Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf is already on the radar of savvy fantasy football players after a solid rookie season. But it sounds as though the Seahawks are going to expand his role in 2020, which could lead to a major breakout in his sophomore campaign.
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer told Sports Radio 950 KJR's Chuck and Buck Morning Show (h/t Joe Fann of NBC Sports Northwest) that Seattle's coaching staff has talked "at length" about expanding Metcalf's role:
"The No. 1 thing that we know is that we can move him around and do different things with him. He kind of got stuck at the 'X' receiver last year. This year we know we can move him around quite a bit more. There are so many more routes he can run. He's proven he can get behind people.
"I just think the flexibility of moving him around and introducing some different route concepts that we can kind of get him up to speed on will complement the things that he's already put on film. It will be an incredible, incredible advantage for us as we head into next season."
Metcalf, 22, had an excellent debut season, catching 58 passes on 100 targets for 900 yards and seven scores. He saved his best performance for the team's 17-9 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card Game, hauling in career highs in receptions (seven) and receiving yards (160) while also adding a touchdown.
It was a reminder of the upside he possesses.
Granted, that rookie year wasn't perfect. He had seven drops and lost three fumbles, both disappointing marks. Metcalf even acknowledged in February it was a part of his game he needed to address.
"My main focus during the offseason is just working on the things I saw as flaws during my rookie season and just build on that," he told Fann, adding: "I had way too many drops in my opinion. Some of those drops could have changed the outcome of the game. I'm just working on those drops, man."
For fantasy football players, there are other concerns. Tyler Lockett is presumably the team's top option in the passing game after leading Seattle in catches (82), targets (110), receiving yards (1,057) and receiving touchdowns (eight). Given how close the two were statistically, Lockett may not eat into Metcalf's upside by default. But his rapport with quarterback Russell Wilson could mean he still sees the larger share of targets.
The other concern is that Seattle is a run-heavy team. Seattle was third in the NFL in rushing attempts (481) last season, trailing only the Baltimore Ravens (596) and San Francisco 49ers (498). The team's 517 passing attempts, meanwhile, was 23rd in the NFL.
Sheer volume can go a long way in fantasy football. One of the reasons Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Chris Godwin had such a major breakout in his third season was the fact that he was targeted 121 times, beating his previous high by 26 targets. Of the top 10 wide receivers in PPR formats last season, only Kenny Golladay (116) and Amari Cooper (119) were targeted fewer than 120 times. Top scorer Michael Thomas was targeted an incredible 185 times
So while Metcalf should be a bigger part of the offense next season, it remains to be seen just how much of a jump he'll receive. In 2019, he was the 33rd-highest fantasy scorer among wideouts, putting him on the fringes of the flex conversation.
Expect him to be an even safer flex option in 2020 with WR2 upside.