2019 Stats (Rank)
Total Offense: 5,991 (Eighth)
Offensive Touchdowns: 46 (Seventh)
Offensive Plays: 1,046 (10th)
Pass Attempts + Sacks: 565 (21st)
Rush Attempts: 481 (Third)
Unaccounted for Targets: 79 (20th)
Unaccounted for Carries: 35 (20th)
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has a fever, and the only prescription is more bell-cows. As the rest of the league looks ever more furtively to the skies, Carroll and OC Brian Schottenheimer have retreated into the past. This would maybe make sense if the Seahawks had a bad quarterback. Zigging as defenses are forced to zag to combat the pass would provide a competitive advantage. The Seahawks, of course, do not have a bad quarterback. They have Russell Wilson, who, like the rest of the world, wishes he could throw more. "I mean we’ve always been really good at two-minute (offense)," Wilson said in February. "We’ve always been really good in those end of the half, those not always hurry-up situations, but those up-tempo situations (and) moments. ... I think the freedom of just going after it and just scoring as many points, you know?" We do know, but Carroll does not want to hear it. Third in overall rush attempts, the 2019 Seahawks were 29th when it came to passing in neutral game script. Wilson is a nuclear warhead under center, but there was zero offseason indication the Seahawks planned to change their run-heavy approach.
Although he’s headed into his age-32 campaign, Wilson remains one of the most dangerous players in football. Growing ever more efficient and explosive, Wilson has 66 touchdowns to just 12 picks over the past two years. That clip expands to 100:23 if you include 2017, with Wilson boasting a 6.7 touchdown percentage over his past 48 starts. Amongst quarterbacks to make at least 33 appearances in that timespan — i.e. players who have been starting since 2017 — no one else is even above 6.0. Wilson’s combination of savvy and big-play ability is the platonic ideal of what coaches want in a quarterback. It simply does not make sense that Carroll refuses to open it up. The only argument is that Wilson would no longer be Wilson with increased volume, but that has never been borne out by the numbers. It’s just who Carroll wants to be at this point. It costs both himself and fantasy players points.
When Wilson does throw in 2020, it will be to one of the league’s better supporting casts. Leading the way is sensational sophomore DK Metcalf, who fell to No. 64 in last year’s draft due to concerns about his lateral agility. He quickly quieted them with 217 yards over his first three games, ultimately finishing with a 58/900/7 line as he went toe-to-toe with an inconsistent Tyler Lockett in the second half of the season. Metcalf saved his best for last, exploding for 7/160/1 against the Eagles in the Wild Card Round. Metcalf did have a case of the dropsies, muffing the fifth most passes in the NFL (eight). A 6-foot-4, 229-pound physical freak, Metcalf played up to his pre-draft measurables, and meshes perfectly with Wilson’s down-field skill-set. Floors can leave something to be desired in Seattle, but Metcalf’s ceiling is higher than your average WR2.
It’s a bit hard to decipher what happened to Lockett. Metcalf’s emergence didn’t help, but not even Lockett’s mid-season illness/shin issue can fully explain his 8/107/0 disappearance between Weeks 10 and 14. For the year, Lockett posted four 100-yard days but six sub-50s. Lockett still finished as the Seahawks’ most targeted and productive wideout. It was hard not to shake the feeling that Metcalf had surpassed him by Week 17, but including the playoffs, Lockett posted a healthy 381 yards over his final five contests. Who is the Seahawks’ true No. 1? Fantasy players still think it is Lockett, drafting him as the WR19 by ADP compared to WR22 for Metcalf. I am betting on Metcalf, but Lockett will remain a WR2 with a high ceiling.
Behind Metcalf and Lockett is new No. 3 receiver Phillip Dorsett. Like his more talented teammates, Dorsett can do damage deep. Clear-out routes down the field opposite Metcalf figure to be Dorsett’s primary role as Lockett patrols the slot. Settling in as a poor man’s Ted Ginn in terms of career arc, Dorsett will not threaten for fantasy viability unless both Metcalf and Lockett go down with injury. Even then, the Seahawks have heavily telegraphed they will be signing Josh Gordon or Antonio Brown.
The No. 3 option in the passing game should be Greg Olsen, who signed a surprisingly lucrative $7 million deal in February. Although he looked like Jason Witten going side to side, Olsen remained surprisingly spry with a head of steam up the seam. He will supply chunk gains while offering a 6-foot-5 frame inside the 20 for a team obsessed with targeting tight ends in the end zone. Jacob Hollister and Will Dissly drew 16 combined red zone looks last season. 11 of those belonged to Hollister, who has a clear leg up on Dissly for No. 2 tight end status as Dissly returns from a torn Achilles’ tendon. Neither will be fantasy relevant as long as Olsen stays standing, which admittedly might not be for long. Olsen missed 16 games with foot issues between 2017-18 before last year’s 14-game campaign. Hollister would slot into the TE16-20 range were Olsen to go down. That’s where Olsen finds himself now in a tight end group brimming with bright young talent.
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Third and first in rushing attempts over the past two years, there is no question as to the Seahawks’ offensive intentions. There is some question as to who will be executing them. Recovering from “more than just a normal ACL” tear, Rashaad Penny appears likely to begin the year on the reserve/PUP list. Chris Carson, meanwhile, is expected to be ready for Week 1 after working his way back from a hip injury that sidelined him for the entire offseason, though the Seahawks understandably hedged by signing Carlos Hyde, who is coming off his first 1,000-yard season.
If Carson is indeed ready to go, he remains a clear-cut RB2 despite his concerning injury history. Carson easily held onto starting duties in 2019 despite a summer push from Penny. Once again amongst the league leaders in broken tackles, Carson added a new dimension to his fantasy game by nearly doubling his receptions from 20 to 37. Carson riled with his persistent fumbling, but Carroll never wavered from Carson as his starter. Carson’s rugged style did catch up to him in Week 16, where he was felled by his hip.
An offseason puff piece all-star last spring, Penny failed to challenge Carson despite the starter’s fumbling woes. Penny finally gained momentum in late November (29 carries for 203 yards in Weeks 12 and 13), but he then promptly shredded his knee. “There were other things they just had to clean out,” Carroll said of Penny’s ACL issue. Penny has flashed in each of his first two NFL campaigns, but injuries and consistency have been his downfall. With Hyde and fourth-rounder DeeJay Dallas now in the mix behind Carson, Penny is facing long odds of making a 2020 fantasy impact even if he manages to avoid the PUP list.
Hyde lingered on the free agent market until May 22, but he is a sensible late-round flier in the event Carroll’s Carson prognostication ends up overly rosy. It wouldn’t be the first time with Carroll. Both Hyde’s floor and ceiling are capped by his failure to catch passes.
The Seahawks’ over/under is off the board on DraftKings following the acquisition of Jamal Adams, but it sits at 9.5 on FanDuel. A team that has won fewer than 10 games — nine in 2017 — once in eight years with Wilson checks in with a middle-of-the-road schedule. They do have a brutal three-game stretch to begin the year — @ATL, vs. NE, vs. DAL — but it has softened up a bit following the Patriots’ opt-outs. Adams has also helped fortify what was looking like the weakest defense of Carroll’s Seahawks tenure, though it boasts far more depth at the back end than front. Playing in a division that might not be as tough as it appears on paper — the 49ers are obvious regression candidates and the Rams are a complete wild card — 10 seems more likely than nine in Seattle, making the over the play.