Welcome to our Final Destination for the NFC West Team Previews as we land in the great Northwest, and take a look at three fantasy relevant players from the Seattle Seahawks for 2019. After Russell Wilson was the Top Gun in 2017, his new offensive coordinator grounded him in 2018 as the Seahawks threw the ball less than any other team in the NFL. Today we will see who can emerge from this Seattle offense that can lead you to the fantasy playoffs.
Russell Wilson has been one of the top fantasy Quarterbacks for the past several years. Even last year, in a hugely run first offense, he finished the season as QB9. Even though he finished as a top 12 Quarterback, Wilson underperformed for his ADP, as he was typically drafted as the QB3 in 2018. What does the 2019 season hold in store for Mr. Wilson?
Make no mistake, Wilson is one of the most talented Quarterbacks in the league. His ability to improvise, and make something out of nothing is top tier. I wish I could say the same about his offensive coordinator, which has left many Sleepless in Seattle. Brian Schottenheimer came out earlier this off-season, and made it perfectly clear that the Seahawks are “unapologetically” a run first team, and will continue to be so in 2019. Last year, the Seahawks threw the ball a league low 427 times vs running the ball 534 times. This is how Schottenheimer has historically ran his offenses, and don’t expect it to change too much.
How did Wilson manage to finish as QB9 last season despite throwing the ball the least amount of times in the NFL? Was it his yardage? No, he only amassed 3448 passing yards. His rushing? No, not that either, as he “only” ran for 376 yards and 0 Touchdowns. (As a quick aside, Russell Wilson has only scored multiple rushing touchdowns in three out of seven seasons.) So, what was it? He managed to throw a ridiculous 35 Touchdowns on 427 attempts. His touchdown percentage of 8.2% was only second to Patrick Mahomes. The league average last year was 4.8%, and Wilson’s personal average is now 6%. Can Russell Wilson repeat this absurdly high touchdown percentage? Historically, only Aaron Rodgers had a TD percentage above 8% in a season, and then go on to repeat it again the following year. That’s bad news for Wilson’s fantasy production. Last season, had Wilson thrown for his career TD% average of 6%, it would have dropped his touchdowns to 26 on the season. 9 less touchdowns would have dropped him from QB9 all the way down to QB16. Yikes!
Needless to say, I am not a Russell Wilson believer this year, and doubt he will return the value of his current ADP, which is QB7 in the seventh round. I do believe the Seahawks will throw the ball a smidge more this year due to necessity, raising Wilson’s passing yards, but his passing touchdowns have to come down. This season, I have Russell Wilson with 317/518/3840/30 TDs/9 INTs, 81/322/1 rushing. That would put him as QB12. There is better value at Quarterback this year. Unless Wilson’s ADP drops, which I don’t expect it to, you should be looking elsewhere.
With Doug Baldwin having to retire for health reasons, Russell Wilson will be looking for a new favorite receiver. He will look to Tyler Lockett, the guy he had a perfect passer rating when targeting last year. The Seahawks plan on moving Lockett inside to the Slot primarily, but will still move him around the formation at times, targeting advantageous match-ups to put the ball in Lockett's hands.
Doug Baldwin was one of the best wide receivers playing in the slot with Russell Wilson, and Tyler Locket should see just as much production, if not more. With DK “Alligator” Metcalf and David "Just A Guy" Moore as the other receivers on the team, Lockett will be swamped with targets, which is good for us fantasy players in this low passing offense. Lockett had the third best Yards Per Catch in the NFL last year with 17.8. His metrics are great, as he ran a 4.40 40 yard dash, putting him in the 92nd percentile. Last season, Lockett managed to capture 20% of the completions, 27% of the receiving yards and 28% of the receiving touchdowns, which accounted for his best season in the NFL.
I fully expect Tyler Lockett to continue to build on last season, and have him looking at 119/77/1016/9. Currently, Tyler Lockett is being drafted in the 5th round as WR21. You can Say Anything you want, but Tyler Lockett will be a value this year in fantasy.
In 2017, Chris Carson looked like he was going to breakout from a backfield that included Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, and J.D. McKissic. Chris Carson instead broke his leg, and left many wondering what could have been for 2017. Flash forward to 2018, and the Seahawks using their first round pick on running back Rashaad Penny. Many thought Carson would never get his starting role back. But after a brief attempt at a Running Back By Committee by Pete Carroll to start the 2018 season, Carson firmly took over as the number one running back on the team.
Can we expect him to stay the number one running back in 2019 with Penny waiting behind him? As long as Carson can stay healthy, the answer is yes. Carson had an impressive 4.7 YPC last year, and the numbers he put up in 13.5 games were bonkers. He had 1151 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns in those 13.5 games. If you do a little funny math, he would have had 1364 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns in 16 games. Those numbers would have bumped him up to RB8 in Half PPR and Standard leagues.
What is bad news for Wilson and the passing game, is GREAT news for Carson and the run game. No team ran the ball more last year than the Seahawks, and Carson will be getting the bulk of the carries. The Seahawks were giving Carson an average of 18 rushing attempts per game last year. Again, over a 16 game period, that would have been 293 rushing attempts on the season, second to only Ezekiel Elliott. He ranked 7th in rush attempts in just the 13.5 games he played.
The only knock on Carson is his lack of usage in the passing game. If the Seahawks can get him involved a little more, there will be no stopping him.
With that said, where do I have Carson projected for 2019? Not as high as you'd think. Even though I believe the RB1 spot on the team is his, Penny was a first round pick, and should have first round talent. Meaning he's not going away. Also there are injury concerns as he's missed multiple games in each of his first two seasons. I have Carson currently as my RB20 in Half PPR going for 280/1192/9 rushing and 56/40/272/1 receiving, assuming he plays 16 games. Still great numbers, but as I mentioned earlier in the week, the running back class is LOADED this year. Carson is currently being drafted as RB24, so he should return value and some.
Thank you for traveling with Fantasy Pilots through the Wild Wild NFC West. We hope you enjoyed your time. Make sure to check your gate number for the connecting flight to the AFC West Team Previews will be taking off shortly. As always, give us a follow on Twitter @FF_Pilots, and you can reach me directly @MichaelVoyu. Until next time, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.