DK Metcalf Fantasy Football Outlook & Value 2020

D.K. Metcalf

DK Metcalf was a polarizing prospect coming out of Ole Miss, as some teams loved his combine performance and long-term potential while others were focused on his limitations as a pro-ready wide receiver. The Seahawks belonged to the former as they made him their second-round pick. Metcalf was just the 8th receiver off the board in the 2019 draft, but the numbers he put up in Seattle made him look like possibly the best moving forward. Catching passes from Russell Wilson certainly helped, but ranking second on the team in targets as a rookie was impressive. Can he build on that in 2020?

2019 Stats

RECREC YDSREC TDSFPTSFPPG
589007187.111.7

Metcalf only went over 100 yards one time this past season, but he still amassed 900 on the year, a product of his consistent role in the offense. Thirty-five of his 58 catches came in his final seven games, showing his progression as he became more comfortable in the Seattle offense. Metcalf started as more of a jump-ball target, making plays on simple out, in, or fly routes. As the season went on, though, he became more of a versatile weapon, running a more advanced route tree and even lining up as a massive slot target at some points. I’m not sure why anyone was so surprised by Metcalf’s production – he’s a 6’4″, 225 lb receiver who ran a 4.33 in the 40-yard dash. His rookie season proved he has a bright future as a receiver in this league.

2020 Projections

RECREC YDSREC TDSFPTSFPPG
671,0358218.513.66

Seahawks’ offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has spoken about how he wants to get Metcalf more involved as a versatile receiving target. Adding more routes to his route tree and polishing off the technique in his game would boost his upside for 2020. As would decreasing his drops, something Metcalf has said he’s very focused on after ranking with the 11th most drops in the league last year. That combination of factors, as well as his continued emergence as a red zone threat for this team, should stabilize his improvement across the board with an increased catch percentage and more touchdown potential.

ADP & Auction Value

ADP: 5.11

Auction Value: $14

In my Terry McLaurin breakdown, I spoke about some of the higher-upside guys available in the 5th round currently. DK Metcalf is the perfect example as someone who’s baseline will likely pay off this draft range – he’s now being drafted as the 29th receiver off the board after finishing as the 33rd-best receiver in fantasy in his rookie season. Metcalf has the upside to finish much higher than that in 2020, depending on how well he does progress his route tree and polishing his game – he’s an athletic freak, and that alone should make him a very enticing 5th round pick.

Floor

The Seahawks love to run the ball – they called the 6th-most run plays in the NFL last season. That volume of rushing puts Metcalf’s floor a bit lower than some other receivers who find themselves in pass-happy offenses. Metcalf’s floor is also a little quieter after Seattle added Philip Dorsett over the offseason. Seattle ran 11 personnel (3 wide receivers) at the 2nd-highest frequency in the league last year so that Dorsett won’t be taking Metcalf off the field, but he could eat into some of his target share from last season. Metcalf’s floor could be around 55 catches for 850 yards and six touchdowns, which would still make him a solid WR3 but a bust for his current draft range. He will be a player to watch over the offseason to see if he can improve his game and boost his floor.

Ceiling

Metcalf sounds devoted to becoming more of a complete receiver, and he has size/athleticism that you just can’t teach. Assuming he is on the field for the vast majority of the Seahawks’ offensive snaps this year, he could approach 120 targets. The Seahawks losing some defensive talent would increase the likelihood they are more reliant on their passing game, as well. In 2016 and 2017, Doug Baldwin saw 125 and 116 targets as Russell Wilson’s top target, so that number may not be out of reach. Metcalf has the potential to be better than Tyler Lockett as early as this season, and on 120 targets, he could go for 75 catches for about 1,100 yards. Metcalf’s red-zone efficiency was good-not-great in 2019, but an improved route tree and better catch consistency could have him approaching 8-10 touchdowns.

Seattle Seahawks Offense

Seattle SeahawksIn addition to Philip Dorsett, the Seahawks also brought in Greg Olsen through free agency. The team also resigned Jacob Hollister and brought back Will Dissly and Luke Willson. The team’s tight end depth could have them running more than 22 personnel (two wide receivers, two tight ends). Brian Schottenheimer has a reputation of someone who, above all else, gets his top talent on the field. Tyler Lockett has been the team’s top wideout over the past couple of seasons. Still, at just 5’10”, 182 lbs he profiles as more of a slot weapon or Z-receiver to Metcalf’s X. DK Metcalf, in theory, should be one of the Seahawks’ most talented offensive weapons this year, which should allow him to be on the field on the majority of downs.

Strength of Schedule

The Seahawks play in a pretty tough NFC West, with the 49ers and Rams both ranking in the top ten passing defenses in the NFL last season. The Niners had the 2nd-best passing defense, and the Rams had the 10th-best per Football Outsiders. The Cardinals were not very good defensively last year. Still, they should benefit from a remade linebacking corps featuring Isaiah Simmons and a hopefully healthy Patrick Peterson who missed six games last year. The Seahawks also take on each of the teams in the NFC East, a division featuring defenses who struggled against the pass in 2019. The Eagles and Giants were among the five defenses allowing the most points to wide receivers in fantasy, and the Cowboys and Redskins ranked 23rd and 24th in pass defense last year per Football Outsiders. The Seahawks also take on the AFC East, where the Dolphins reside and allowed the 2nd-most points to receivers in fantasy last year. The Patriots were on the opposite end of that spectrum, allowing the fewest, and the Bills allowed the 3rd-fewest. The Jets allowed the 8th-most points to receivers in fantasy but should have an improved secondary in 2020. Finally, the Seahawks take on the Falcons and Vikings, two teams who are undergoing massive transitions in their secondaries and will be relying on rookies to start this season. Outside of four games (two against the Niners, one against the Patriots, one against the Bills), the schedule seems to be conducive to DK Metcalf putting up some big numbers this season.

Bottom Line

Metcalf has a strong chance to become the number one X receiver in Seattle this season, and his jump-ball ability, as well as speed, make him an excellent fit for the play action-heavy offense the Seahawks like to run. He has some work to do in his game with his mechanics, consistency, and route-running, but if he can progress as a player over the offseason, he should be in for a breakthrough season in Seattle. Even still, at a 5th-round draft price, he’s much closer to his floor than his ceiling.

 

2020 Fantasy Football Player Outlooks
  
There are few things I love more in this world than the sweet glory of fantasy football. It's a year round sport and championships are won and lost well before the draft. When I was 15 I put together my first fantasy league and I was hooked for life.

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