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Pete Carroll is the oldest head coach in the NFL and calling him old-school would be an understatement. While the rest of the league is leaning more and more toward the pass, Carroll's heart is always with the power running game. His teams made concessions in recent seasons giving superstar quarterback Russell Wilson opportunities to run the offense as he saw fit, but with Wilson in Denver and either Geno Smith or Drew Lock the likely starter, the Seahawks seem poised to return to their power running roots. A second-round draft pick spent on running back Ken Walker (despite plenty of other needs on the roster) only reinforces the point.
For the first time in 10 years, the Seahawks enter the season with questions about the starting quarterback position. With Russell Wilson gone, the prevailing theory was that Drew Lock would be the starter after being acquired in the trade that sent Wilson to Denver. However, Geno Smith operated ahead of Lock in team drills in training camp and was named the Week 1 starter. Smith is playing in his third season with the Seahawks. Last year, he completed 68 percent of his passes while filling in for Wilson in four games. He also threw five touchdowns to just one interception in that span. For a team that would much rather run than pass, Smith's rushing ability and ball protection make him a preferred option to the more erratic Drew Lock. Smith is not a starting fantasy quarterback in most leagues but he could be a decent streaming option in the right matchups.
If the team does not make a trade, Drew Lock will be the primary backup to Smith. Though this has all the ingredients to be a revolving door at starting quarterback. Lock threw for just 787 yards in the six games he played in 2021 and only accumulated four total touchdowns in the small sample. His career 59 percent completion percentage is almost 5 points worse than what Seattle saw from Russell Wilson in 2021. Unless Lock changes his game completely and starts protecting the ball better, he will be on a short leash in this conservative offense.
Rashaad Penny should get the starting nod after a stellar finish to last season, but he is not without competition. The team added Kenneth Walker from Michigan State in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. After years of injuries and squandered opportunities, former 1st-round pick Penny finally showed the fantasy world his potential in 2021. Appearing in 10 games, He established career-highs in just about every category, including fantasy points scored. However, he showed his fantasy value from Weeks 14-18 after taking complete control of the backfield. Penny carried the ball 92 times in the last five games for 671 yards and six touchdowns. He was the best running back in all of fantasy football during that five-game span. Seattle gave him a one-year deal to prove last year was not a fluke, and Penny could be an excellent sleeper candidate in 2022. With the team adding a rookie running back in the 2nd Round, Penny's role is far from safe. So while he can be a high-end running back for fantasy, new backfield competition may not give Penny the opportunity. Penny has missed some practices this preseason with a groin injury but appears ready to play in Week 1.
Most draft analysts consider Kenneth Walker one of the two best backs entering the league this year, and Seattle landed him early in the 2nd round. Walker had a stellar 2022 college season after transferring to Michigan State last spring. His 1725 all-purpose yards and 19 total touchdowns helped him take home the Doak Walker award for best college running back. He will immediately see the field in Seattle, with Chris Carson's retirement and an apparent lack of trust in Rashaad Penny. After 2022, he will be the only back on contract in Seattle and will likely take over this entire backfield. Walker is dealing with an injury early in the preseason and it did require a medical procedure. The team has been tight-lipped, originally calling it a hernia, then clarifying that it was not a sport hernia, but that he would miss some time in the preseason and his Week 1 availability is not guaranteed.
The bottom of the depth chart does not present much fantasy value for running backs in Seattle. While DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer have shown minor flashes, neither has seized any opportunity to take the reigns while Carson and Penny battled injuries. They combined for 315 yards and three touchdowns last season. They have shown proficiency as pass-catchers but split the work, hurting their values. Barring an injury, neither back will have much fantasy relevance in 2022. However, with both Penny and Walker dealing with preseason injiries, both should see ample playing time to establish themselves as the third running back.
There is no lack of talent here, but the questions at quarterback make trusting DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett much more challenging. After a solid rookie season and a 2020 breakout, expectations were high for Metcalf in 2021. While he may not have lived up to those expectations, he was still the 14th best fantasy wide receiver and scored a career-high 12 touchdowns. His catch rate and yardage left something to be desired, but some of that can be attributed to Russell Wilson's injury and missed time. However, not having Russell Wilson is the new normal in Seattle, and fantasy managers have a right to be concerned. If stuck with the quarterbacks currently on the roster, Metcalf should be treated as a high-end WR2 with upside, and his average draft position should reflect that narrative. Lockett's success has always been tied to Russell Wilson, and if fantasy managers are concerned about Metcalf, they are terrified about Lockett. The perpetually underrated wideout was still the 16th-ranked fantasy receiver last year and topped 1000 yards for the 3rd consecutive season. He also scored eight touchdowns, making it four straight seasons with eight or more scores. Lockett's typically low average draft position should fall even farther with the turbulence at quarterback.
The backup wide receivers for Seattle combined for just 32 targets last season, and the same group will be back in 2022. Last year's second-round pick, Dee Eskridge, will act as the team's WR3, but that will not be enough to place him on your fantasy waiver wire radar. Likewise, Penny Hart will act as the team's WR4 for the 3rd consecutive season and holds no fantasy value. In addition, Seattle added Dareke Young in the seventh round of the draft. HE will start at the bottom of the depth chart and will have a hill to climb to even see the field in 2022.
For the sixth straight season, the Seahawks will begin the year with a new starting tight end. It has been a rotating door since Jimmy Graham left the team. There was a lot of fantasy sleeper hype surrounding Gerald Everett last season, but he failed to crack even the Top 20 at the thinnest position in fantasy. Noah Fant will be the new starting tight end in Seattle this season after coming over from Denver in the Russell Wilson trade. Fant has finished as a top-10 fantasy tight end with Lock in Denver, despite the quarterback not finishing in the Top 20. He was the No. 8 tight end in fantasy in 2020 with Lock and ranked 12th last season with a combination of Lock and Teddy Bridgewater. There is tougher competition for targets in Seattle than Denver, so the 90 targets that Fant had last year are far from guaranteed. He will need more than the 63 targets that Gerald Everett received in Seattle last season to finish as a top-12 fantasy option.
- LT Charles Cross [R]
- LG Damien Lewis
- C Kyle Fuller
- RG Gabe Jackson
- RT Abraham Lucas [R]
- Phil Haynes, Jake Curhan, Austin Blythe, Stone Forsythe
The veteran duo of right guard Gabe Jackson and left guard Damien Lewis are the top performers on this line. Kyle Fuller is a decent center and will have competition from Austin Blythe (FA from Kansas City). Rookie left tackle Charles Cross (First round, Mississippi State) is a pass-blocking technician. Rookie right tackle Abraham Lucas (third round, Washington State) beat Jake Curhan and Stone Forsythe in the preseason to have the first chance at the starting job. This is an interesting group but it's tough to start two rookie tackles simultaneously.
Myers had a 37 straight field goal attempt streak snapped at the beginning of 2021 and it went downhill from there. He only made 17-of-23 field goal attempts and had a costly missed extra point against the Titans in Week 2. Cutting him would save the team four million in salary and cost only one million in dead cap, but the Seahawks did not bring in any competition for him via the draft and appear to be sticking with their kicker for 2022. Either way, he is of no interest to us with the Seahawks likely sporting one of the worst offenses in the league.
Tyler Lockett was one of the most consistent and reliable return specialists in the league for years, boasting far and away the lowest fumble rate of any regular returner, but the Seahawks finally reduced his special teams responsibilities in 2021, handing kickoff return duties to running back DeeJay Dallas. Lockett is still on the roster and can help out in a pinch, but Dallas fielded 33 out of 38 possible kick returns in 2021.
Tyler Lockett was one of the most consistent and reliable return specialists in the league for years, boasting far and away the lowest fumble rate of any regular returner, but the Seahawks finally reduced his special teams responsibilities in 2021, handing kickoff return duties to receiver Freddie Swain. Lockett is still on the roster and can help out in a pinch, but Swain fielded 22 out of a possible 23 punt returns in 2021.
The Legion of Boom completed the transformation to the Legion of Gloom in 2021. Seattle's defense was in the bottom half of the league in takeaways and sacks, and bottom-five in yards allowed. They were only useful against the lowly Jaguars and likely were left on the waiver wire for most, if not all of the season. After trading away Russell Wilson and releasing Bobby Wagner in the offseason, they have the look of a team that will be lucky to be competitive on a weekly basis. It's reasonable to have them as the 32nd-ranked team defense in fantasy leagues.
Last year was a pretty quiet year for the Seattle defensive line. As a team, the Seahawks were ranked 24th in total sacks, and the defensive lineman only accounted for 23.5 sacks. In addition, they only ranked slightly better, 19th in the league, in tackles for a loss. So, it should be no surprise that the Seahawks immediately addressed the line in the offseason. Seattle acquired Shelby Harris in the trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver. The team also signed former Raiders' defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson. Harris is a different player than Carlos Dunlap, whom he replaces. He may not accumulate as many sacks as Dunlap, but his impact will be felt in more places, especially in the run game. With the team transitioning to a 3-4, Harris will play end. Poona Ford will play opposite Harris but this is role similar to what he played last year, where he had just two sacks in 17 games. Al Woods only managed 1.5 sacks in 16 games and will see more blocking attention now in the nose tackle role. All in all, not one Seattle defensive lineman was a top-20 fantasy lineman last season, and that needs to improve in 2022. However, unless Harris improves his sack numbers, there is no fantasy value on this line.
L.J. Collier, a 2019 first-round pick has not lived up to his draft stock, recording just 15 starts and three sacks combined in his first three seasons. The entire backup group combined for just four sacks last season and is unlikely to make much noise in fantasy, even if a starter gets injured. Jefferson is a definite upgrade at defensive tackle and could make a push for starting job before long. He recorded more sacks and tackles for a loss than any of Seattle's defensive tackles last year.
While losing Russell Wilson was the most significant sign of the changing of the guard in Seattle, a close 2nd is the release of Bobby Wagner. Wagner handled the middle for the Seahawks since 2012 and was the heart and soul of this defense. Replacing him will not be an easy task. The first attempt to fill his shoes and the biggest benefactor for fantasy purposes will be the third-year linebacker, Jordyn Brooks. Brooks led the team in tackles last season and will see even more opportunities with Wagner no longer clogging the middle. Brooks was a top-5 fantasy linebacker in 2021 and could take the top spot in 2022. The other two starting spots will be filled by 2019 third-round pick Cody Barton and free-agent addition Uchenna Nwosu. Barton has recorded 96 total tackles with 56 solo tackles in three seasons with limited playing time. Uchenna Nwosu was also brought in to improve the team's sack numbers. He was an edge-rusher for the Chargers since being drafted in the second round in 2018, and has recorded 15 sacks in four seasons.
With Jon Rhattigan starting the season on the PUP list, the primary backup linebackers will be Alton Robinson and Boye Mafe. The team drafted Mafe from the University of Minnesota in the second round this year. He was an excellent pass-rusher in college and could immediately help the team in the pass rush. Robinson has played end and not done much in his two years in Seattle. With the transition to the 3-4, he will be another backup for the rush linebackers.
Jamal Adams has been the star of the Seattle defense for the last two years, and, with the exit of Bobby Wagner, he will now be asked to be their leader too. His 2021 was very different from his 2020, even before the Week 13 shoulder injury that ended his season early. In 2020, Adams was asked to play closer to the line of scrimmage and used in many blitz packages. As a result, the safety led the team that season with 9.5 sacks. It was the most sacks by a defensive back in NFL history. He returned to a more traditional role in 2021, recording 87 tackles and two interceptions, with no sacks, in 12 games. His 2022 fantasy value will depend on how the team utilizes him. He is still a top-10 safety without the sacks but he is one of one if playing in the box again. Quandre Diggs will be the free safety and is coming off a solid season with 94 tackles and five interceptions. It was by far his best season as a professional. Both he and Adams could benefit from tackles that may have been made by Bobby Wagner a year ago, and both should be on your IDP radar. Sidney Jones is a solid corner but does not make enough tackles or interceptions to have fantasy relevance. With Tre Brown going to the PUP, Artie Burns wins the other starting corner job. Burns comes to Seattle after down years in Pittsburgh and Chicago. He was a first-round pick for the Steelers in 2016, but his play fell off after a solid rookie season.
Backup safety Ryan Neal joined the team in 2019. He had a decent season in 2020 while playing in relief of Adams. Neal represents solid depth at a position that Seahawks would prefer that their starters never leave the field. Rookie corner Coby Bryant had very good training camp and preseason. He should see plenty of playing time until Tre Brown is able to play again.