As of now, Geno
Smith is listed as QB1 in Seattle ahead of Lock. I don’t care.
One of two things are going to happen. Either Smith is going to
hold onto the job, rendering it useless for fantasy purposes since
we all know the veteran is a prototypical game manager. Or the
team is just making Lock “earn” the top job, allowing them to
get a look at a quarterback that’s six years younger and has the
kind of athleticism to at least approximate some of what Russell
Wilson did over the past decade.
In a division that features three playoff teams, including both
clubs in last year’s NFC Championship Game and eventual
Super Bowl champion, the Seahawks are in a rebuild, whether they
want to say it on the record or not. So, even if Smith emerges
from camp as QB1, it’s hard to see a scenario where the
offense isn’t turned over the Lock at some point.
Lock has flashed some potential in three years with the Broncos,
but he made too many mistakes, and it was clear Denver’s
coaching staff had lost confidence in him last season given how
they played an injured Teddy Bridgewater rather than turn the
keys to the offense over to Lock. There’s a lot to like
about Lock’s raw talent, and as noted he has the kind of
athleticism that could supplement a run-heavy approach with read
options and designed runs.
Seattle has Lock under contract for one more year, and it behooves
them to see if he has an NFL future. There’s no reason to draft
Lock, but he’s someone that could be stuck on watch lists to see
what a change of scenery does for him.
For the vast majority of his first four years in the NFL, Penny
looked every bit the prototypical bust. He dealt with injuries
at inopportune times, which included a torn ACL in 2019 that happened
just when it looked like he might be turning the corner, and only
displayed the talent that led to him being the 27th overall pick
in 2018 in extremely limited doses. Until last winter that is,
when over the final five games of 2021, Penny ran 92 times for
671 yards and five TDs -- that is a ridiculous 7.3 YPC.
Although those are monster numbers, they come with some major
caveats. First, Penny was fresh as a daisy, entering play on Dec.
12 last season with just 27 carries on the year to that point.
Second, he was running against generally poor defenses on teams
that had already kissed any postseason aspirations goodbye --
Houston, Chicago, Detroit, and the freefalling Cardinals. Third,
his one game against a good defense during that closing run was
an 11-carry, 39-yard outing against the Rams.
So, the question becomes how much do we read into his success?
Did something finally click? Or was Penny just the beneficiary
of facing the right opponents at the right time? The fact that
Seattle only handed him a one-year deal indicates they want to
see more before committing long term, and that’s something
fantasy owners should follow suit on. Consider Penny a borderline
RB3/RB4 with a low floor and a potentially high ceiling.
At first blush, it seemed to be a bit surprising to see Seattle,
which on paper had several more pressing needs, select Walker
in the second round of this year’s draft. When you think
about Pete Carroll’s long-time love affair with running
the ball, even at the expense of marginalizing a perennial Pro
Bowl QB, it begins to make more sense. The former Spartan enters
the NFL with the kind of burst and breakaway speed to be an immediate
big-play threat; that’s something the Seahawks need with
its passing game in a state of flux. The rookie is also considered
a physical back and a tough runner.
Where Walker still needs to show improvement is in the passing
game where scouting reports refer to him as unreliable in pass
protection and inexperienced catching passes out of the backfield.
While he’s capable of making things happen with the ball in space,
he may operate as an early-down option in the opening stages of
his career. Look for him and Penny to split time in the backfield,
if both are healthy.
Bear in mind that the Seahawks have Walker under team control
for the next four years, while Penny will be a free agent at the
end of this one. That means they’re likely to favor the
rookie’s development in what figures to be a down year in
Seattle, making Walker a low-end RB3.
Through three seasons, Metcalf has averaged 72 receptions, 1,057
yards, and 9.7 TDs per year -- though it’s worth noting
that he’s only topped 1,000 yards in a season once (2020).
Physically, there may not be another player at the position that
can match what the 6-foot-4, 235-pounder brings to the table.
He has blazing speed and is a threat every time he gets the ball
in his hands regardless of what kind of route he’s running.
Metcalf is also able to shrug off tackles from smaller defensive
backs, and his height makes him a tough cover in the red zone.
He’s the total package.
In the three-plus games that Smith played last year, Metcalf
compiled 23 receptions, 295 yards, and 5 TDs; over a 17-game schedule,
that pace would produce a 98-1,254-21 line. While no one should
expect that kind of production in 2022, the fact that the fourth-year
pro was able to produce despite the loss of Wilson last season
is a great sign for what he’ll be able to do with Smith
or Lock under center. Metcalf is the kind of player that doesn’t
need great quarterback play to deliver for fantasy owners, and
he should function as a solid WR2 this year.
Despite leading the team in receiving last year with 1,175 yards
on 73 receptions, Lockett doesn’t have the same rosy post-Wilson
outlook as Metcalf. At just 5-foot-10, 182 pounds, the veteran
has long been a downfield threat that parlayed a handful of excellent
games into solid year-end production. Such was the case during
the three and a half games helmed by Smith with Lockett producing
9 catches, 104 yards, and 0 TDs in the first two-plus games before
going off for a 12-142-0 line in Smith’s final start.
Yes, that pattern was seen during Lockett’s days with Wilson
as well, but the thing about Wilson is that he throws one of the
game’s best deep balls, so he and Lockett were always a
threat to go off for a big game. Smith and Lock both have plenty
to prove in that department. Plus, entering his age-30 season,
Lockett is unlikely to dramatically alter the way he plays the
game. Still, you can’t summarily dismiss a receiver that
has posted three consecutive 1,000-plus-yard seasons and scored
26 times during that stretch. If you can nab Lockett as a midrange
WR3 that feels about right.
Acquired from Denver in the Wilson trade, Fant replaces Gerald
Everett as the primary tight end for the Seahawks where the University
of Iowa product should be an upgrade. Entering his fourth season,
Fant has had to endure subpar quarterback play since entering
the NFL, which unfortunately is unlikely to change in 2022 with
either Lock, who is from the same draft class as Fant, or Smith,
who went nearly four years between starts, set to deliver the
On the plus side, being a steady underneath target is attractive
to the type of risk-averse approach that Carroll will want to
see from his signal-caller this year. Fant has topped 60 catches
and 650 yards in each of the past two seasons, and there’s
no reason to think he can’t replicate those kinds of numbers
in the Emerald City. While not the most exciting option, Fant
is still a borderline TE1 selection.