Despite playing one extra game in 2021, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf saw the same number of targets (129) as his breakout 2020 campaign, but the results were far from as impressive. The then-third-year wideout saw his average fall to a career-low 12.9 yards per reception, and he averaged only 13.3 in point-per-reception scoring vs. 17.1 in ’20.
Metcalf’s substantial drop-off in yardage (1,303 vs. 967) overshadowed two more touchdowns over eight fewer grabs. Three of those dozen scores came in Week 17 against the Detroit Lions, which provided a 30.9-point performance to gamers who appeared in their league championship in spite of his down year.
Wide receiver running mate Tyler Lockett saw his career-high 100 receptions in 2020 dip to 73 a year ago, but his yards-per-catch average shot up to 16.1 from a mere 10.5, so what went wrong with Metcalf? In part, he faced extra defensive scrutiny, but that wasn’t the complete picture.
The Ole Miss star suffered through foot soreness — far from ideal for an explosive playmaker — after a having a screw inserted during a 2016 surgery to repair a fractured bone. Fast forward to February of 2022: Metcalf underwent a minor procedure to remove the bothersome hardware. He’s expected to be ready for training camp.
While the foot shouldn’t be of much concern, Metcalf currently is holding out of mandatory minicamp and being fined by the team. This is the receiver’s way of showing his displeasure with not having a contract extension as he heads into what will be the final year of his rookie deal. In a recent podcast appearance with former NFL tight end Shannon Sharpe, Metcalf said he does not expect to hold out of training camp.
The 5-foot-11 elephant in the room is the loss of quarterback Russell Wilson via trade to Denver. The Seahawks acquired Drew Lock in that deal, and Geno Smith was re-signed to compete for the starting job. There’s still a small chance Seattle trades for a veteran, but it appears unlikely at this time.
A clear downgrade any which way one slices it, the loss of Wilson will be felt. In the trio of games No. 3 missed with a finger injury, Smith filled in well enough, and Metcalf remained quite relevant in fantasy lineups (6-58-0, 2-96-1, 6-43-2) while Lockett went into the witness protection program for two of the three contests but exploded (12-142-0) in the final one with Smith at the helm.
Lock has a livelier arm than Smith and adds underrated mobility but has struggled to avoid crucial mistakes in his limited action. He wasn’t able to beat out Teddy Bridgewater in Denver, a quarterback whose skill set is similar to that of Smith.
Fantasy football outlook
The foot issue shouldn’t factor in to gamers’ concerns when drafting as more than a passing thought when compared to the quarterback situation.
In early drafts, Metcalf has gone, on average, as WR12 (Pick 3:06) in PPR formats. While fair placement for what he is capable of doing on the field, it assumes enough risk that owners should look to invest earlier selections in positional depth.