What is it about Doug Baldwin that fantasy players don’t like? Is it the his style? Is it the offense he plays on? It’s really difficult to comprehend the reasons for his perennial undervaluation by the fantasy community.
But in all fairness, fantasy football is not just about past performance, but also about accurately predicting future performance. And when assessing the state of the Seattle offense in 2018, it’s hard not to really be drawn to Baldwin as a WR1. All the pieces of the “puzzle” seem to be pointing toward him putting together his best statistical season of his career. Let’s take a closer look.
The departures of Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson are monumental. Both of them combined for 176 targets last season. While Baldwin won’t receive all, or likely even half of those, he will certainly be in line to get a much bigger target share than ever before.
Breaking it down even further, Russell Wilson led the league in touchdown passes last year (34). Graham caught ten touchdowns, while Richardson had six of his own. Baldwin is a great bet to add to his eight TDs from a season ago. He has already shown the ability to reach paydirt in bunches, evident through his 2015 campaign when he caught a career high 14 touchdown passes, and playing with a much better defense.
Speaking of that defense, the Seahawks have lost so many member of their once vaunted D. Some of these players include Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Cliff Avril, and Michael Bennett. In all honesty, this defense played poorly last season as well, which is directly correlated to the uptick in passing statistics for quarterback Russell Wilson. A worse defense often leads to negative game script, causing the team to throw more while playing from behind.
Baldwin has been a model of consistency the last few years. He was just shy of his third consecutive 1,000 yard season last season, despite having so many more mouths to feed on the offense.
Ultimately, I expect him to break out (again) in a big way this year. If I had to project his output, I could see him exceeding 1,200 receiving yards, to go along with at least 12 touchdowns. In all honesty, this could easily prove to be a conservative estimate.