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Team Previews

Seahawks Team Preview

by Nick Mensio
Updated On: August 15, 2019, 6:51 pm ET

2018 Stats (Rank)

Total Offense: 5,653 (18th)
Offensive Touchdowns: 50 (6th)
Offensive Plays: 1,012 (15th)
Pass Attempts + Sacks: 478 (32nd)
Rush Attempts: 534 (2nd)
Unaccounted for Targets: 142 (12th)
Unaccounted for Carries: 115 (14th)

Coaching Staff

Entering his tenth season at the helm, Pete Carroll is the league’s fifth-longest-tenured coach behind only Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, Mike Tomlin, and John Harbaugh. More of an overseer -- and a good one at that -- Carroll is on his third offensive coordinator, as Brian Schottenheimer enters his second season running Seattle’s offense. The Seahawks employed a run-the-ball-and-play-defense approach in Schotty’s first season, and it worked out extremely well for them, earning a playoff berth after missing the postseason in 2017. Schottenheimer dialed up a run play over 52% of the time last year, the only team to run the ball over 49% of the time. That was the highest team-run-play percentage in the NFL since the 2013 Seahawks. It’s not clear if it’s a sustainable approach mostly because Russell Wilson set a new career high with an astronomical 8.2% touchdown rate, 2.2% higher than his career average. Seattle has already said it doesn’t plan to change its plan of attack and will continue to hammer the ground game. Schottenheimer has an up-and-down track record in the NFL but has mainly leaned on the run during his previous stops with Rex Ryan’s Jets and Jeff Fisher’s Rams. On defense, Ken Norton is back for his second season calling the plays after a failed stint in Oakland.

Passing Game

QB: Russell Wilson, Paxton Lynch, Geno Smith
WR: Jaron Brown, DK Metcalf
WR: David Moore, Amara Darboh
WR: Tyler Lockett, Gary Jennings
TE: Will Dissly, Ed Dickson, Nick Vannett, Jacob Hollister

The QB9 in overall fantasy points and QB12 in points per game, as mentioned above, Wilson got by as a top-12 fantasy passer solely on his otherworldly 8.2% touchdown rate. Wilson was 20th in the league in pass attempts and played in the only offense that ran the ball more than it threw it. Wilson’s 3,448 passing yards were his fewest since 2013. He had 26 or fewer pass attempts in a game nine times, but his 35 touchdowns were a career best. Wilson had seven games of three-plus touchdowns, including a four-score effort Week 13 against the Niners.

Wilson set an ultimatum earlier in the offseason in regards to his contract and was almost immediately handed a four-year, $140 million extension through 2023 to make him the NFL’s highest-paid player. Wilson has lost his No. 1 receiver in Doug Baldwin to an injury-forced retirement. Lockett is now stepping into that slot role, and the ‘Hawks drafted ultra-athletic-but-raw Metcalf with a second-round pick in April. Wilson is undeniably one of the best pure quarterbacks in the sport, but he’s going to find it extremely difficult to replicate last year’s numbers. He’s almost certain to experience regression to the mean with his touchdown rate. The reality is he’s likely being overdrafted in fantasy at his QB9 ADP.

As mentioned, Lockett is taking over as the unquestioned No. 1 receiver in Seattle following Baldwin’s retirement. Baldwin manned the slot over 65% of the time in 2018, while Lockett was on the inside at just under 51% of his snaps. The slot is expected to be Lockett’s main home this season. Lockett has missed just one career game and has had productive spurts throughout his four-year career to this point. He finally put it all together in 2018, setting career highs across the board with his 57-965-10 line, finishing sixth in the league with his ten scores. He was ultra consistent with 50 yards and/or one touchdown in 15-of-17 games, including the playoffs. It was good enough for Lockett to finish as the overall WR16 in PPR formats. Baldwin had a 90-target pace last season. Lockett saw 70, so there’s room for growth from a volume standpoint. Lockett is currently being taken as the WR21 in half-PPR drafts. There’s volatility there considering Seattle’s love affair with running the ball, but Lockett should flirt produce 1,000 yards for the first time after barely missing out last season. He turns 27 in September.

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Behind Lockett, there isn’t a whole lot to get excited about in redraft leagues when it comes to the Seattle pass game. Early word is the Seahawks plan to start Jaron Brown and David Moore on the outside in three-wide sets with Metcalf pushing for playing time behind them. Metcalf is very clearly the most talented of the trio vying for No. 2 status, but he has obvious limitations with his route-running inconsistent hands. He’s massive and runs fast in a straight line but wasn’t asked to do a whole lot more in college. Metcalf is a mouth-watering dynasty prospect and possesses obvious upside, but he’s merely a late-round flier right now.

Brown is known more for his blocking and real-life lunch-pail work ethic. The coaches love him on the outside in this run-first offense. But the stats aren’t likely to accumulate for him. Moore had an eye-popping eight-game stretch in the middle of last season, compiling a 22-413-5 line Weeks 4-12 but later disappeared off the face of the planet in December with four catches for 32 scoreless yards on 16 targets across five games to close out the year. There were a pair of zero-catch games in there. He’s a high-risk fantasy flier in the late rounds.

At tight end, it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen here. Dissly was a fourth-round pick last year who came out of nowhere for 105 yards and a touchdown in the Week 1 opener against Denver. He managed just 51 total yards in the next three games before tearing his patellar tendon and missing the rest of the season. This all we really have to go off of with Dissly, who wasn’t considered a receiving threat coming out of college. Already a pitiful athlete, relatively speaking, Dissly is now coming off a major injury that has ruined careers in the past.

Dickson is what he is, and that’s a blocking type who has flashed receiving ability in the past. But those big receiving games have been wholly unpredictable. Hollister was acquired from the Patriots in April in exchange for a seventh-round pick. He earned offseason praise from Schottenheimer and is easily the team’s top athlete at tight end. If Hollister keeps it up when the pads come on this summer and in the preseason, he has a fairly simple path to snaps. He’s the name to watch in this group. Vannett is merely a blocker likely fighting for a roster spot.

Running Game

RB: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer, J.D. McKissic, C.J. Prosise
OL (L-R): Duane Brown, Mike Iupati, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker, Germain Ifedi

Seattle used its first-round pick on Penny two April’s ago, but Carson was the one who had the huge offseason to earn himself the Week 1 starting job. Carson never looked back, managing to play 14 games -- missing a pair with hip injuries -- and posting a 247-1,151-9 rushing line. Carson is one of the most punishing runners in the NFL. He tied for the league lead in broken tackles and was top-five in yards after contact. Carson was fifth in the league in carries inside the 10-yard line and fourth in totes from inside the five. He had a stranglehold on Seattle’s goal-line work, as only David Johnson handled a higher rate of his team’s five-yards-and-in carries. All of that led to an overall RB15 finish for Carson in half-PPR leagues. Schottenheimer has already confirmed the Seahawks will remain a run-first team. Carson is coming off an offseason knee scope but is expected to be ready well ahead of Week 1. His injury history is mildly concerning, but Carson is being wildly overlooked and undervalued at his RB24 ADP.

Even with Carson atop the depth chart, Penny can still be a viable fantasy asset. The 2018 first-rounder’s taste of the NFL got off to a rough start that saw him balloon to 236 pounds last summer only to then break his finger and see minimal playing time out of the gates. Penny eventually put things together and flashed big-time playmaking skills over the second half of the season. Penny had 108 yards and one touchdown in Week 9 against the Rams and averaged over 6.4 yards-per-carry from that point forward. He’s never really shown much as a pass-catcher with just 19 career grabs in college and nine as a rookie. However, Penny is being dubbed the change-of-pace favorite to Carson and could help fill the old Mike Davis role from a year ago when Davis totaled 728 yards and five touchdowns on 146 touches as the third-down and two-minute specialist for Seattle. It’s not an either/or proposition with Carson and Penny; the Seahawks get the ball in the hands of their running backs enough that both can be viable fantasy options on a weekly basis. Penny should return RB3/FLEX appeal, and if Carson ever gets hurt, then watch out for Penny. He’s a massive upside pick in the middle rounds.

Homer, McKissic, and Prosise are competing for two spots. Homer has by far the most upside of this group after starring at Miami and being taken in the sixth round of this past April’s draft. Homer registered a top-three SPARQ score among running backs at the Combine and, unlike Carson and Penny, has shown an ability to succeed in the pass game in the past. He’s a decent dynasty stash but isn’t yet on the redraft map. McKissic and Prosise are purely one-dimensional pass-catchers out of the backfield. Prosise is likely the odd man out at the moment after years of injuries at the big-league level.

Win Total

Seattle’s projected win total currently sits at nine in most places, good for second in the NFC West a year after going 10-6 to earn a Wild Card berth. The juice is on the over for those nine wins, but this number feels about right. With the likely regression for Wilson, loss of Baldwin, and big defensive subtractions of Frank Clark and Earl Thomas to go with stud DT Jarran Reed’s six-game suspension to open the year, smart money would be on hitting the under here. The NFC West also got tougher on paper with the Niners getting healthier and Cardinals adding Kyler Murray. Those games won’t be cake-walks for Seattle like they were in 2018.

Nick Mensio

Nick Mensio has been covering the NFL for Rotoworld since 2012. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.