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The Nuclear Fantasy Fallout of Percy Harvin to Seattle

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin

Don your radiation suits. It may be the only way to protect yourself against the fantasy community’s reaction to Percy Harvin’s transfer to the Great Northwest, where he’ll catch passes from and eventually complain about Russell Wilson.

Beyond being a malignant locker room tumor and a diva no longer in training, Harvin is an exceedingly talented, multifunctional, tough-as-nails football player who would be a wicked weapon on any NFL team.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin celebrates his touchdown during the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at the Metrodome. Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

You know how I know that? Because he ranked third in yards after the catch last season, in nine games. You read that right: Harvin, despite missing seven games, finished third in YAC. That absurd number is directly related to the deficiencies of his signal caller, Christian Ponder, who very well may be a bottom-seven starting quarterback.

Ponder either couldn’t throw downfield, or wasn’t allowed to chuck it deep and over the middle because of occasionally woeful inaccuracy and subpar arm strength. None of that impacted Harvin, who was the third highest scoring fantasy wide receiver through eight weeks, trailing only Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green. Harvin averaged an absolutely ludicrous .43 fantasy points per snap—per SNAP—in those first eight weeks of 2012, according to Pro Football Focus.

In Seattle, with a brutally efficient and accurate quarterback, I can’t imagine Harvin failing to post these same – if not better – numbers. I’d draft him over anyone but Megatron, Green, Demaryius Thomas, and maybe Brandon Marshall. Maybe. In points per reception leagues, Harvin is a locked-in top-three receiver.

And lest we forget: The Seahawks dabbled in the read-option late in the 2012 season, using it sparingly and effectively thanks to the threat of a running quarterback. Harvin fits the read-option perhaps better than any receiver in the league. He’s willing to bulldoze tacklers, juke them out of their cleats, or simply get to the corner before they do.

RotoViz’s Similarity Score app, which uses prior year statistics to project what a player’s 2013 might look like in an historical context, has Harvin posting numbers similar to Wes Welker in 2008 (Three touchdowns on 111 receptions for 1,165 yards). I’m not saying these numbers are Harvin’s fantasy baseline for 2013, but it wouldn’t take much to convince me that he could top the overall yardage (including rushing) and triple the touchdowns.

Welker’s 2008 is, quite amazingly, on the “fantasy floor” side of RotoViz’s 2013 Harvin projections, after all. On the “fantasy ceiling” side? Torrey Holt’s 2003 season, when he posted 117 grabs for almost 1,700 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Hold me. I’m scared.

There shouldn’t be any question that the Seahawks’ offensive staff will use Harvin, and use him a ton, in 2013.

Seattle head coach Pete Carroll, before his Seahawks played the Vikings in Week 9, fawned over Harvin’s versatility.

“He’s so good you’ve just got to showcase him,” Carroll said in an interview with the Pioneer Press. “He’s a fantastic player. He was arguably the best player in America coming out of school. So the fact that he’s playing with all the top guys and his numbers are on top of the league, that’s fitting.”

A side note for those who charge that the Seahawks have lassoed an injury-plagued pass catcher: Harvin missed a grand total of three games in his first three years as a pro. He’s not injury prone. Not even close.

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