2018 Fantasy Football: Seattle Seahawks Team Outlook
After five straight playoff appearances and one Super Bowl victory with double-digit wins in each season, Seattle slipped to 9-7 while failing to make the postseason. Since 2003, the Seahawks have been in the playoffs 11 times with two other Super Bowl appearances. Pete Carroll has a career 112-79-1 record over 12 years as a head coach with his best success coming with the Seahawks (79-48-1 and a Super Bowl title). He has a 65-30-1 record over the last six seasons.
This year Seattle brought in Brian Schottenheimer to be the offensive coordinator after spending the last two seasons as the quarterback coach for the Indianapolis Colts. He’s held the OC job for nine other years in the NFL for two different franchises. Overall, Schottenheimer has 16 seasons of experience coaching in the NFL. Last season the Seahawks fell to 15th in offensive yards while scoring 366 points (11th).
After ranking in the top five in the NFL in yards allowed on defense for six straight years, Seattle fell to 11th in 2017. The Seahawks allowed the least number of points each year in the NFL from 2012 to 2016 before slipping to 3rd in 2016 (292) and 13th (332) last year. Ken Norton jumps from the 49ers to Seattle to take over as the defensive coordinator. He worked in the Seahawks system from 2010 to 2014 before landing the defensive coordinator job in Oakland for three seasons. Norton has nine years of coaching experience in the NFL and 13 seasons as a player.
In the offseason, Seattle flipped a good portion of their roster. They signed seven players. The Seahawks released eight players who signed with other teams while having nine other options that remain in the free agent pool.
Seattle decided to part ways with CB Richard Sherman after a long successful career in pass coverage. The Seahawks moved on from CB DeShawn Shead who missed most of last season with a knee injury. Shead started to flash upside in 2016 when he set a career high in tackles (81) and defended passes (14). S Maurice Alexander signed in the offseason after missing 12 games in 2017 with a shoulder injury. Alexander flashed some upside in 2016 when he made 50 tackle with one sack, four defended passes and two Ints.
The offense takes a downgrade at TE after Jimmy Graham signed with the Packers and backup TE LukeWillson found a new home in Detroit. Graham didn’t play as well in his days with the Saints, but he did offer scoring ability. He played through an ankle injury in 2017 leading to fade in his explosiveness. Seattle added Ed Dickson for depth at TE.
The Seahawks settled on Sebastian Janikowski as the kicker in 2018 while giving Blair Walsh his walking papers. Seattle saw enough of Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy at the running back position.
DT Sheldon Richardson will be tough to replace on defense after he signed with Vikings. Richardson played well vs. the run while adding pass rushing ability. Seattle replaced him on the roster with DT TomJohnson who only has rotation value with neutral value against the run with minimal upside rushing the QB.
Seattle lost WR Paul Richardson to the Redskins while taking a swing on WR Brandon Marshall and WR Jaron Brown. After battling injuries early in his career, Richardson became a relevant starter in 2017. Marshall has a great resume in the NFL, but 2017 was a lost season due to an ankle injury. Brown played well in a couple of games last year for the Cardinals, but he’s yet to earn a starting job in the NFL.
The Seahawks signed G D.J. Fluker after struggling over the last three years. Fluker started to show upside in his second year in the league after the Chargers drafted him in the first round in 2013. Seattle lost T Matt Tobin to the Patriots. Tobin is only a low-level backup.
The only other player of value added to the roster was LB Barkevious Mingo. He’s another former first-round draft pick (2013) whose never played up to expectations.
Update: S Kam Chancellor has not been medically cleared and although he has not retired, he announced that he will likely not play again.
With only one draft pick over the first two rounds, Seattle invested in RB Rashaad Penny in the first round. He comes to the NFL with average RB speed (4.46) with his best asset being his short area quickness. Penny has a power look (5’11” and 220 lbs.), but he does need to get stronger. Rashaad runs with vision with the acceleration to hit a hole at the line of scrimmage if he sees daylight. His decision making in play development needs work, and his route running is a work in progress.
Three of their next four picks were dictated toward improving the defense – DE Rasheem Green, LB Shaquem Griffin, and S Tre Flowers.
Green is the type of swing NFL teams need to take in the draft. He has the foundation skill set to develop into a run stopper with pass rushing ability once he adds more strength and improves his foundation to hold his base vs. power. Rasheem comes to the NFL with quickness and a feel to create separation from blockers. His next step is growth in his technique and his hands while adding more fight to his game.
Griffin is an undersized linebacker (6’0” and 227 lbs.) with an explosive combination of speed (4.38) and strength. He plays with elite quickness and excellent vision. His game will work well in coverage with a willingness to attack vs. the run. Shaquem will need to avoid the big bodies when in run pursuit.
Flowers has risk in coverage while needing to improve his tackling. He’ll have an advantage in size (6’3’ and 202 lbs.), but he needs to fill out while adding more power to his game. Seattle will need to coach him up while looking like a project.
In the fourth round, the Seahawks drafted TE Will Dissly. His game is built more on the blocking side than improving the passing attack. Dissly lacks route running with questions about his ability to separate at the second level of the defense. His hands grade well with a solid feel for the game.
Seattle added P Michael Dickson in the 5th round and QB Alex McGough in the seventh.
Their other two selections were T Jamarco Jones (5th) and LB Jake Martin (6th).
Jones is slow footed power player inviting risk and upside at the next level. His resume has left tackle experience even with his shortfalls. Jamarco can beat on the outside by speed with power being a problem on the inside. Maybe Jones was just out of shape at the combined after a shoulder injury in 2017. A boring type player with a chance to be league average player with more strength added to his game.
Martin has pass rushing skill despite his lack of size (6’3” and 230 lbs.), which pushes him to linebacker in the NFL. He has a nice combination of speed and quickness with athletic ability. Jake has a high motor with the hands to keep defenders off his body. His game has risk against the run. Overall, Martin looks to have a misplaced skill set at the next level.
Seattle fell to 23rd in rushing yards (1,629), which is beyond embarrassing when you subtract the run game of Russell Wilson (95/586/3). The Seahawks’ RBs gained 1,034 yards on 313 carries (3.3 yards per rush) with only one rushing TD. Overall, Seattle scored four rushing TDs while gaining 4.0 yards per rush with 12 runs over 20 yards. They averaged only 25.6 rushing attempts per game.
Despite the 14th ranking in passing yards (3,657), the Seahawks finished with 34 passing TDs and 12 Ints. Their offensive line allowed 43 sacks and 121 QB hits.
LT Duane Brown missed 12 games over the last two seasons after a long career with the Texans. He’s a former first-round draft pick (2008) who will start the year at age 33. Last year Brown was a league average player in all areas while grading as an edge in his eight previous seasons.
LG Ethan Pocic struggled in all areas in his rookie season after Seattle selected him in the second round. He’s worked hard in the offseason to add bulk and strength, which is a positive sign in 2018. Seattle desperately needs to improve their offensive line, and Pocic should be a move in the right direction. Ethan brings versatility to the O-line where his hands and his quickness are the keys to his success in both run and in pass protection. He does need a stronger foundation to help control his ground vs. power rushers. His run blocking will be his early strength while needing to improve his skills in pass blocking.
C Justin Britt was Seattle’s best offensive linemen in all areas in 2016 after struggling over his first two years in the league. Last year he had regression as run blocker with only neutral success in pass protection. The Seahawks drafted him in the second round in 2014.
RG D.J. Fluker missed ten games in 2017 and four games in 2015. His game has been an enormous liability in all areas over the last three seasons after showing some upside in 2014 at right tackle. Fluker is a former first-round draft pick (2013).
RT Germain Ifedi was Seattle’s first-round draft pick in 2016. He has a massive frame (6’6” and 324 Lbs.) with athletic ability. His best value should come in pass protection, but Ifedi still needs to improve his technique in pass blocking. Germain has a chance to play tackle in the pros with further development of his skill set. He made 13 starts at right guard in 2016 with way more losses than wins. His game improved in pass protection while being a black hole in the run game.
This offensive line has some talent and early round draft picks, but too many players continue to fall short of expectations. Maybe it’s the chicken and egg mentality in Seattle. Poor RB play didn’t help the line, which led to defenses being able to tee off on the QB in the pass rush. With so many question marks in all areas, I expect this line to rank well below the league average again in 2018. On the positive side, it can’t get any worse for the run game.
The above data shows the strength of schedule as far as rushing attempts (RATT), rushing yards (YDS), yards per attempt rushing (YA), rushing touchdowns (TDs), completions (COMP), passing attempts (PATT), passing yards (YDS), yards per attempt passing (YA), and passing touchdowns (TDS).
This information is based on 2017, which will work as our starting point for 2018. We’ll look at all the changes on offense on each team in the NFL plus the upgrades and downgrades on each team on the defensive side. We’ll update this table when we finish the research on all 32 teams.
2017 LG Average = the league average of all stats from all 32 teams in 2017.
2017 Results = this is the results for each team in the NFL.
2017 Adjustment is based on the 2017 league average and the 2017 results for each team, this number will show if each team is above or below the league average in each stat category and the basis for the strength of schedule.
Seattle will get tested in the run game early in the year with two tough matchups (DEN and ARI) over the first four weeks while ending the season with three poor games (CAR, MIN, and ARI) over the last six weeks. Their only favorable game looks to be against the Chargers.
In the passing game, the Seahawks will get challenged in three games (DEN, LAC, and MIN) with one other mid-tier game (CHI). Their best four games should come against the Lions, the Chiefs, the Raiders, and the Packers.
There is no doubt the offense in Seattle runs through Russell Wilson. Ideally, the Seahawks would like to be more balanced on offense, which would be helped by better play on the offensive line and at the RB position. From 2012 to 2015, Seattle had ranked 3rd, 4th, 1st, and 3rd in rushing yards while averaging well over 30 attempts per game.
QB Russell Wilson – In 2017, Wilson was the best QB in the land. His top ranking came via a rebound in his value in the run game (95/586/3) while matching his career high in passing TDs (34). His completion rate (61.3) is trending backward after peaking in 2015 (68.1). Russell set a career high in pass attempts (553), which still ranks only about league average per game (34.6). Over the last three years, Wilson improved his floor to about 4,500 combined yards with two special seasons in combined TDs (2015 – 35 and 2017 – 37). He enters 2018 with a drop down at TE, which should be offset by the addition of WR Brandon Marshall. I expect better success in the run game, which will help lower the sack total and improve Russell’s ability to get the ball downfield. Wilson is a great player who makes the players around him better. His upside is 5,000 combined yards with 35+ TDs, but it would require Marshall to play at a high-level. I’m going to set his bar at his recent success (4,500 combined yards with 30+ TDs) while understanding a weaker defense will force him to throw the ball more late in games when trailing on the scoreboard.
Other Options: Austin Davis, Alex McGough
RB Rashaad Penny– In 2016, Penny gained 1,242 combined yards with 14 TDs and 15 catches while receiving 141 combined touches. San Diego State worked him hard in his senior year leading to 308 touches for 2,383 combined yards with 25 TDs and 19 catches. Even more impressive in his college career was his eight kicks returned for TDs. Rashaad average 30.2 yards over his 81 kickoffs leading to 2,449 yards and seven TDs while also returning one of his two career punt returns for a TD. His success was greatly helped by poor defensive play at the second and third levels of defenses in his conference, which won’t be the case in the NFL. Penny follows his blockers well while running with patience. He has an uncanny feel to hit the gas at the right time to create big windows in the run game. His experience in the passing game is limited, but Rashaad is going to be a tough cover for linebackers. Most of his highlight came from explosive plays. Penny still has to have vision and acceleration to finish his opportunities. There’s a lot to like here even with much smaller lanes to run through in Seattle. There is no doubt the Seahawks will work him hard in 2018. Possible 300 touches for 1,400 yards with eight to ten TDs and 25+ catches. The key to his upside will be his ability to steal touches on passing downs. Rashaad is the best back on the roster, which points to his role/opportunity gaining momentum as the season moves forward.
Update: 8/15/2018 > Rashaad Penny suffered a broken finger, which required surgery. His timetable for recovery looks to be three-to-four weeks. Seattle's first game of the year is in 26 days giving Penny an outside shot at being on the field at least in a backup role. With Chris Carson already getting the RB1 tag early in camp, Penny will be the backup dancer early in the regular season. His upside is immense pointing to a better buy in drafts with his falling ADP (after round five). My best Fantasy advice would be to get a feel for his new draft value and target him as an upside RB3. His best value should come late in the season.
RB Chris Carson– In Week 2 in 2017, Carson emerged as the lead back for Seattle after gaining 100 combined yards with one catch on 21 touches. He followed that game with boring results over the next two weeks (52 combined yards with two catches on 13 touches and 66 combined yards with three catches on 15 touches) before an ankle injury ended his season. As a backup RB at Oklahoma State in 2015 and 2016, Chris gained 1,319 combined yards with 14 TDs and 30 catches on 243 touches. Seattle likes his game, and Carson should be the top option for carries on early downs behind Penny.
Update: 8/15/2018 > Chris Carson will enter the regular season as the starting back for Seattle, I expect him to move to the sidelines on passing down with J.D. McKissic edging out C.J. Prosise for the third-down role due to health concerns for Prosise. Carson is a talented enough to have success and stiff arm Penny for some time, but his ceiling is much lower. I expect Carson to gain draft value where he becomes over drafted as far as his full season-long value. The offensive line isn't great in Seattle and Russell Wilson does steal over 20 percent of the RB opportunity in that offense.
RB C.J. Prosise– Prosise has one season of value on his college resume. In 2015 at Notre Dame, C.J. rushed for 1,029 yards on 157 carries with 11 TDs. He averaged 6.6 yards per rush. Prosise had 26 catches for 308 yards and a TD as well. In 2014 as a WR, he caught 29 passes for 516 yards with two TDs. C.J. has the size (6’0” and 220 lbs.) to add value in pass protection, but his lack of experience leads to misreads and mistakes. Prosise runs with vision and patience, but he needs to take what the defense gives him if a hole isn’t open after the snap. Prosise flashed in two games in 2016 (Week 8 – 103 combined with four catches and Week 10 – 153 combined yards and seven catches). C.J. was well onto another big game in Week 11 (4/76/1), but he suffered a broken bone in his shoulder ending his season. 2017 ended up being a wasted season after suffering a left ankle injury early in the year. Last season he had 110 combined yards with six catches on 17 touches. Durability remains a considerable concern, but Prosise does have upside in the passing game. I don't view him as a handcuff to Rashaad Penny.
Update: 8/14/2018 > Prosise is banged up again in August (hip issue), which may be his ticket out of town. Real tough buy in Fantasy drafts until he proves he can stay healthy.
RB Mike Davis– Over his last two seasons at South Carolina, Davis rushed for 2,165 yards on 402 carries with 20 rushing TDs. He also caught 66 passes for 720 yards with two TDs. He tends to struggle when he starts to run parallel to the line of scrimmage where his foot speed lacks the acceleration to create separation from oncoming tackles. Davis runs with power between the tackles with some stutter steps and shoulder fakes that seem wasted in tight quarters. His hands are an asset, and Mike will be a serviceable outlet in the passing game. His pass blocking skills give him a chance to play on passing downs, but he doesn’t identify his mark pre snap. Davis needs to get in better shape. Over his first three seasons in the NFL, Mike only gained 542 combined yards with one TD and 25 catches on 147 combined touches.
Other Options: J.D. McKissic
WR Doug Baldwin– After trending up in 2015 (78/1069/14) and 2016 (94/1128/7), Baldwin failed to produce a season worthy of his ADP in 2017. He caught 75 of his 116 targets for 991 yards and eight TDs. Doug finished with only two games with over 100 yards receiving with a miserable end to the year over his last seven starts (21 catches for 453 yards and five TDs on 37 targets). Over first eight games, Baldwin had four games with double-digit targets (15, 12, 10, and 12) while receiving seven targets or fewer in each of his last eight games. He plays for one of the top QBs in the games, but he’s averaged only 7.2 targets per game over the last three seasons. If Brandon Marshall plays well, Baldwin is going to slip to the second option in the passing game. It may not result in a drop in opportunity, but it may create more peaks and valleys from game to game. Not an edge for me at WR, but his ability to deliver some big games and TDs gives him the best value as a WR2 in PPR leagues. I’ll lower his projections to 80 catches for 1,000 yards with mid-level TDs.
8/3/2018 > Baldwin is battling a left knee issue that will keep him out for most of the preseason. Seattle suggests he'll be fine by the start of the regular season. I'd say proceed with caution in the early draft season until we have a better outlook on his health.
WR Brandon Marshall– Brandon had the best production of his career in 2015 (109/1502/14 on 173 targets). In 2016, he finished with only two games with over 100 yards receiving (6/101 and 8/114/1). Over his last ten games in 2016, Marshall had only one TD with four catches or fewer in eight games while playing through a hip, a shoulder, and a foot injury. Last year Brandon crushed Fantasy owners in Week 1 (1/10 on four targets) and Week 2 (1/17 on five targets) while having a slight pulse in his next two games (8/66 and 6/46) thanks to a massive bump in targets (11 and 10). His season ended in Week 5 (2/15) with a left ankle injury, which required surgery. At age 34, Fantasy owners have lost faith even with seven seasons with over 1,000 yards receiving and five years with 100 catches or more. Over 172 career games, Marshall has 82 TDs. The real question here is if Brandon has any heart left in his game or is he content collecting a paycheck in the booth? Seattle doesn’t throw the ball enough for him to be a WR1 in the Fantasy market even with a rebound season. Possible 70+ catches for 900+ yards with about seven TDs, but I need to see positive reports over the summer. I’m only shopping here if his price point is favorable.
Update: 8/14/2018 > For the first time all summer, there was a positive blurb from the Seattle coaching staff about the direction of Brandon Marshall. He's a talented player with a long resume of success while having a clear to opportunity if Marshall can regain his health. Still a late flier, but his recent news will give a push slightly up draft boards.
WR Tyler Lockett– The early report in 2016 suggested Lockett suffered a torn PCL in his knee in Week 1 leading to his step back in production in his second year in the league. Tyler did flash in Week 2 (4/99), but he was only on the field for 27 plays with only four targets. He barely saw the field over the next two games (23 and 14 plays). From Week 3 to Week 16, he had four catches or fewer in 11 games and fewer the 50 yards receiving in ten games. His season ended in Week 16 with a broken leg. Thanks to one big run (75 yards), Lockett finished with a career-high in combined rushing and receiving yards (711) with only two TDs. In 2017, Tyler had another boring season (45/555/2) with a career-high 71 targets. His best success came in Week 8 (6/121) and Week 14 (4/90/1). Over his last 12 games of the year, Lockett had fewer than 40 yards receiving in ten games. Tyler hasn’t been healthy over the last two seasons, which gives him a chance to be more explosive in 2018. He remains the WR3 as long as Brandon Marshall remains upright. With weakness at TE, Lockett may very set a career high in catches, receiving yards, and targets. I’ll start the bidding at a 5/700/5 type season.
Other Options: Jaron Brown, Amara Darboh, Marcus Johnson, David Moore, Keenan Reynolds
TE Ed Dickson – The last man standing at TE for the Seahawks is Mr. Dickson. As a fill in for the injured Greg Olsen in 2017, Ed had his best season (30/437/1 on 48 targets) since his sophomore campaign (54/528/5 on 89 targets) with the Ravens. Dickson only had one game of value in 2017 (5/175 on five targets) thanks to him being overlooked in the deep passing game by the Lions in Week 5. Over his next 11 games, he only has a combined 19 catches for 166 yards and one TD on 34 targets. There’s no Fantasy upside here even if he’s named the starter.
Other Options: Nick Vannett, Will Dissly, Tyrone Swoopes, Clayton Wilson
K Sebastian Janikowski – The mule had his best season since 2012 in 2016. He made 29 of 35 field goals with five of his misses coming from 50 yards or beyond. Oakland gave him eight chances from long range (3-for-8), which was a step back in success based on his last seven years (33-for-51). Sebastian missed three of his 78 extra chances over the last two years. He missed all of 2017 with a hip issue. This season he’ll start the year at age 40. Last year Seattle scored 43 TDs while creating 29 field goal attempts. Decent leg, but he has a lot to prove in 2018.
Seattle will get tested in the run game twice (DAL and CAR) in 2018. They have three games (DET and ARI X 2) vs. teams that struggled to run the ball last year. The Cardinals will be improved for sure on the ground with David Johnson back in the starting lineup.
The Seahawks have five games (DET, LAC, KC, and SF) vs. teams that had success throwing the ball last year. Their pass defense will have an edge in three matchups (CHI, DAL, and CAR). Overall, they have a below-par schedule in the passing game.
Seattle fell to 19th in rushing yards allowed (1,824 yards) with 14 TDs and nine runs over 20 yards. Rusher gained 4.0 yards per carry with 28.2 attempts per game.
The Seahawks ranked 6th in passing yards allowed (3,347) with 19 TDs and 14 Ints. Their defenses finished with 39 sacks while holding QBs to 6.5 yards per pass attempts. They allowed only five completions over 40 yards.
DE Frank Clark has 19 sacks over his last 31 games, but he had decline in his tackles (32) in 2017 with risk defending the run. Seattle drafted Clark in the second round in 2015. His overall game should continue to improve. DE Dion Jordan will try to rekindle his career after the Dolphins in the first round in 2013. He missed 2015 and 2016 while only suiting up for five games last year. All other options on the depth chart offer minimal upside.
DT Jarran Reed moved to a neutral defender in his second year in the NFL. He posted a career-high in tackles (45) with 1.5 sacks and one defended passes. Reed projects as a rotational player on early downs. Seattle will be in rebuilding mode at the second defensive tackle position as well. Their roster is full of risk in all areas at this position.
LB K.J Wright has over 100 tackles in each of his last four seasons. Last year he failed to record a sack with success in pass protection (six defended passes and one Int). Wright has been an edge on defense in each of the last seven seasons while grading well in run support. LB Bobby Wagner has 300 combined tackle in the previous two years. Last season he had 1.5 sacks, six defended passes, two Ints, and one TD. Wagner was the best linebacker in the NFL last season. LB Barkevious Mingo set a career high in tackles (47) in 2017 with two sacks and two defended passes. At best, he’s a league average player with risk in run support.
S Kam Chancellor missed seven games last season and nine other games in 2015 and 2016. When healthy, Chancellor remains one of the top players at his position in the game. Cam played well vs. the run last year with a high-level of success defending the pass.Update: S Kam Chancellor has not been medically cleared and although he has not retired, he announced that he will likely not play again. S Earl Thomas wants to get paid, and he’s going to hold out this season. Thomas finished with 88 tackles, seven defended passes, two Ints, and one Int in 2017 with high marks in coverage.
CB Byron Maxwell regained his form in coverage over his last 22 games. Over seven games with Seattle last year, Maxwell had 38 tackles, seven defended passes, and one Int. His game does have risk when he doesn’t have support over the top, which will happen less in 2018 with Richard Sherman no longer on the roster. CB Shaquill Griffin handled himself well in his rookie season after getting drafted in the third round. Griffin picked up 59 tackles, one sack, 15 defended passes, and one Int. Griffin is athletic with playmaking ability. His speed (4.38) gives him a chance at cornerback, but his overall game is better suited for safety while moving forward where he can read and react. Shaquill should work well in press coverage, but he can get beat in the deep passing game as his plays speed doesn’t offer the length to cover the long field vs. elite speed receivers.
The second and third level of this defense still has talent, but the interior of the defensive line will have risk defending the run. Seattle has one edge pass rusher with a huge void on the other side of the field. I expect regression on defense, but they will still compete well vs. weaker offenses. Only a backup Fantasy defense in 2018 while being in rebuilding mode.
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