The annual debate surrounding Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is upon us: To cook, or not to cook? That is the question concerning fantasy football players considering investing draft capital in Seattle players in the coming weeks.
Whether or not Wilson cooks, his tight end Gerald Everett will.
Everett joined the Seahawks this offseason on a one-year deal after steady improvement in each of his first four years in the NFL with the Rams. He started seven games in 2020 but split time with Tyler Higbee, which cannibalized both of their fantasy relevance week to week. Everett finished last season as the TE26 while splitting time at his position, and Jared Goff was his quarterback. He enters his first season in Seattle with little competition for targets and a massive upgrade at quarterback. His average draft position (ADP) has ever so slightly accounted for those changes. You can get Everett at TE21, and at that value outside of the top 150 picks, you should.
Who is Wilson’s new weapon?
Everett has improved upon his targets, catch, and yardage totals every season. He posted 42 catches on 62 targets for 417 yards in 2020. Last year with the Rams, Everett was fourth on the team in targets behind Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Josh Reynolds; however, he only had one touchdown.
That’s the biggest flaw in Everett’s game from a fantasy perspective: His aversion to the end zone. He has just eight receiving touchdowns in 61 career games. That touchdown deficiency could be because he’s underutilized in the red zone. His highest finish in red-zone targets was a tie for 60th in 2018 when he saw 11 looks inside the 20. Everett converted two of those for scores and had a career-best three touchdown catches that season. The knock-on many tight ends is that they're touchdown dependent, and with Everett, you can't rely on touchdowns. In his new home, those numbers might improve. Wilson has been top three in the NFL in passing touchdowns each of the past four seasons. In 2020, he threw multiple touchdown passes to seven different players and doubled Goff's touchdowns.
Seattle’s tight end tendencies
There's volume to be had for Everett in the Seattle offense with the departure of three of the team's top six pass-catchers. David Moore left for Carolina in the offseason, and his 47 targets were third-most on the team. Chris Carson followed closely with 46 targets, and then came the Seahawks three-headed tight end monster — a menace to fantasy owners. Jacob Hollister, Greg Olsen, and Will Dissly were fifth, sixth, and seventh in targets with 40, 37, and 29, respectively. The only player remaining from that tight end group is Dissly, who has never had 30 targets in a single season.
Moore’s replacement appears to be Freddie Swain, who saw just 21 balls come his way in his rookie season. Seattle also spent a second-round pick on receiver D’Wayne Eskridge from Western Michigan. Still, it's not unrealistic for Everett to compete for the third-most targets on the team.
In the last few years, the tight end position has been a wasteland in the Seahawks' offense. You have to go back to 2017 to find the last team Seattle supported a TE1, Jimmy Graham's final season with the team. He exploded for 10 touchdowns. Everett is no Graham, but there's an opening in the offense for him, and Wilson has shown he's willing to pepper his tight ends with targets. As long as those targets aren't split among the tight end room as they were last season, Everett is a steal so late in drafts.
The other Ram heading to Seattle
The "Will Russ Cook?" question hinges largely on new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. He came from the Sean McVay coaching tree and was the Rams' pass game coordinator for the past three seasons. Before that, he was Los Angeles' tight ends coach Everett's rookie season.
Waldron was not the one calling plays in Los Angeles, but while he was passing game coordinator, the Rams passed the ball at a higher rate than the Seahawks. Pete Carroll may push back on that, but for what Waldron could scheme up for Goff in LA, his job becomes a lot easier working with Wilson. The Rams did employ two tight-end sets in the past, which is exactly what fantasy owners want Everett to escape. At least Everett's edge in talent and experience put him atop the tight end room and, in terms of pass-catching ability, comfortably near the top of the team's pass-catchers, too.
Don't overthink this—if Everett is still available in your draft when kickers and defenses are coming off the board, you've found a draft-worthy sleeper.
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