And so it begins, as it was written.
Just as we did last week, we’ll be doing plenty of analyzing and forecasting as such things relate to a fresh and exciting batch of playoff games this weekend. We’ll also continue reflecting back on the Wild Card Weekend that was, which started earlier this morning with more lamenting of Mike Shanahan’s asshattery, and our resident betting guru Rob Pizzola has told you how much money you lost. Good times.
But there’s a reality looming that no one can think about right now due to the frenzy of the playoffs: the NFL season is ending in less than a month. Yes, please play your sad harps.
Luckily for us, though, there’s a horrible cliché for February and March: there’s no offseason. Player movement and the inherent hearsay and speculation is nearly as frenzied as the playoffs, and with it comes fantasy implications, and often significant ones.
So that’s why as needed we’ll begin slowly turning our attention towards the silliest season. Which brings this unnecessarily long-winded introduction to…Percy Harvin.
Harvin is pissed off, and he has been for a while. Last summer the Vikings wide receiver reportedly flirted with a trade request, a flirtation he would later deny. Still, it became abundantly obvious that he’s something less than satisfied with his contract situation, and really, can you blame him? He had 967 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 2011 despite dealing with the inconsistencies of rookie quarterback Christian Ponder. He then followed that up with 677 receiving yards at a career high average of 75.2 yards per game this year during an injury-shortened season, and combined over the past two seasons he’s been paid only $1.4 million.
In the real world, that’s enough for a lot of video games and really big pillows. What? I sleep with multiple pillows. Big ones.
But in football land — a desolate place where knee injuries could ruin careers in your rookie season — that’s dollar store value for your best wide receiver. Which is why Harvin — who missed seven games this year with an ankle injury and was put on the injured reserve — has little desire to play under his rookie contract, which is likely why he’s having repeated and heated arguments with head coach Leslie Frazier, which is why there’s been widespread speculation that he may depart through a trade.
Get all that? Good. Now forget it, because Frazier said it’s not happening.
“I don’t see any reason why Percy wouldn’t be back with us. He should be.”
Right now, that’s pure coach-speak. If Harvin truly is that much of a dick and his relationship with Frazier really is that frosty, there’s always a reasonable chance that he’ll be moved if an agreement on a contract extension can’t be reached before he enters the final year of his rookie deal next fall. The problem is the price, as it’s unlikely that Minnesota would accept anything less than a first-round pick for a versatile 24-yard-old receiver.
But the unlikelihood of an event occurring has never stopped us from speculating wildly before. So let’s forecast the top three best possible Harvin destinations for fantasy purposes among the WR-needy teams.
Imaginations are still fun, guys.
1. San Diego Chargers: If there’s ever a chance for Philip Rivers to get back to his 2009-ish form when he was a relevant fantasy option, and he wasn’t chucking into quadruple coverage and throwing +15 interceptions a year, it lies with change, and a wide receiver who can do something…different. Danario Alexander can still be the deep threat, but Harvin has shown the ability to get chunk yardage over the middle through crossing routes.
2. Cincinnati Bengals: Oh man, I just wet something. A.J. Green needs support, and it’s still unclear if that can be provided by Andrew Hawkins, or a healthy Mohamed Sanu.
3. Carolina Panthers: Sure, Steve Smith isn’t declining yet, with his 73 catches this year that he turned into 1,174 yards despite Cam Newton’s early-season struggles. But he’ll celebrate his 34th birthday this offseason, and father time generally isn’t kind to receivers of that vintage. Harvin excelled during his college days with a Tebow fella who’s quite mobile, and Newton has some pretty fast legs which could renew that and lead to creativity, possibly through the installment of read-option plays. Over the past two seasons Harvin’s increasingly been utilized out of the backfield, with 441 rushing yards on 74 carries (6.0 YPC).