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NFC West

Draft Guide Exclusive: Can Tyler Lockett Best His 2018 Breakout? – W. Berckenhoff

by Wyatt Berckenhoff

Tyler Lockett, a 5’ 10’’ wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, had an amazing 2018 season. Lockett last season played sixteen games with 57 receptions for 965 yards with an incredible average Y/R of 16.9 yards a catch. Then on top of that, he had 10 touchdowns making for a fantasy football point total of 165.4 (Pro Football Reference). Also according to Pro Football Reference, Tyler Lockett has a career fantasy football point total of 442.2 including the 2018 number making it even more impressive. The question becomes can Tyler Lockett keep up similar or better numbers than last season?

Tyler Lockett is a Wide Receiver for Russell Wilson, the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. For Lockett, 2019 will be his fifth season for the Seahawks and the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks wide receiver corps includes the rookies D.K. Metcalf, John Ursua, and Gary Jennings as well as David Moore, Jaron Brown and Keenan Reynolds. The most interesting development is former Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin as he announced his retirement in April due to an accumulation of injuries.

As Adam Schefter reported, “At the age of 30, Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin might be unable to play again due to the cumulative effect of multiple injuries, per sources. There is a real chance that Baldwin, one of the Seahawks’ best and most popular players, has played his last NFL down, a source said Friday (in April) (CBSSports).

This will be huge as Doug Baldwin played thirteen games with 50 receptions with a total of 618 yards for 5 touchdowns in 2018. Although injury has plagued the last couple years of his career with the Seahawks, Doug Baldwin has arguably been the most consistent and best target for Russel Wilson. Since Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin have been on the team for longest team, it would be wise to compare both players for more insight. 

We will start with Tyler Lockett’s rookie season in 2015 and compare both players from 2015 to 2018. Tyler and Doug both played 16 games but differed in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. In 2015 Tyler had 51 receptions with 68 targets along with 6 touchdowns. While Doug had 78 receptions with 104 targets along with 14 touchdowns an overall better season than Tyler. In 2016 Tyler played 15 games while Doug played 16 games leading for Tyler to have ten less receptions than in 2015 while Doug had 94 receptions, more than the previous season. Then in 2017, Tyler had 45 receptions while Doug had 75 receptions, once again more than Tyler as well as more yards and touchdowns.

This all changed last season as Doug only played 13 games to Tyler’s full 16 games. Tyler took advantage of Baldwin’s absences having more receptions, yards, and touchdowns finishing with 57 receptions with 985 yards and ten touchdowns. While Doug in 2018 only had 50 receptions with 618 yards and only 5 touchdowns as stated earlier. This will make it clear to understand what role Tyler could end up in taking place of Baldwin in the offense. 

It’s important to note that Tyler Lockett was a super-efficient WR in 2018 with 10 touchdowns on just 57 receptions. With Doug’s receptions and targets being removed, this gap could lead to much more production for Lockett. In 2018 Tyler finished as WR14 in .5PPR leagues, just below a WR1 tier by 2 spots. Lockett will now be the main WR in Seattle and his target-share should grow beyond the 71 targets that he received in 2018.

Although this all seems to point toward Lockett having another huge season, it’s important to note that the Seahawks offense is under QB Russell Wilson and a run heavy offensive philosophy. Since Russell Wilson has been QB for the Seahawks the highest amount of targets any receiver has seen was the 125 targets for Doug Baldwin in 2016. That was also the year where the Seahawks’ run game was the worst it had been since before the BeastMode era.

If 125 targets is the cap for a Seahawks offense it will still be 55 more targets then Tyler saw last season. As a best case scenario, if Lockett keeps his reliability from 2018 into 2019 with a major increase in targets, he will have another breakout season. All that being said, the Seahawks seem to have a cap on the overall impact of WR group due to their offensive philosophy. Lockett’s current high in receptions for a season is 57, meaning that Lockett will need to greatly improve on that in order to have a greater fantasy impact. This brings up the question of how many receptions do I think Tyler will receive in 2019? Before I can answer this, D.K. Metcalf needs to be addressed as he could take the lion’s share of Baldwin’s vacated targets. 

Although D.K. Metcalf is a rookie, I can still see Metcalf getting at least 40 to 50 key receptions in the Seahawks’ offense. In order for Locket to get the crazy 125 targets like Doug had, Metcalf would need to have half the amount of targets as Lockett, or the Seahawks’ WR corps targets will need to be spread much more even among everyone not named Tyler Lockett. I don’t see D.K. Metcalf having a low impact or Seahawks WR corps being even; therefore, I only see Tyler getting a ceiling of 90 targets with a more reasonable target rate in the mid 80s. That is still 15 more targets than last season. 

Will Tyler Lockett continue to build on his breakout season form 2018?

The simple answer is be “yes”, but not as much as you might think.

Lockett will be the main receiver for Russell Wilson and will be the veteran WR to take the share of targets. I don’t think you can rely on D.K. Metcalf or the other Seahawks receivers to take away enough targets to make Tyler a lesser fantasy player than last season. I see Tyler Lockett finishing slightly better than last season, but not to the extent of the high expectations some have of Tyler with Doug stepping down. He will have slightly better numbers than 2018, but nothing shocking. He could possibly sneak his way into a top 12 WR position if everything goes right.

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