The 2021 Seattle Seahawks had an up and down year. The team started with a lowly 3-8 record before recovering to win four of their last six games and finishing 7-10. The most talked about aspect of the team was the health of quarterback Russell Wilson, who missed three games with a finger injury. He struggled on his return, and many questioned if he came back too quickly.
From a fantasy perspective, Wilson still finished as QB15 on the year. Wide receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett finished WR12 and WR13 in 0.5 PPR formats, respectively. And while the running backs were not consistent with injury issues throughout the year, Rashaad Penny still finished the season as the RB1 in fantasy for the final seven weeks of the year.
But 2022 brings a lot of caution from fantasy owners who have Seahawks rostered on their teams. And almost all of this stems from the team trading away Wilson to the Denver Broncos. Is Wilson’s departure a fantasy value death sentence to the players left behind? Or can we still expect to see some good numbers in Emerald City?
The most alarming position group in Seattle is the one we will lead off with. Since Wilson’s departure, rumors have swirled about who the Seahawks will bring in to be behind center in 2022. They acquired Drew Lock from the Broncos in the Wilson deal, but surely he wouldn’t be the only QB the team would bring in for the 2022 season?
Well, as of right now, that appears to be true.
With a QB room of Lock, Geno Smith, and Jacob Eason, the Seahawks have one of the lowest potential outputs from the position in 2022. Smith has started only five games in the last six seasons. Eason has five career pass attempts in two seasons. And Lock was the scapegoat that John Elway and company couldn’t wait to ship out of the Mile High City.
Lock only started in three games in 2021 after two mediocre seasons to begin his Denver career. In those starts and six overall appearances, Lock could only muster 787 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. To say I have confidence that he can find fantasy success in Seattle would be an outright lie.
Lock, Smith, and Eason are likely available in most of your leagues, either on the waiver wire or rostered on a team who would be willing to sell them for pennies on the dollar. But I would stay away from QBs in Seattle this year. After ten great fantasy seasons of Wilson in Seattle, the Seahawks return to the land of QB obscurity.
While QBs may not be the position to be excited about on the Seahawks, there is a lot of intrigue to the RB room in Seattle. Most notably returning free agent Penny and second-round draft pick Ken Walker out of Michigan State.
Some were surprised to see the Seahawks take Walker in the 2022 NFL draft. But the selection fits a long line of roster building for Pete Carroll and company. Specifically, loading up the RB room with the talent to ensure there is always a “hot hand.”
That hand used to be Chris Carson, who had several strong years in Seattle in recent memory. Carson retired from the NFL this offseason, leaving Penny and Walker as the two names fighting for the ball. As I discussed previously in my Should I Trade or Should I Hold article on Penny; the fifth-year back has gotten some hype this offseason from Seattle Media:
Whether or not Penny will see bell-cow carry numbers, the end of 2021 was great for him. Penny was the RB1 in fantasy in the final seven weeks of the season. Specifically, Penny came up big during the championship weeks. He totaled 19.5 points or more in four of the final five weeks of 2021.
Meanwhile, Walker is one of the most interesting rookies coming into 2022. He was a strong and aggressive runner at Michigan State and highly sought after in the draft. The question becomes whether his draft stock will dictate playing time. Using Penny as a reference, it is likely that being a second-round pick won’t matter. Penny was a first-round pick in 2018 and still only say 85 rushes in 14 games.
I am looking to acquire or roster Penny and Walker in as many places as possible. Especially Penny, who is currently RB37 in ADP. With the chances that Seattle relies on their run game even more in 2022 with the less-than-exciting quarterback room, I want to have shares of both of these players.
We already discussed that QBs are going to be rough for Seattle. As a result of this, it’s hard to say what we can even expect out of the Seahawks’ WRs.
The team still rosters two of the best for the last several seasons in Metcalf and Lockett. But both likely see a bit of regression from their previous successes. This is no fault of their own but a product of who will be throwing them the ball.
Lockett turns 30 this September, and it is hard to know if time will also catch up to him. And while his age 29 season saw the most yards he’s ever had in his career at 1,175, a lot is stacking up against both him and Metcalf.
I would caution anyone on one thing: Metcalf and Lockett are both outstanding to elite players in the NFL. It is common for us to overreact to a WR having a downgrade at the QB position. It is scary to know that the guy throwing the ball to your receivers is inconsistent or inaccurate. But the fact is that even these QBs are still able to complete passes. They can throw touchdowns. Writing off either Metcalf or Lockett due to their QB would be a big mistake.
Last year, in Week 8, Lockett totaled 12 catches on 13 targets and 142 yards receiving with Geno Smith as his QB with Wilson out injured. In Week 7 with Smith, Metcalf had 96 yards receiving and a touchdown. These players are still high-level talents, and I fully expect them to be successful in 2022.
However, I will say that I would be cautious in looking to acquire either player currently. There is certainly risk involved in rostering and playing, either. From a dynasty perspective, Metcalf is still someone you will want to own. But Lockett is getting older, and his last few years with a bad quarterback may not produce strong results.
Metcalf is still WR11 in ADP, which is a little steep to want to acquire. Lockett, on the other hand, has fallen to WR51. If you are a contending team, kicking the tires on Lockett wouldn’t be a bad idea. I don’t expect another 1,175 receiving yards this year. But getting last season’s WR13 for the price of WR51 is a gamble you should take if you are contending.
Historically (or at least in modern history), Seattle hasn’t been a prime spot for tight ends. In 0.5 PPR scoring, the top scoring TE for the Seahawks has finished as TE30, TE24, TE39, and TE21 in the last four seasons. You have to look back to 2017 to find a relevant TE when Jimmy Graham finished as TE5.
Is this a fault of Wilson not targeting his TEs the past few years? Or is this simply that Nick Vannett, Jacob Hollister, Gerald Everett, Greg Olsen, and the oft-injured Will Dissly were the tight ends to throw to? Whatever the answer, none of these names are the focus anymore.
Noah Fant is now the top TE in Seattle. Landing with the Seahawks in the Wilson trade, Fant comes with some intrigue. His first three seasons in Denver were a bit average. He finished TE19, TE13, and TE12 in his first three years.
However, Fant was competing with several other TEs in Denver. This will not be the case in Seattle. He will be given every opportunity to be the top guy. On top of this, TEs take a bit to adjust to the pro game. Entering his fourth year, this could be Fant’s chance to take off.
But all of this still comes back to the QB. And unfortunately, Fant goes from one bad situation to another. Leaving Denver before Wilson arrived and coming to Seattle after he left, it is hard to know what Fant could be if his quarterback was an elite talent.
For now, I would tread lightly on Fant. He is an intriguing prospect with an insane athletic profile. But it is going to be hard for him to take the next step with Smith or Lock as his QB.
The 2022 Seattle Seahawks are going to look quite different. And it all has to do with the QB.
With the departure of Wilson, every positional group has been impacted. While the QB, WRs, and TEs do take a hit, I believe the RBs have been given a boost.
Seattle looks primed to be a run-heavy offense. Penny or Walker could finish as a top-12 RB, depending on how the work is split between them. If you have either, you should be excited about the prospect of their 2022 season. If you don’t have either, it may be worth looking into what it would cost to acquire them.
Seattle may struggle for a few years until they can solve their new QB problems. But remember, this is also an opportunity as an owner. Metcalf is still only 24 years old. With Seattle’s current woes, an owner may sell Metcalf at an affordable price. You could acquire him now and be set in a year or two when the quarterback position improves for the Seahawks.
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