The Seahawks were supposed to be rebuilding after trading Russell Wilson. Instead, Geno Smith was one of the most effective passers in the game and they made a surprise playoff run. There's still plenty of offensive talent here to make another run.
Record: 9-8 (11)
PPG: 23.9 (9)
YPG: 351.5 (13)
Pass YPG: 231.4 (11)
Rush YPG: 120.1 (18)
PAPG: 33.7 (15)
RAPG: 25.0 (22)
2022 Fantasy finishes
Number to know: 34.8%
That's the share of Walker's carries in 2022 that went for more yards than expected, based on NFL NextGenStats' tracking data, which ranked 40th out of 48 qualified running backs. Per FootballOutsiders' Success Rate metric, Walker was second-worst at 42%. That's not to say Walker wasn't a good running back, to be clear -- he actually ranked 12th in NextGenStats' rush yards over expected per attempt metric, sandwiched between Josh Jacobs and Austin Ekeler. That's not bad company! It just means Walker was a boom-or-bust back, capable of ripping off big plays, but also often leaving yards on the field trying to search out the big play.
That's not an inherently bad skill set for a running back to have. In fact, for Fantasy, it might be preferable, because big plays are one way a running back can make himself stand out from the pack, especially if they aren't catching a ton of passes. It only becomes a problem if the coaching staff deems it a big enough one for Walker to start losing snaps and touches.
1. (5) Devon Witherspoon, DB
1. (20) Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR
2. (37) Derick Hall, DE
2. (52) Zach Charbonnet, RB
4. (108) Anthony Bradford, OL
4. (123) Cameron Young, DT
5. (151) Mike Morris, DE
5. (154) Olusegun Oluwatimi, C
6. (198) Jerrick Reed, SAF
7. (237) Kenny McIntosh, RB
87 RB carries, 30 RB targets, 52 WR targets, 0 TE targets
Rankings and Projections
Chris Towers' projections
|QB||Geno Smith||PA: 572, YD: 4175, TD: 29, INT: 11; RUSH -- ATT: 65, YD: 292, TD: 2|
|RB||Kenneth Walker||CAR: 238, YD: 1022, TD: 8; TAR: 34, REC: 25, YD: 181, TD: 1|
|RB||Zach Charbonnet||CAR: 130, YD: 544, TD: 5; TAR: 34, REC: 28, YD: 206, TD: 1|
|WR||DK Metcalf||TAR: 149, REC: 95, YD: 1152, TD: 8|
|WR||Tyler Lockett||TAR: 137, REC: 93, YD: 1074, TD: 8|
|WR||Jaxon Smith-Njigba||TAR: 97, REC: 63, YD: 758, TD: 4|
|TE||Noah Fant||TAR: 51, REC: 41, YD: 425, TD: 2|
How safe is Kenneth Walker's role?
There are other questions here, most notably how rookie WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba will be worked in. But it was the team's second second-round pick that raised the most eyebrows, as they added UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet. Walker had a solid rookie season, rushing for 1,050 yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games, but he was inconsistent, ranking close to the bottom in success rate among backs. Does the addition of Charbonnet just give a run-heavy coaching staff useful depth, or is he an actual threat to Walker's status as the RB1? It adds risk to his profile, if nothing else.
One sleeper, one breakout and one bust
Charbonnet might just be a complementary piece for the Seahawks offense. He was an effective three-down back in college, and he might just be here to provide depth and a third-down option who can give the team a little more than DeeJay Dallas can. The Seahawks were 26th in targets to running backs last season, and I would guess that isn't likely to change too much, so the likeliest outcome is he's just a fringe option in PPR formats, while Walker continues to handle the bulk of the early-down work. But the upside case here is clear -- if Walker cedes some of that early-down work (especially near the goal line), Charbonnet could have a pretty clear path to Fantasy relevance early on, with top-12 upside if Walker gets hurt.
We've seen an elite season from Metcalf before, when he had 83 catches for 1,303 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2020. He followed that up with a couple of disappointing showings, and it feels like the Fantasy community isn't doing much dreaming on his upside these days. 2022 was a weird year for Metcalf, whose 141 targets were a career-high, while his catch rate of 63.8% wasn't far off his career high, and yet his production left a lot to be desired. Mostly, that came down to Metcalf being less effective with the ball in his hands, as his 2.4 yards after the catch was the lowest mark of his career by far -- he'd been between 4.4 and 4.7. Maybe he's just not the elite athlete he once was, and can't be relied on to break big plays like he once did ... or maybe it was just a weird, fluke-y thing. If he sustains last year's target number and breaks big plays like he did in 2021 and before, there's still a path to a top-five outcome here, even with the addition of Smith-Njigba.
Pay no mind to the 2022 production -- Smith-Njigba played just three games while dealing with hamstring injuries. And he didn't really have much to prove after 2021, when he put up 95 catches, 1,606 yards, and nine touchdowns while playing alongside Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. A year younger than both, he dominated two future NFL stars in production. That's incredibly impressive, and that's why he was the first wide receiver taken in the NFL Draft. It's why he's the first rookie wide receiver taken in ADP, just ahead of the Vikings Jordan Addison.
But I prefer Addison, personally, because his landing spot in Minnesota is a lot more clear. Smith-Njigba may end up being a superstar in the NFL, but I think the likeliest outcome for 2023, at least, is that he's more of a role player. I'm fine with his price as WR40, with an ADP of 88.56, because there's at least a chance he's just so overwhelming that the target competition here doesn't matter. That upside is worth chasing, just don't be surprised if Smith-Njigba finds it hard to find consistent targets behind Metcalf and Lockett, at least at first.