In an era of football that seems to be slanting a little more towards analytics each year, the 2018 Seahawks were the NFL’s rebuttal on the analytics movement. Despite having one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Seattle ran the ball 52.4% of the time en route to a 10-5-1 season. We’ll see if they will continue that style of play in 2019, and exactly what kind of fantasy value they can produce.

Team Preview

Key Departures:

Mike Davis, RB; Doug Baldwin, WR; Earl Thomas, S; Kam Chancellor, S

Key Acquisitions:

D.K. Metcalf, WR; Gary Jennings, WR; Ziggy Ansah, DE

2019 Fantasy MVP

Russell Wilson, QB

The Seahawks’ run-heavy ways did not stop Wilson from being a QB1 in 2018. Despite passing for less than 3,500 yards, and hitting the second-lowest rushing total of his career, Wilson was able to make it as a fantasy passer through insane efficiency. He averaged 8.1 yards per pass attempt, and threw a TD pass on 8.2% of his throws.

So what will he do for an encore? For starters, I am expecting more passing this year by Seattle. It is very difficult to consistently play in the sort of game scripts that allow for so much running, and Seattle’s defense could regress with Earl Thomas now out of the mix. Opponents threw the ball more, and more effectively, with Thomas off the field in 2018. They averaged 6.9 yards allowed per pass attempt with him on the field, and 8.1 yards allowed per pass attempt with him off. If teams can score more against Seattle, it will force them to throw more in 2019.

The Seahawks also have some financial incentive to utilize Wilson more. They just signed him to a four-year, $140 million contract, with $107 million guaranteed. It’s difficult to pay someone that much money and then throw the ball less than any other team in the league. Wilson probably doesn’t match his 2018 efficiency, but he has a career 7.9 yards per attempt and 6.0% TD-rate. He could very well be the top overall QB scorer this year.

2019 Fantasy LVP

Chris Carson, RB

Carson performed very well last season, totalling over 1,300 yards with nine TDs. He was a top 15 fantasy RB. However, there are a few things going against him this season, that I think will make it difficult for him to repeat that performance. Of course, if I expect Seattle to throw more, that means running less, which would hurt Carson. But there is more than that.

Last offseason, the Seahawks drafted RB Rashaad Penny at the end of the first round. However, after having wrist surgery, Penny showed up to camp out of shape (reportedly around 240 pounds), and was unable to pick up enough reps to take the starting job from Carson. Now, the roles appear to be reversed. Carson has missed all offseason activities with a knee injury, while Penny has slimmed down to 228 pounds, much closer to his pre-draft weight. Given that Carson was a seventh-round pick taken prior to this offensive coaching staff showing up, they may roll out the player they hand-picked in 2018 instead.

Carson also does not appear to be much of a pass-catcher. He caught just 30 balls in his career at pass-heavy Oklahoma State, and just 20 last season, ceding pass-game work to Mike Davis. It is a lot more difficult to score fantasy points when relying on only rushing.

2019 Breakout Player

D.K. Metcalf, WR

Expecting a breakout for Penny seems implied based on what I think about Carson, so I’ll go in a different direction here. The rookie Metcalf was one of the most polarizing prospects heading into this year’s NFL Draft. He ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at the Combine, while showing up at six feet three inches and 228 pounds. However, some realms of #AnalyticsTwitter believe that Metcalf was not productive enough while at Ole Miss to make a meaningful impact in the NFL.

I’m not so sure I agree. Metcalf is in what I would consider to be an ideal spot for his talents. He was extremely efficient at Ole Miss, averaging 18.3 yards per reception for his career, and 21.9 yards per reception in his final year. To help contextualize that, Metcalf had exactly half as many receptions as A.J. Brown did when both players were healthy, but just one less receiving yard. Metcalf was also four for seven on go routes. Pairing one of the most efficient WRs in college football with perhaps THE most efficient QB is a match made in Heaven.

Seattle also has plenty of targets to distribute. Doug Baldwin was the team’s target leader in 2018, but has since retired due to multiple injuries. Mike Davis and Brandon Marshall will also not be back with the club in 2019. Those three players totaled 138 targets last year. There is opportunity for a breakout rookie season.

Final Thoughts:

One thing I didn’t mention yet is the insane season that Tyler Lockett had in 2018. He had 965 yards and 10 TDs on just 70 targets. Lockett is the first WR ever to post at least 900 yards and eight TDs on less than 80 targets. He is yet another cog in what should be an efficient Seattle passing attack.

The beauty of buying Seahawks is that they can all do damage on little volume, especially in DFS. Last year, Seattle was one of just two teams to have more than three different occurrences of a WR having 15 or more DKFP on four or less targets (the other was Cleveland). Their efficiency should make them valuable in just about any spot.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is amicsta) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.