As I continue my mini-series that previews some of the wide receiver rooms across the National Football League, the next stop is in Seattle. Now, traditionally, when you think of the Seattle Seahawks and Pete Carroll, you think of an old school, grimy football team that wants to grind out drives on the ground and dictate the flow of the game with a nasty, in-your-face defense that flies around from sideline to sideline.
However, after a slew of injuries to backs and the surprising emergence of Geno Smith last season, Seattle found themselves with an unusual identity that tossed the ball nearly 60% of the time rather than the 47.51% pass rate Russell Wilson commanded from 2018 to 2021, according to TeamRankings.
Despite the identity change to the offense, the Seahawks found themselves back in the dance, which gives me reason to believe they will march into the 2023 season with a similar pass rate to last year. Additionally, they will hopefully increase the pace of play to an offense that ranked 22nd overall, which netted the coveted Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Zach Charbonnet in this year’s draft.
Seattle’s Offensive Coordinator, Shane Waldron, is entering his third season in this role, so I expect the offense to expand to the highest level we’ve seen from him yet. As the Lions’ OC, Ben Johnson, recently pointed out, heading into year two is “less learning concepts, it’s now understanding the answers to the problems.”
For Waldron, who is branching out from the coaching tree of Sean McVay, we should see an even more fluid offense in year three under his watch, especially with a second year of a revamped Geno Smith.
An Offense in Year 2— Coach Dan Casey (@CoachDanCasey) July 27, 2023
“It’s less learning Concepts, it’s now understanding the answers to the problems.
Every Play Call defenses present problems, now we have the solutions - we’re a lot quicker getting to those solutions.”
- Ben Johnson pic.twitter.com/rDYjIZlAqO
When I look at this roster, I’m super intrigued by the wide receiver room, which is really saying something when you have a great pair of running backs in Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet. However, with some lingering camp injuries for both ball carriers, I fully expect Waldron to double or triple down on the talent they possess outside and replicate an offense closer to McVay’s, O’Connell’s, Staley’s, Taylor’s, etc.
Last season, Seattle ranked 25th in utilizing 11 personnel – a staple of McVay’s offense. I expect this tendency to jump into the top ten this year now that the Seattle offensive personnel commands it. A prospect such as Jaxon Smith-Njigba breaks the mold of any previous tendencies your offense had. You simply shape what you want to do around JSN, Metcalf, and Lockett. Each has a unique playstyle and fit to this offense that compliments the other. Fortunately, all three receivers are valuable pieces in the dynasty community, which is pretty rare to see.
Without further ado, let’s get into the details of three of the best values in fantasy football.
DK Metcalf | Wide Receiver | Seattle Seahawks | 25-Years-Old
Consensus Dynasty Rank: WR15 | Dynasty Startup ADP: WR15 | My Dynasty Rank: WR12
2022: 17 Games | 141 Targets | 90 Receptions | 1,048 Yards | 6 TD’s | WR26, PPG, 13.3
Touchdowns. We know touchdowns aren’t a sticky statistic, but for some, they can be. For Metcalf, he averaged 9.6 touchdowns per season heading into last year, and even grabbed double digit touchdowns each of the last two.
If Metcalf were to have caught even three more touchdowns last season, to reach that average, he would’ve finished in the top 10 overall at the position, and he would’ve climbed up the charts in his per game numbers, too. At only 25-years-old, we’d be looking at Metcalf this offseason a lot more confidently than the community is right now, but he has quietly been placed on the back burner for some of the rising young talent across the league, which has opened a purchasing window.
The beauty of Metcalf’s game is that there aren’t a lot of weaknesses to it. In fact, according to his reception perception, he nearly charted all “greens” during his 2022 campaign.
Metcalf seems to be getting better and better each year as a football player, even if the fantasy production hasn’t always matched. He has become more successful at separating each year of his career, and always holds that upside to score a high number of times. At some point, we’re going to see an eruption where he finds the endzone upwards of 14, 15, or 16 times and bounces himself into a top six or so season.
With a more proficient passing attack, more receivers on the field, and a faster pace of play, Metcalf can finally become the guy we thought we were getting after his sophomore season.
According to PlayerProfiler, Metcalf’s opportunity is huge. Last season he ranked inside the top 10 in air yards and unrealized air yards, as well as JUST outside of that threshold in targets and deep targets. Most importantly, he saw 27 red zone targets, which was second at the position to Justin Jefferson.
For me, I’m going on record and saying that Metcalf is the single best buy at the position when you consider age, upside, and cost. I’ve found that many are looking at him turning from 25 to 26 this season and see an opportunity to sell, rather than hold.
The most popular price I’ve seen Metcalf going for is essentially a first round pick and additional, spare picks or a first round pick and a veteran good-not-great running back or receiver. While browsing trades, very seldom has Metcalf been the prize in some of these trade packages. You never know how someone values another asset, so it’s worth at least kicking the tires and seeing if the price is cheaper than you imagined.
Tyler Lockett | Wide Receiver | Seattle Seahawks | 30-Years-Old
Consensus Dynasty Rank: WR45 | Dynasty Startup ADP: WR48 | My Dynasty Rank: WR39
2022: 16 Games | 117 Targets | 84 Receptions | 1,033 Yards | 9 TD’s | WR18, PPG, 14.8
I was thinking about this the other day, there needs to be a place for someone like Tyler Lockett for when he’s finished playing football. Now, I’m not saying he’s a Hall of Fame player because he’s not, but there needs to be a spot for him and others alike that were entirely underappreciated their entire careers so they aren’t forgotten completely once they hang the cleats up.
For years, Lockett has been criminally overlooked, forgotten, and underrated. That last word, underrated, is interesting because social media will try to tell you players like Keenan Allen or Amari Cooper are underrated, and, well, they just aren’t. They’re very, very good but just aren’t in that top threshold. They never were and they never will be. However, guys like Lockett will truly be forgotten because of the Allen’s and Cooper’s of the league. The same 45 second highlight of Allen’s route running will recycle on 600 different platforms for the next 10 years, but Lockett’s will not despite the fact that he is one of best of his era at getting open and is still doing it at a high level.
As we project forward, there is a lot of worry with Lockett because of age and opportunity in a room that features the aforementioned beast, DK Metcalf, and the new kid, Smith-Njigba. However, what the common eye fails to see when scrolling their Sleeper app and noticing a giant, intimidating “30” next to Lockett’s name is that he moves all over the field and formation with alignment and motion. He is the straw that stirs this passing attack, and to be quite honest, he has been a better player than Metcalf. He will not be overtaken by JSN, either, because of the transition and intricacies it takes to do what Lockett has mastered over time.
While the advanced metrics don’t support Lockett in some of the high-end ways that they do for Metcalf, he’s consistently good at just about everything that is tracked. He truly has no weaknesses. While his route running has been absurd over his career, he has been as good as anyone when it comes to contested catches. Now, I’m not saying he’s going to win at the catch point like Mike Williams or Ja’Marr Chase or AJ Brown by absolutely bodying a defensive back, but the football seems to travel through windows the size of a red solo cup and meet Lockett’s hands on the other side of the traffic far more often than what seems possible. He’s essentially a warlock.
Lockett’s game is going to continue aging well, and you should buy, especially if you’re a contender because the price is legitimately a 2nd round pick or worse for a guy who has finished inside the top 15 each of the last four seasons. Similar to Metcalf, folks are worried about this room being crowded and think of the old offensive stereotypes attached to the Seattle Seahawks. I’m not saying all three receivers are going to finish in the top 12, but each is going to be relevant in their own ways, especially from a dynasty perspective. There’s a lot of gas left in Lockett’s tank.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba | Wide Receiver | Seattle Seahawks | 21-Years-Old
Consensus Dynasty Rank: WR16 | Dynasty Startup ADP: WR14 | My Dynasty Rank: WR13
2022: Drafted 20th Overall | Ohio State | 6’ 1” 196 lbs.
Smith-Njigba, without question, is the best receiver in his class. For me personally, the only receiving prospects I’ve had higher in the last three drafts have been Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, and Garrett Wilson. He clears Olave, London, Burks, Bateman, Johnston, and the rest from those classes, for me.
As an alumni of Ohio State, you already know he is ridiculous at separating from defenders. He’s explosive on breaks, yet smooth as they come. He’s creative in his movement, yet efficient in getting there. He is, truly, just an awesome prospect across the board and a tremendous fit for the Seattle offense. By this time next season, I fully anticipate him being in that top five conversation at his position.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the 2nd WR ever to put up a 90+ PFF grade at age 19— Alex Caruso (@AlexCaruso) August 5, 2023
And out targeted both Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave in their last season together
While putting up 95 catches for 1,606 yards that year
Which could make JSN a steal at WR32
At this point, the vast majority of rookie drafts are complete. The training camp hype is oozing all over social media for players on the borderline of making the roster, let alone a stud such as Smith-Njigba. You know he is uber talented. Why wait a year to make a move for a player you know is going to jump to the upper-echelon at his position? As a prospect, at minimum, he’s seen as a peer to his old teammates in Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave – both of whom have admitted that Smith-Njigba is superior to them. Additionally, both Wilson and Olave are next to impossible to acquire after their rookie performances.
Beat the rush and make a move for a player who’s currently in the same tier as the likes of Drake London, Tee Higgins, DK Metcalf (or trade for Metcalf!), Cooper Kupp, or Davante Adams. At only 21-years-old, JSN’s value is only going to increase, and with a good rookie season, you’ll be trying to pluck him from a tier that holds AJ Brown, CeeDee Lamb, Jaylen Waddle, and Garrett Wilson.
Similar to the previous article I wrote that focuses on the receiving room of the Los Angeles Chargers, I want any of these guys at their current price. It’s rare that a team can provide relevance to three separate receivers on their roster; however, I’m in the business of obtaining talent. All three Metcalf, Lockett, and Smith-Njigba are high-level football players that I’m willing to bet on in their current situation, or really, anywhere they could end up.
Seattle, like Los Angeles, is throwing a highly-touted rookie into the pool and will see how quickly he can swim. If the impact is immediate, the ceiling of the offense rises, as does the week-to-week value of Metcalf and Lockett. And if not, some development will take place this season for JSN, and the offense will still lean on the two veterans as they have the previous few years. All three receivers hold a different level of cost – all three of which I’d be willing to pay depending on my roster construction.
Dylan Schroeder joined the Dynasty Pros staff in 2023. Before this, he was writing for his personal blog site UnderratedSportsFan.com, as well as a few other free lance opportunities throughout the years. He’s passionate about dynasty football, teaching, and coaching. You can view his thoughts and more fantasy football content from him on his Twitter @DSTweetedThis.