a lot less upside.
It's also worth noting that Harvin was on pace for 35 carries in Seattle. Can he expect that much rushing work with Chris Ivory and Chris johnson around? We'll see.
Jace Amaro, TE, Jets
Amaro blew up for 12 targets in Week 6 and seemed to be affixing himself to the center of the Jets' passing game. His 5 targets and 3 catches against the Patriots on Thursday night reminded us all of the inherent inconsistency to his situation, but now his team has a more experienced, more explosive, higher-paid short-range option.
The Jets staff is all coaching for jobs and thus has obvious
incentive to work Harvin in as quickly as possible. Getting him much of the
short stuff that might have gone to Amaro before seems an easy place to start.
Eric Decker, WR, Jets
A big part of Decker's fantasy-starter appeal rested on his necessary target volume. Who else did the Jets have?
Well, now they have Percy Harvin. Will that force some coverages away from Decker? Maybe. But the guy wasn't exactly drawing DB crowds to this point anyway.
The Jets are at their best when running as much as possible, which limits the passing volume. And Geno Smith isn't good enough to support multiple WRs in fantasy regardless of the passing volume. Decker looks like a WR4 with upside just to the WR3 level.
Jeremy Kerley, WR, Jets
You probably weren't excited about this guy in the 1st place, but he currently leads the team with 45 targets. Look for that to change -- drastically -- now that his team added 1 of the best slot men in the game.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
This one's tentative and qualified.
A few days ago, we could see upside for Wilson further up the QB rankings in fantasy once the team got Percy Harvin going. Now that's obviously not going to happen -- at least in Seattle.
But Wilson currently sits 9th in fantasy points per game at his position despite Harvin topping 4 catches in just 2 of 5 games and failing to score a TD (that held up).
Wilson remains an efficient passer and effective runner who should finish somewhere in that blurred line between QB1 and QB2 territory.