2019 Seahawks fantasy team preview: Who will lead run-heavy attack?

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The Yahoo Fantasy analysts will preview all 32 NFL teams between now and the end of July as training camps open. We’ll tackle pressing season-long fantasy questions, Best Ball tips (new on Yahoo for 2019) and team win totals. Next up, the Seattle Seahawks.

The 2018 edition of the Seattle Seahawks looked very different from seasons prior. The Legion of Boom was no more, and the once-suffocating defense found itself in more than a few high-scoring affairs, which forced star quarterback Russell Wilson to deliver quite a few fourth-quarter comebacks. The Seahawks, led by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, are adamant to spend the early part of games trying to establish the run. As we saw last season, though, that would work ... until it didn’t. Then they’d throw that script away and rely on Wilson’s late-game magic. Wilson finished as the ninth-highest scoring fantasy QB last season, but fantasy gamers know the potential is there for a lot more. The Seahawks did lead the league in rush yards per game, but oftentimes it was a coin flip trying to figure out which rusher would shine in a given week.

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With that said, here’s to hoping the Seahawks give Wilson a chance to strut his stuff earlier in games in 2019, and maybe that’ll be the case after the team chose the next step in human evolution, D.K. Metcalf, in the second round of this year’s draft.

PENNY for your fantasy thoughts?

TRUE or FALSE: Second-year rusher Rashaad Penny (72.1 ADP, RB32) unseats incumbent Chris Carson (56.8, RB28) as the most valuable fantasy option in the Seahawks backfield.

Brad: TRUE. Going back to his high school days, Chris Carson has been the subject of the injury imp’s wrath. Nicks, scrapes and serious setbacks, he’s experienced a menagerie of physical ailments. His latest trial: a vague knee scope he underwent in late May. Expectations are he’ll return for the start of training camp July 25, but at what capacity and for how long is anyone’s best guess. When healthy, he’s a downhill-plowing titonka (3.36 YAC/att in ’18), but the toothpick house you made as a kid possesses more durability.

Penny, overtly chunky and mostly ineffective at times last season, failed to measure up to the towering prospects some analysts banked on, this tequila-influenced boob included. As witnessed against the Rams Week 10, he flashed at times, but he clearly played second fiddle to Carson. However, trimmed down and a central figure in the NFL’s most conservative offense, he’s a prime candidate to exceed 225 touches in his second season. Due to his creative abilities (RB15 in yards created per carry in ’18), after contact brawn (3.40 YAC/attempt) and explosiveness (RB5 in breakaway%), the trimmed down sophomore could tally close to 1,000 combined yards with 5-7 touchdowns.

Schottenheimer will feature a 1-2 punch at RB, but given Carson’s general brittleness, Penny is the likeliest to shine. You will not regret rostering him at his RB32 cost.

Andy: FALSE. Let’s begin with a quick look at the guy Penny is attempting to unseat ...

Carson rushed for 1,151 yards and nine touchdowns last season, averaging 4.7 YPC and 8.1 yards per catch. He’s actually pretty great. Carson averaged 24.3 touches and 120.8 scrimmage yards per game over the final four weeks last season, so it’s not as if he wore down. Penny’s single-game high in touches last year was 12. As long as both players remain healthy, it would be a mistake to assume that the wildly successful incumbent will lose his grip on the featured role.

The Seahawks are going to run early, often and mercilessly this year, so it’s perfectly reasonable to expect Penny to see 10-12 touches per game in his second season. He’s a nice player. Brad fell for him pretty hard after his bonkers season in a gimmicky offense in the Mountain West back in 2017. Let’s just please not lose sight of the fact that Carson was a monster last year, and he should again lead Seattle’s backfield in usage, yardage and scoring.

Danger for Russell?

In an offense leather helmets like Red Grange would’ve loved, Seattle ran the rock just over 52 percent of the time in 2018. With OC Brian Schottenheimer likely to stick to his conservative ways, OVER or UNDER 31.5 total touchdowns (pass/rush) for Russell Wilson (110.2 ADP, QB8) this fall?

Andy: OVER. He crushed this total last season on just 427 pass attempts, and he’s averaged 32.3 combined touchdowns over the past four years. Wilson has been ruthlessly efficient throughout his career, posting a TD percentage of 6.0 (second-highest among active players) and averaging 7.9 yards per attempt (first among active QBs). He’s the rare quarterback who doesn’t need high passing volume to reach 30-plus touchdowns. Toss in the fact that he’s likely to run the ball at least 70 times and you’ve got a player with an exceptionally high fantasy floor.

Liz: OVER. In 2018 Wilson bested the above line by three scores. In fact, he’s managed at least 35 total TDs in three of his last four seasons. Posting top-five stats in money throws (31), deep ball attempts (76), and deep ball completion percentage (46.7%), Ciara’s husband has proven to be a fearless and accurate passer. While some may argue that Doug Baldwin’s exit from the team could affect Wilson’s efficiency, Rashaad Penny’s receiving ability along with D.K. Metcalf’s downfield potential and David Moore’s presence as a red zone threat provide Wilson with a buffet of scoring options. Throw in his rushing ability (top-six in rushing stats over the past two seasons) and the eight-year vet offers fantasy managers easy top-10 probability.

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LOCKETT in your pocket?

With Doug Baldwin hanging up the cleats, Tyler Lockett (50.7 ADP, WR22) is the ‘Hawks’ indisputable top receiving option. Do you BUY or SELL the speedster finishes inside the wide receiver top-20 in .5 PPR formats?

Liz: SELL. The long-suffering believers were finally rewarded last year when Lockett broke out, posting an impressive 10 TDs (WR6) and averaging a whopping 13.6 YPT (WR1). Converting 57 of 71 targets, the Kansas State alum was more productive than Doug Baldwin and provided fake football fans with a top-15 finish. However, on a run-focused team that added two big-bodied receivers who can high-point the ball, it’s hard to imagine the sub-six-foot WR won’t see his numbers regress. Still a speedy and explosive playmaker Lockett will certainly get his, but drafting him at peak value doesn’t feel prudent. He’s my WR25 (just behind Allen Robinson and Calvin Ridley) heading into 2019.

Andy: Um ... are we sure Lockett wasn’t already Seattle’s top receiving option? He led the team in receptions (57) and receiving yards (965) last season while seeing only three fewer targets than Baldwin (70 vs. 73). Exactly how many targets do we think Lockett is likely to gain? Baldwin was never really a volume receiver. David Moore and D.K. Metcalf are going to see plenty of chances; I’ll be surprised if Lockett’s role is significantly different. I’ve ranked him as a solid WR3, so it’s not as if I dislike him. But top 20? Guess I’m SELLING.

Best Ball Bargain Bin

Brad: WILL DISSLY. Busting through against Denver (3-105-1) and Chicago (3-42-1) to open 2018, Dissly was one of fantasy’s most sought after early waiver acquisitions. The secret weapon had everyone chasing until his patella tendon ruptured a couple weeks later. Off the devastating injury, the Seahawks will exercise caution with the TE, but, as Seahawks.com recently noted, the tight end could take on a sizable role sans Doug Baldwin. Accumulate 70 or so targets, and he could finish in the range of 45-550-6, close to what No. 6 overall TE, Trey Burton, notched last season. Remember him when the buzz hits in the late rounds (239.4 ADP, TE36).

Liz: DAVID MOORE. Creating buzz throughout the preseason last year, Moore proved to be a TD machine when used in the stead of Doug Baldwin. Hauling in four scores from Weeks 5 through 8, the big-bodied receiver posted an impressive 17.1 YPR (WR7). While he figures to eventually be displaced by D.K. Metcalf and potentially Gary Jennings, he heads into 2019 with more experience than his younger teammates. As the rookies take their reps, Moore could probably start the season with a glut of high-value targets.

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Mad Bets (From FanDuel Sportsbook): Seattle Seahawks 8.5 wins OVER (-135) or UNDER (+115)

Brad: UNDER. The Seattle defense, which finished No. 16 in total yards allowed, could take a step forward, but it has its question marks. If it declines — a plausible outcome — it will be extremely difficult for the ‘Hawks to assert their run-heavy will on opponents. Toss in the 14th-toughest schedule and a .500 record is believable. Give me the plus odds and the better payday (Bet $100 to win $115).

Andy: OVER. This team has found a way to win at least nine games in all seven seasons of the Carroll-Wilson era. Seattle has exceptional playmakers on both offense and defense, along with an upper-tier QB. I’m fully on board.

More Fantasy Team Previews

AFC East: Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots

NFC East: Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Washington

AFC South: Colts | Texans | Jaguars | Titans

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AFC North: Bengals | Steelers | Ravens | Browns

NFC North: Lions | Vikings | Packers | Bears

AFC West: Chiefs | Chargers | Raiders | Broncos

NFC West: Rams | Cardinals | 49ers | Seahawks

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Follow Andy: @AndyBehrens

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