After missing an entire season but holding a warehouse of football talent, where should you draft Percy Harvin in 2014?
Check out our previous What To Do/Where to Draft articles on:
Josh Gordon: First and Second Chapters
Where do you draft a player who is an impact guy when he’s on the field but you don’t know from week to week that he’ll be there? That’s the trouble around Percy Harvin, the uber-talented former Gator who was traded to the Seattle Seahawks last season, missed virtually the whole regular season but then touched the ball four times in the Super Bowl, gained 137 yards and scored twice?
It’s clear that the Seahawks are going to try to get him the ball whenever possible, but how many times will that be given his availability issues and where is a good place to draft him?
Percy Harvin’s ADP, per Fantasy Football Calculator, in 12-team PPR leagues, is 4.09 and the 21st wide receiver off the board. This puts Harvin in the same receiving cul-de-sac as Emmanuel Sanders, Michael Crabtree and Julian Edelman. Interestingly, Harvin’s ADP is almost the same in standard leagues, which is surprising in that Harvin has perceived additional value in the volume of catches around the line of scrimmage than just straight yardage/touchdown leagues.
Perhaps it’s that players are believing in Seattle’s ability to score points and their interest in getting Harvin involved, as in the Super Bowl. But is that belief warranted and how much will that translate to fantasy points in 2014?
One thing to realize when looking at the values of all the Seahawks, such as Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson and the cadre of solid, if not spectacular, wide receivers, is that Pete Carroll’s Seahawks teams are not high plays per game teams. Looking at the volume (or lack of) plays per game and the passing attempts therein, thanks to Pro Football Focus, we can see a consistent trend.
2010: 64 plays per game, 64% passing
2011: 64.25 plays per game, 58.5% passing
2012: 65.25 plays per game, 53% passing
2013: 65.31 plays per game, 55.6% passing
If you’re looking at this and thinking, hmmmm, doesn’t seem to be a lot of passes, you are correct. The trend here is real and the result is that Russell Wilson is not going to be attempting a lot of passes this season and given the amount of talent there in Seattle, one player getting an elite amount of targets will be hard to come by.
Looking further into the PFF database, let’s look at the leader in targets for the Seahawks over the same period of time.
2010: Mike Williams, 106
2011: Doug Baldwin, 85
2012: Sidney Rice, 75
2013: Golden Tate, 93
So, given this, even if Harvin’s achieves:
a. Total health
b. 100 Targets
c. 67% catch rate
…He’ll be on track for 67 catches, which at an average yards per catch of 12.0, would be 804 yards. That’s IF Harvin plays a full season, which he has done one time in his five year career. Even at Florida, Harvin was known for leaving the field or being questionable before gametime, leaving fans to mark him with the unofficial name of “Fragile Percy”.
Looking for a true numbers of games for Harvin is as reliable as looking deep into a Magic 8-ball. Shake it a few times and you’re as likely to be right as any educated guess. So what’s a reasonable assumption that we can live with as we look to nail down Harvin’s value and where we should take him in drafts?
Even with his reputation at Florida and the uncertainty regarding whether he would play, he did end up getting on the field almost all of the time. His availability in-game was sometimes limited, but he was there. This carried over to the Vikings, except for his last season there in 2012, where he missed half the season.
Migraine headaches have long plagued Harvin, but has been clean from those for a few years and missed last season from hip surgery, the recovery of which has not been an issue this preseason. So, if we are to assume that Harvin is back from his 2013 injury and that the migraine issues are a part of the way-past, then it’s just the wear and tear of the regular season against Harvin’s 5-11, 200 pound frame that could cause any concern. Even with this, there should only be a minor game deduction for Harvin given the facts right now, and a 15 game projection seems reasonable here.
So, given our above assumptions, Harvin should be good for 63 catches for 754 yards. His receiving TD rate, historically has been around 0.37 per game, which would be 5.55 here. He was used by Urban Meyer at Florida as a rusher a considerable amount of the time, and he average two per game as a Viking. Seattle showed in the Super Bowl that they were eager to use Percy’s skills as a rusher to beat the over-focus on Marshawn Lynch, so it would seem logical to project rushes for Harvin in Seattle.
Taking his two per game average as a pro, that works out to 30 carries in his 15 games and with his career average of 6 ypc, that would be an additional 180 yards for Harvin. Rushing TD rates for wide receivers can vary, but Harvin has over 100 career carries and four touchdowns, so an additional TD can be factored in there. Harvin also averages a TD per season in the return game, so it’s fair to factor one for that facet of his considerable game as well.
This brings Harvin to a 7.5 TD projection which, when added to his rushing/receiving numbers, gives us the following projection:
934 rushing/receiving yards
All of which puts Harvin, in a PPR scoring format, on 201.4 points for the season, landing him, when factoring in a Replacement WR for the missing week, at WR30 territory.
Comparing this projection to Harvin’s current ADP tells us that Harvin is overvalued a bit throughout the industry. This could be because people are overlooking the low pace Seattle runs, overvaluing Harvin’s impact in such an offense or devaluing the players that surround him in the ADP.
WR30 would put Harvin squarely in the sixth round in a 12-team league, almost two whole rounds later than he is going now.
There is danger in not looking at all the factors when it comes to a talent like Harvin. There may be visions of 10 catches per game dancing through some players’ heads, but the pace in Seattle and the distribution simply doesn’t portray that as a reasonable possibility. A sixth round grade looks good as a conservative base, and that’s the one with which we’re comfortable moving forward.