The Seattle Seahawks went 9-7 in the 2017 regular season and failed to make the playoffs. Once boasting a proud smashmouth offense, the team has now finished outside the top-20 in rushing production in consecutive years. Russell Wilson led the team with 586 yards rushing and no running back finished the season with more than 240 yards on the ground. While remaining efficient from a fantasy perspective, the passing offense also took a slight step back in 2017, as Wilson failed to reach 4,000 yards for the first time since 2014 and no pass-catcher eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving.
The Seahawks rank just 27th in available cap space and will either have to make some cuts or be frugal with who they chase in free agency. Jimmy Graham is the team’s key fantasy free agent and is almost certain to be playing elsewhere in 2018. Rising contributor Paul Richardson is also headed for free agency and according to early industry contract projections, will be priced out of the team’s budget. Richardson will likely be replaced internally by Tyler Lockett or second-year talent Amara Darboh.
Three additions we want to see for fantasy
Offensive line help via the draft: Whether it’s Wilson running for his life or the running backs being unable to gain positive yards before contact, the Seahawks have struggled for several years now up front. Only two Seattle linemen graded out in the top 50 at their position in 2017. Wilson was sacked 40 times for the fifth consecutive season in 2017. He also posted the worst passer rating of his career (69.0) when under pressure. Granted, his style of play has always led to an increased sack rate, but at some point, years of being near the top of the league in hitting the deck may take its toll on the electric signal caller eventually. Improvement up front could lead to even bigger things for Wilson and as a result, a glowing fantasy halo effect for the pass catchers on the team.
Trey Burton, TE: Burton landing in Seattle could potentially lead to mid-TE1 fantasy numbers. Graham finished second on the team in targets in each of his three seasons with the team, so Burton would likely figure prominently into the offense. Among tight ends with at least 30 targets in 2017, Burton finished second only to Rob Gronkowski in PPR points per opportunity. It would be interesting to see what this highly efficient player could accomplish in an increased role. The only question is whether his contract demands will work with the team’s cap space limitations.
Carlos Hyde, RB: Hyde is coming off of the best season of his career, but hits free agency in a season when the NFL draft is packed with running back talent. Breaking the bank is not within the range of outcomes despite his talent level. Hyde finished in the top 10 in PFF’s elusive rating in 2017 and we know that the ability to create yards is always important in Seattle due to the offensive line play. Hyde also finished third among running back in routes run, which led to a career-best 59 receptions. The team has been dividing up early- and late-down work for several years, but Hyde may be able to stay on the field in all situations due to his growth in the passing game. If returning to San Francisco isn’t an option, then landing in Seattle may be the next best thing for Hyde’s fantasy prospects.