Monday, August 15, 2022

2022 Seahawks Fantasy Football Preview: They’re going to miss Russell Wilson … a lot

The Seahawks tried to make it work one last time with Russell Wilson, but he struggled with injuries and a midseason swoon and was ultimately shipped to Denver in the offseason. That leaves Drew Lock as potentially the starting quarterback for a team that often seems stuck in the past with their game plans. It could get ugly.       

2021 Review

Record: 7-10 (22)

PPG: 23.2 (16)

YPG: 323.9 (20)

Pass YPG: 201.9 (23)

Rush YPG: 122.0 (11)

PAPG: 29.1 (31)

RAPG: 24.3 (27)

2020 Fantasy finishes

QB: Russell Wilson* QB20

RB: Rashaad Penny RB42

WR: DK Metcalf WR15, Tyler Lockett WR16

TE: Gerald Everett* TE20

*No longer with team

Number to know: 954 

That’s how many plays the Seahawks ran on offense last season, 52 fewer than the next lowest number in the league. It comes out to around seven plays fewer per game than the average offense ran, despite the fact that they actually ranked ninth in yards per play and had the third-lowest turnover rate in the league. Which is to say, they weren’t just going three-and-out constantly or turning the ball over constantly, but they just played at a snail’s pace and couldn’t get opposing offenses off the field. 

And, of course, they’re going to see a significant downgrade at quarterback, whether it’s Geno Smith or Lock taking over. I’m operating under the assumption that it will be Lock who wins out, under the (potentially mistaken!) assumption that he brings more upside to the table. Lock checks a lot of the boxes NFL teams look for, but he’s consistently struggled in his opportunities so far, posting a bad-throw rate over 22% over the past two seasons, one of the four worst marks in the league, per Pro-Football-Reference.com.

DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett will do their best to make Lock’s life easier, and Metcalf actually played quite well in the four games when Smith played significant snaps, scoring five touchdowns with 295 yards on just 23 targets over those four games. Still, the level of QB play figures to take a significant step back, and combined with the slow pace of play and run-heavy approach, things figure to be pretty tough for Metcalf and Lockett. 

2021 Offseason

Draft Picks 

1. (9) Charles Cross, OL

2. (40) Boye Mafe, DE

2. (41) Kenneth Walker, RB

3. (72) Abraham Lucas, OL

4. (109) Coby Bryant, CB

5. (153) Tariq Woolen, CB

5. (158) Tyreke Smith, DE

7. (229) Bo Melton, WR

7. (233) Dareke Young, WR

Additions

QB Drew Lock, DL Shelby Harris, TE Noah Fant, DE Uchenna Nwosu, DL Quinton Jefferson, OL Austin Blythe

Key Departures

QB Russell Wilson, CB D.J. Reed, OL Duan Brown, LB Bobby Wagner, TE Gerald Everett, OL Jamarco Jones

Available Opportunity 

119 carries, 10 RB targets, 1 WR targets, 63 TE targets 

2022 Preview

Rankings

Chris Towers’ projections

Drew Lock PA: 524, YD: 3513, TD: 21, INT: 9; RUSH — ATT: 43, YD: 192, TD: 1
Rashaad Penny CAR: 141, YD: 592, TD: 5, TAR: 42, REC: 34, YD: 252, TD: 1
Kenneth Walker III CAR: 128, YD: 538, TD: 4, TAR: 26, REC: 21, YD: 157, TD: 1
D.K. Metcalf TAR: 128, REC: 77, YD: 1000, TD: 6
Tyler Lockett TAR: 110, REC: 77, YD: 870, TD: 5
Freddie Swain TAR: 52, REC: 35, YD: 360, TD: 2
Noah Fant TAR: 79, REC: 55, YD: 578, TD: 4

Biggest Question

Is this the worst offense in football?

Seattle ranked 16th in scoring last season while getting 14 games from Russell Wilson, and while he has his own limitations, he’s been one of the most efficient passers in NFL history. Drew Lock … has not. I’m legitimately worried that Lock could drag Metcalf and Lockett down to the point where they are barely start-able. In fact, there may not be a must-start Fantasy option on this team, especially with their conservative coaching philosophy.

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One sleeper, one breakout and one bust

Even when he was at his best with Wilson, Lockett was often a frustrating Fantasy player to roster, so I’m not surprised to see his value fall off so far. But I think that just makes him a better target with an ADP around 90th overall as WR38. I still expect to see big games from Lockett – he had one with 12 catches for 142 yards with Smith as the starter last season, and those down weeks are going to be easier to stomach when they come from a flex or WR3/4 spot. Lockett actually out produced Metcalf last season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he did it again. 

I’m actually kind of glad the Seahawks took Kenneth Walker in the second round, because it means Penny’s price is going to remain reasonable this draft season. Given how rarely Penny was used as a pass-catcher – six catches in six games as the lead back – I don’t think he has top-12 RB upside, but now he’s not even being drafted as a top-30 back. In fact, Walker is going ahead of him. I think you can flip a coin on Penny vs. Walker, but if Penny’s the lead back and healthy by Week 1, I think he could be a viable starter, especially if you’re not looking to invest much in your draft at the position. Walker figures to have a role, but remember, Penny was a first-round pick who had a limited role early in his rookie season, so there’s no guarantees with this coaching staff.

Metcalf remains one of the most anomalous players in the league from a physical standpoint, a rare blend of size and speed that makes him one of the most dangerous weapons in the league. However, he took a step back in his third season, and without Wilson around, I’m worried he could end up one of the biggest disappointments at the position as a top-20 WR in ADP. The biggest point in his favor is that he still managed to score five touchdowns in the four games when Geno Smith played significant snaps, though it’s worth noting that Lockett actually out-targeted him in those games 33-23. I’m concerned that this could be one of the worst offenses in the league, and while I still think Metcalf can be useful, the gap in the draft cost between him and Lockett doesn’t make much sense to me. He’s the biggest risk as the team’s priciest player. 

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