June 24, 2024

2023 Seattle Seahawks Fantasy Preview

State of 2022 (Class)
Points per game: 23.9 (9th)
Total yards per game: 351.5 (13th)
Plays per game: 61 (23rd)
Pass Attempts + Sacks per game: 34.9 (16th)
Reverse EPA per game: .060 (11th)
Rush attempts per game: 25 (22nd)
Rush EPA per game: -0.071 (19th)

Training Team
Pete Carroll, at age 71, still chewing gum, enters his 14th season as Seattle’s head coach. Carroll is fresh off a season of vindication: the Seahawks selected him over Russell Wilson, who proved he was more than just a game manager in his first year out of Seattle. I was all wrong about Carroll. He didn’t let Russ cook because he knew Russ couldn’t cook. My analytical brain could not see that.

The Seahawks this offseason added two coaches to the defensive staff, hiring Roy Anderson as the team’s secondary coach and BT Jordan as a pass rush specialist. Jordan will be working with a defensive line that Pro Football Focus grades as the fifth-worst pass-rushing unit in 2022.

On the offensive side, Greg Olson will replace Dave Canales – now Tampa’s offensive coordinator – as Seattle’s quarterbacks coach. Canales played a key role in attracting a stellar 2022 campaign from journeyman Geno Smith.

It’s fantasy football season! Master your draft with the Rotoworld Football Draft Guide 2023. Get regularly updated rankings, profiles, mock drafts and more. Click here and use promo code Draft2023 to save 20% at checkout.

Offense to Travel
QB: Geno Smith, Drew Lock
WR: DK Metcalf, Dareke Young
WR: Tyler Lockett, Dee Eskridge
WR: Jaxon Smith-Ngiba, Cody Thompson
TE: Noah Fant, Will Dissley

Geno Smith proved many haters and losers wrong in his first season as Seattle’s quarterback, leading the NFL (by a wide margin) in completion rate more than expected and finishing seventh in pass success rate, just behind Joe Burrow. Smith feasted on intermediate throws to his dominant wide receiver duo; he threw just under 11 percent of his attempts in 2022, ranking 16th out of 24 qualifying QBs. Rubbing deep might be a good idea for Geno and Seattle’s 2023 offense: Tua Tagovailoa only had a better completion rate on attempts longer than 20 yards.

There is some reason to doubt that opposing defenses were figuring out Geno and the Seahawks’ running attack in the second half of the 2022 season. Geno’s efficiency dropped slightly and his raw numbers dropped through most of the final two months of the season. His willingness to challenge the secondary allowed defenses to hit the line and stop the intermediate throws that were so effective in September and October. Still, Geno should be a useful superflex option with plenty of streaming appeal in good scoring environments. The good news for fantasy purposes is that Geno’s win-loss numbers haven’t changed much. It doesn’t feel like a script-sensitive fantasy option.

The Seahawks taking Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft has raised a lot of questions about the team’s pass-catching pecking order, which, so far, has been as clear as any in the NFL: Lockett and Metcalf have dominated targets and no one else has seen a consistent look. That all changes with Smith-Njigba, who missed all but three games last season at Ohio State due to nagging hamstring issues.

JSN ran almost exclusively from the slot during his three collegiate seasons. In 2021, he posted an impressive 3.56 yards per carry as Ohio State’s slot man. If he were to assume the same role in Seattle’s offense, JSN would likely make Lockett a full-time boundary receiver. Lockett in 2022 ran 43 percent of his pass routes from the slot. He wasn’t particularly effective in the role, as he ranked 33rd in wideout yards per route from the slot. Lockett, who was seventh in yards per rushing on downfield goals last season, could be better used as a permanent outside receiver. Fantasy drafters should consider taking advantage of Lockett’s dismal re-draft ADP this summer. You can get him as your WR3 or WR4 if you go heavy on receiver in the first few rounds.

Smith-Njigba will be tied to the death grip that Lockett and Metcalf have had on the Seahawks’ targets in recent years. In 2022, Metcalf and Lockett took in 49 percent of the team’s targets. No one else saw more than 10 percent of the goals. JSN’s target share — whether it’s as low as 15 percent or as high as 20 percent — will benefit both Lockett and Metcalf.

And while Lockett is being drafted in the WR32-35 range — around JSN — Metcalf is still going as a WR15. I understand that Metcalf is a freakish athlete who makes other corners look silly. But math is math, and we could easily see his 141 goals from a year ago dip into the 120s – or lower, depending on how effective Smith-Njigba’s intermediate goal is. That’s a wordy way of saying I’d rather draft Chris Olave, Tee Higgins, or Amari Cooper over Metcalf at similar ADPs. No offense to the guy who somehow has 16-pack abs.

Fant and Dissly are not streaming options unless one or the other misses time. As promising as Fant’s profile was going into the NFL, he still doesn’t lead in targets. He saw more than four targets only four times in 2022. Both Seattle tight ends can be left on the waiver wire.

Rushing offense
RB: Ken Walker, Zach Charbonnet, DeeJay Dallas
OL (CD): Charles Cross, Damien Lewis, Evan Brown, Phil Haynes, Abraham Lucas

As explosive as Ken Walker was in his rookie campaign — he led the league in pass breakup rate, per PFF — he was a decidedly bad pass catcher out of the Seahawks’ backfield. That could be among the reasons Walker’s route running success and targets dried up during the final month and a half of the regular season, amid a string of 100-yard rushing performances from the rookie.

Walker is certainly worth his average RB14-16 draft position, but I fear his fantasy ceiling could be severely capped this year after the Seahawks took UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet with the 52nd pick in the 2023 draft. The Seattle coaches, including Carroll, have made it pretty clear that the team’s backfield plays a key role heading into the regular season.

“It’s so versatile. It will be a great fit and addition,” Carroll told Charbonnet in May. “And really, we’re going to find out how far he can take it in terms of the acceptance part of it. We know he is very good at it. But so will Kenneth, so those people will fight.” Carroll later described Charbonnet, who had 2,496 rushing yards and 27 rushing touchdowns in his final two years at UCLA, as “a complete ball player.”

Charbonnet, coming off the draft board in the RB35-38 range, is my favorite Seattle back, mainly because he’s as likely as Walker to dominate the backfield. Both current backs have high contingency value: If either misses significant time in 2023, the other will be a top-12 fantasy play locked up. My gut — and years of crying about Carroll’s love of setting up the run — tells me the Seahawks will do anything and everything to return to a balanced offense if it’s not run first in 2023. While that would be devastating for those who take Metcalf at WR15, it could be glorious for Walker or Charbonnet.

DeeJay Dallas could be a fantasy knife on the side of the two main Seahawks running backs this season. The pass-catching specialist could eat into third-down snaps and the offense’s two minutes. Rookie Kenny McIntosh, who has drawn praise from Seahawks coaches last season, could figure into the team’s backfield plans if they see a rash of running back injuries in 2023.

Get ready for a fantasy football season with the latest news, draft strategies, and more from our experts at the Rotoworld Football Show podcast. Listen here or download it wherever you get your podcasts.

Win Total
Win Over / Under: 8.5

With the league’s tenth easiest schedule, according to Sharp Football Analysis, JSN added to an efficient, productive passing offense, and (hopefully for the team) a little more injury luck on the offensive line and defense, I struggle to see how the Seahawks won’t surpass their 8.5 win total in 2023. I like the Seahawks to make the postseason again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *