(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)
Editor’s note: This article is part of our Team Preview series as our staff covers all 32 teams entering the 2018-2019 season. Check out every team’s preview here.
The Seattle Seahawks were effectively the Seattle Russell Wilson‘s last season, as their dynamic quarterback accounted for a staggering 86% of their offense. The run-game was atrocious, and the o-line was so bad that Wilson spent most of the game running for his life.
Seattle has done their best to alleviate those concerns, bringing in a handful of veteran linemen and drafting rookie running back Rashaad Penny. While the run-blocking will be improved, new OC Brian Schottenheimer has a pass-heavy approach and this team will still do a lot of their damage through the air. This is still Wilson’s team and he is still the most valuable fantasy asset.
Having said that, let’s take a look at Wilson, and the rest of the Seahawks, fantasy value heading into 2018.
(QB1) Russell Wilson
Mr. Unlimited had himself an absolutely monstrous season in 2017, thanks in large part to the simple fact that he had no one around him to pick up the slack. The Seahawks added dynamic running back Rashaad Penny and improved their run-blocking up front, which should ease some of the pressure off Wilson.
That doesn’t mean his fantasy numbers will necessarily take a hit though. Wilson was ranked by Ben Palmer as the No. 3 fantasy quarterback, and I agree. He’ll need to find a new red zone target now that both Paul Richardson and Jimmy Graham are gone. However, the Seahawks have always liked to throw the ball when they are near the end zone (heh), so expect Doug Baldwin or potentially free agent signee Brandon Marshall to acquire some extra red zone opportunities.
I see no reason why Wilson won’t be as good as ever next season, and he should be drafted accordingly.
(WR1) Doug Baldwin
Baldwin has a small knee injury that looks like it will hold him out for most, if not all of the preseason. While that’s never good, it’s ultimately not something that should impact his draft stock. Baldwin has been a steady low-end WR1 for the last three seasons now, and the loss of both Richardson and Graham should only help Baldwin carve out even more targets. He has some of the most reliable hands in the entire NFL, and as long as he is healthy I think he’s an excellent, safe pick in the top of the third round. He’s not the sexiest pick, but no need to overthink anything here if Baldwin is around and you need a receiver.
(WR4) Tyler Lockett
Lockett admitted to playing around 75-80% last season, a year in which he put up 45/555/2. Now, Lockett is Seattle’s premier downfield threat and is 100% healthy. Wilson and Schottenheimer will make sure the ball is in the air plenty, and thus Lockett should get plenty of targets without anyone challenging him for Seattle’s No. 2 receiver role. He is the kind of player who is going to go for either 15+ points or under two any given week, but you could do worse with a late-round dart throw than Lockett.
(RB2) Rashaad Penny
Rashaad Penny’s hype train has flown out of the station, and for those of you wishing you grabbed on, don’t. Penny is not even the clear-cut starter at this point, with Chris Carson garnering a ton of attention in camp. Carson is a strong runner and an elite pass-catcher, and could very easily push Penny into a time-share. Some folks are salivating imagining a Saints-like running game with Penny and Carson, but Seattle’s run-blocking is still going to be bad, and the team still favors the passing game. I honestly don’t want Penny or Carson at their current ADP’s, as I think they’ll be way too inconsistent to count on week to week. Plus, Mike Davis and J.D. McKissic both looked good last season, and could at least steal some third down opportunities in the passing game. Let someone else grab Penny in the fourth round.
(RB3/Flex) Chris Carson
Carson is going to carve out a nice role on this Seattle team, even after they spent a pretty penny on (sorry) Penny. Exactly how much of a role remains to be seen, but Carson is a power back who has shown soft hands in the passing game. Plus, in recent scrimmage games Carson has been running with the first teamers while Penny has been on the second unit. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but Seattle is not afraid to go with the hot-hand, regardless of draft position. Remember, Carson won the starting role over Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy last season, despite being a lowly seventh-round pick. Of course, Penny is better than either of those two, but the team is not just going to hand him the job.
I’d rather take Carson at his ADP of 132 than Penny at No. 42, but I also think drafting a Seattle running back is a risky endeavor, and one that I will likely be staying away from myself come draft day.
(TE3) Ed Dickson
It might be Ed Dickson. It might be third-year man Nick Vannett. Heck, rookie Will Dissly has looked impressive in camp. Regardless, I need to be very clear with you all: don’t chase any of them. Seattle has a solid offense and an elite quarterback, but this is the team that turned Jimmy Graham into a borderline unplayable tight end. The team made it exceptionally clear after Graham left that they plan to utilize their tight ends strictly as extra run-blocking, and not as pass-catchers. Dickson has had a fine career almost exclusively as a blocker, and Dissly was a defensive end two years ago. Vannett is the only tight end who profiles more as a pass-catcher than as a blocker, but he has 15 career receptions in three years. As such, none of them should be anywhere near your fantasy roster.
It will be a very different Seattle Seahawks team in 2018. No Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and potentially no Earl Thomas as well. The offense has not changed too dramatically however, and this team should still have some fantasy value – at the very least from their do-it-all quarterback.