The Seattle Seahawks offense will be a contentious one this off-season. Before we are besieged by Petey "sunshine" Carroll coach speak we should look at the offense heading into training camps.
Doug Baldwin's departure is the scenario under which we've operated all off-season. When the Seahawks selected three wide receivers in the draft they threw their cards on the table, face up. What those cards showed is not that they will unleash Russel Wilson and trend their offense to a pass heavy one, but instead that they are now insulated to release Doug Baldwin via a failed physical (which we saw them do shortly after the draft).
In short order we see Seattle with the 12th most targets available (142) accounting for 35% (5th most available) of the Seahawks passing market share! Going into 2019, Air Yards become available in abundance as well. 1119 yards- 30% of the teams total air yards from 2018. Most importantly, in the last three seasons we saw either Doug Baldwin or Jimmy Graham (both gone) lead Seattle in Red Zone targets.
If Seattle has 35% of their targets available, Air Yards galore, and the most high leverage targets up for grabs (Red Zone, short yardage, 3rd downs) it behooves us to project who plays where in this offense. Determining who replaces Doug Baldwin is priority one. Since 2014, leaving last season out, Baldwin had 21%, 23%, 22% and 22% of the team's marke t share. Shockingly, I found, going back 5 years to 2014, the Seahawks and Russ Wilson have thrown over half of their Touchdowns to either Doug Baldwin or the Tight End position (54.4%) including 70% in 2016!
Tyler Lockett will be moved around the formation, but a majority of the time he assumes the slot role and inherits most of the Doug Baldwin role, as he did when Baldwin was injured last season. He emulated and surpassed the efficiency Baldwin and Wilson had displayed in the past, becoming the first receiver since 1991 to have 57 or fewer catches and at least 165 fantasy points in standard leagues. Any rumblings regarding regression can certainly be compensated by an increase in volume as well as the 50+% red zone work available.
The outside receivers will draw a lack of consensus. We expect D.K. Metcalf to occupy the field-stretching perimeter role with David Moore complimenting him on the opposite side. Moore, having caught 5 touchdowns in 2018, seems the leader in the clubhouse for numerous reasons to grab that second spot on the perimeter.
Gary Jennings Jr. is in consideration as he has experience in a slot role. However, he is immediately battling a hamstring issue and has yet to get on the field. These early setbacks can be hard for early development. John Ursua is a Wide Receiver out of Hawaii who had 18 Touchdowns in his final collegiate campaign. However, the strength of competition can possibly dismiss this. He is one of the older prospects I've seen who didn't break out until age 23.6!
Going back to the 54.4% of touchdowns going to Baldwin or the tight end position since 2014, Seattle will undeniably offer us a sleeper tight end. We expect Will Dissly to be healthy and worked into red zone packages heavily. After displaying poor metrics, Dissly was touted as a blocking tight end, but showed much more before being injured. Nick Vannett is older, taller, and heavier. He can be a red-zone threat but was out targeted and showed little in the way of yards after catch compared to Dissly while both played.
The backfield in Seattle should create the most controversy. I'll start with the most controversial. Neither Rashaad Penny or Chris Carson will surpass 25 receptions. Travis Homer has impressed in Seahawks rookie mini-camps making it possible that both CJ Procise and JD McKissic are released or inactive on game-days. Not uncommon among dual threat quarterbacks, 2018 saw Russel Wilson hit the Running backs only 68 times, 34 of those to now departed Mike Davis. I expect Travis Homer will catch 20-30 passes leaving Carson and Penny with little passing work other than occasional dump offs.
The rushing load should diminish (for the love of god it has to), the main concern is constantly being in such obvious pass situations. Seattle used run-run-pass the most in the NFL. On early downs, Wilson's sack rate was 7.5% but on 3rd downs this rate shot up to 17% while Seattle was 27th in the league for 3rd down success rate in 2018. Rushes should continue to trend away from Wilson as well. He scrambled on only 5.9% of drop backs last year down from his 9% career avg.
We should see Chris Carson begin the season as the workhorse back, while Penny is stuck getting 8-15 touches. This will be a volatile backfield that could have a hot hand approach that roller coasters throughout the year.
This is how we see the value for fantasy come draft season: Tyler Lockett should be a top 50 player on your draft board and D.K. Metcalf will be your classic boom bust polarizing sleeper. David Moore is a last round flier who could be thrust into a very relevant role if injury plagues this wide receiver corps.
Will Dissly is a Tight End to target as your TE 2 or to start week 1 and stream. Chris Carson is the running back to own in Seattle and Travis Homer will have deep PPR appeal. Penny and Russ will likely be a round or two overpriced at points in the draft when value is still aplenty.
True North draft targets: Lockett early and David Moore late.