Fantasy Football: Is Russell Wilson Is the Best Quarterback Outside of the Elite Tier?
One of the most consistent and dominant quarterbacks over the last decade is Russell Wilson.
In fantasy football and in real life, Wilson is just as elite as they come. Since being drafted in 2012, Wilson has finished in the top four among quarterbacks in fantasy football in five different seasons, and he's never been worse than the QB11.
In 2019, Wilson went over the 4,000-yard mark for the fourth time and tossed at least 30 touchdowns for the third time in his eight-year career. He's one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history, winning a Super Bowl by the age of 27 and holding the NFL record for most wins through his first seven seasons (75).
But with quarterback a deep position this year in fantasy football, should you make it a priority to grab Wilson in your draft?
Not only does Wilson offer big-time fantasy upside, he has a great ceiling, too. He's finished outside the top 10 at the position only once in eight years -- and it was a QB11 season -- which is also as many times as he's been the overall QB1.
His consistently good fantasy production is a sight to behold.
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Wilson showed no signs of slowing down last season. With a clean pocket, there wasn't anyone better through the air. In the split, Wilson completed an NFL-best 81.5% of his passes and posted a 110.9 true passer rating overall that ranked fourth overall. He had his play-action game in dazzling form, too, completing 67.4% (12th) of his play-action passes.
Wilson also produces fantasy goodness as a runner, which is a big boost to his fantasy output. A magician in the pocket, Wilson can take off and create on his own if need be, and he had to often in 2019 due to Seattle having the league's 28th-ranked protection rate, per Player Profiler. While his ground game may be declining over the past two years, Wilson still carried the ball 75 times last season (fifth-most) and 67 (seventh-most) in 2018, averaging at least 4.2 carries per game in each campaign.
Wilson has posted a terrific 8.8 adjusted yards per attempt over the past two seasons, and he has thrown 75 or more deep balls in both seasons, ranking third and fourth.
A mobile quarterback who chucks it deep is darn near the perfect recipe for fantasy football.
Oh, and Wilson hasn't missed a game in his entire eight-year career. And there have been reports out of Seattle that have coach Pete Carroll saying the 31-year-old Wilson is "the best I've ever seen."
There's nothing to dislike here. Nothing.
Wilson's 2020 Projections
We project Wilson to record 4,020 passing yards, 31 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions on 344 completions and 527 attempts. He's also projected to rush for 370 yards and 2 scores, making him our model's QB4.
The only quarterbacks who rank ahead of Wilson are Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Dak Prescott. Mahomes and Jackson are rightfully in their own tier, but Dak and Wilson are very close in projected points (322 to 315).
Where to Draft Him?
So Wilson is great at football -- we all know that.
But does that mean you need him on your fantasy team? That's a little more complicated.
Per ADP data from BestBall10's July drafts, Wilson is currently going 78th overall. He's in a four-man Tier 2 at the position alongside Prescott, Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray -- all of whom are going between pick 70 and 80. While our model has Wilson as the QB4, he's the QB5 by ADP, trailing both Prescott and Murray and only narrowly in front of Watson.
Our model has all four of these guys being good values, so this tier looks like the ideal spot to grab a quarterback, as these signal callers offer difference-making weekly upside at a reasonable cost. Wilson, Prescott and Watson stand out by our FireFactor metric. All three rank between 41st and 53rd overall, per FireFactor, and are coming off the board 20-plus picks later.
We're splitting hairs with the four guys in this tier, and while Dak -- who received a CeeDee Lamb gift this offseason -- probably should be the QB3 given his pristine situation in Dallas, Wilson has the best combination of weekly floor and upside among this tier outside of Prescott. Wilson is a nice value at his current price.