Russell Wilson Could Turn the League on Its Head in 2016

Russell Wilson Could Turn the League on Its Head in 2016

Since entering the league, Russell Wilson’s led a charmed career. He was a third rounder, and not even held in the same conversation as Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin. … However, he has done more in four years than his celebrated peers combined: four straight playoff appearances, two Super Bowl trips, and one ring. In fantasy he has also been impressive, finishing as a QB1 all four years of his career, and the overall QB3 in each of the past two seasons. He could have his best season yet in 2016.

Efficiency Stud

Easily the most impressive thing about Wilson is his ridiculous efficiency so far as an NFL passer. Take a look at his efficiency numbers compared to elite NFL quarterback Drew Brees with help from the RotoViz Career Graphs App.

Wilson Brees Efficiency

Brees is the NFL passing yards leader since Wilson entered the league in 2012, and Wilson has matched him tit for tat in terms of efficiency, especially in 2015 where he blew Brees away. The Saints signal caller has obviously attempted more passes, but pass for pass, Wilson is among the best in the league.

Dominant Half-Season

Wilson’s game hit the next level in the second half of 2015. Take a look in the RotoViz Game Splits App.

Wilson Splits 2015

For a half an NFL season, Wilson averaged three touchdown passes and about 280 yards passing per contest. He was averaging a shade over 9 yards per attempt, and had about a 12.5 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio. I don’t think anyone expects him to do that over the course of a full season, but Wilson certainly opened up everyone’s eyes as to just what his potential could be as a real life and fantasy passer.

Efficiency + Volume = Facemelt

While Wilson has never accumulated a ton of pass attempts, it is important to note that he has taken a larger role in the offense every year with Seattle.

YearAttemptsRank
201548317
201445219
201340722
201239325

As I noted before, Wilson’s efficiency hasn’t dropped off at all in the wake of this increased volume. In fact, he posted career highs in yards per attempt and adjusted yards per attempt in 2015, his largest volume season to date. So what kind of passing numbers could he put up in 2016? Let’s take a look at some potential outcomes.

AttemptsYATD %YardsTD
4808.056.1%386429
4808.337.0%399834
4809.0110.0%432548
5008.056.1%402531
5008.337.0%416535
5009.0110.0%450550
5208.056.1%418632
5208.337.0%433236
5209.0110.0%468552
5408.056.1%434733
5408.337.0%449838
5409.0110.0%486554

I put together these outcomes using some historical data from Wilson and projected pass attempt numbers. The first row for each attempt number represents the results based off of Wilson’s career averages. The second row uses his 2015 numbers. The last, facemelting row, is using his second half 2015 splits. This is obviously the least likely outcome, but it shows that Wilson’s upside truly is scary. It is also clear that even a modest increase in attempts will allow for him to put up some really strong passing numbers.

What About the Legs?

You’ll notice that I haven’t spent much time talking about what has consistently made Wilson a fantasy option, even as a rookie: his legs. Take a look at his career rushing numbers.

YearRushYardsTDFP
Average103608378.8
2015103553161.3
20141188496120.9
201396539159.9
201294489472.9

As you can see, Wilson is adding a healthy amount of fantasy value every year on the ground: about five fantasy points per game. That kind of rushing output has allowed Wilson to be a top flight fantasy quarterback without ever cresting 4,100 passing yards and having just one season with over 30 touchdown passes. Imagine what could happen if his passing stats receive a nice bump in 2016.

QB1 at a Discount

Wilson has been going last of the “big four” quarterbacks in both our 10 team and 12 team mock drafts. However, I think a really strong argument could be made for him as the overall fantasy QB1 for 2016. Especially with the loss of Marshawn Lynch this offseason, and the contract extension given to Doug Baldwin, Wilson could have the largest role of his career with Seattle in 2016. When that happens, he will have seemingly endless fantasy upside, and should be a priority for 2QB drafters looking to start their draft with a signal caller.

Anthony Amico

Anthony is a former football coach and possesses two different mathematics degrees. He uses his combined knowledge in those two fields to dominate the fantasy landscape across a variety of formats, including daily fantasy, dynasty, and 2QB. Anthony is currently a contributor for RotoViz, Fantasy Insiders, and TwoQBs, and has a pure passion for the game, both in real life and fantasy. 


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