Will D.K. Metcalf slump or soar in year two?

Embed from Getty Images

D.K. Metcalf had an impressive rookie year. All the signs are pointing toward a step forward and the emergence of a second weapon in Seattle.


If fantasy football drafts were done based solely on physical appearance, D.K. Metcalf would be the first pick. The dude has the body of a Greek God that is also a bodybuilder, has less fat than two percent milk, and has more abs than Tom Brady has Super Bowl rings.

Unfortunately for Metcalf, fantasy football drafts aren’t done on physical appearance (unless you are my friend’s mom 10 years ago who drafted her team based on attractiveness).

Luckily for Metcalf, he is still a pretty good player and fantasy option based on his on-field production and skillset at the wide receiver position.

Last year, Metcalf finished as the 33rd best receiver in standard leagues. He had marks of 58 receptions, 900 yards, and seven touchdowns. He is currently being drafted in 2020 as the wide receiver 29 on ESPN and has an ADP of 73.4. Metcalf is wide receiver 23 and has an ADP of 50 on Dynasty Football Digest’s May 2020 ADP, which you can view here.

But where will Metcalf end the 2020 season? Will he experience a sophomore slump and prove all his doubters, and three-cone drill truthers, right? Or will he exceed expectations next year and take another step toward becoming a star at the position?

Expanded Role

The first thing to look at it when it comes to D.K. Metcalf’s expected 2020 production is his role on the team.

He had an even 100 targets in 2019, the most for a Seattle second option in the last five years. That number figures to remain close to the same, if not increase, as Metcalf becomes more of a 1a and 1b with fellow receiver Tyler Lockett than the 1-2 punch they were last year.

D.K. Metcalf will not be threatened by any new additions to the receiver group crew either.

Seattle signed just one free agent at the position, Phillip Dorsett, who does not figure to take make targets away from Metcalf. They also drafted two receivers, Freddie Swain from Florida and Stephen Sullivan from LSU. They also spent sixth and seventh-round selections on them, respectively, so they will not be huge players from day one.

Fortunately for Metcalf, he gets to catch passes from one of the best signal-callers in the NFL: Russell Wilson. There are no questioning Wilson’s skills but he does not always get the most opportunities to throw the ball.

Last year, he had 516 pass attempts, the third-most in his career. But the year before, still under the same offensive coordinator, Wilson had just 427 passing attempts, the third-fewest in his career.

Hopefully, last year was the start of an upward trend for Wilson’s passing attempts, the Seahawks likely aren’t paying him $35 million to just hand the ball off all the time. If his passing attempts at least stay the same, then Metcalf should not experience a significant drop in production. If Wilson throws the ball nearly 100 times less, then Metcalf will surely suffer.

In the (red)zone

Another aspect of his game that will be a huge indicator of Metcalf’s success next season will be his production in the red zone.

Last year, Metcalf was targeted in the red zone 15 times, the second-most on the team behind just Lockett with 21 targets. That made up nearly 20 percent of Russell Wilson’s red zone attempts, proving that Wilson had no problem trusting Metcalf as a rookie.

Metcalf only managed to catch 4 of those targets inside the 20-yard line, giving him the second-worst red zone catch percentage out of all players that caught a pass in that area of the field.

His four receptions all came from week eight on, which may have been a sign that he figured out that aspect of his game later in the year.

Out of his four receptions, three of them were touchdowns, showing that he is a touchdown threat. Metcalf does not need to catch everything thrown to him in the red zone. If he continues to catch touchdowns at an impressive rate he will be a valuable fantasy asset.

Relationship with Russ

Maybe the most important indicator of a wide receiver’s production is the success of his quarterback and his relationship with that quarterback.

As a rookie, Metcalf earned the respect from Wilson, who was not afraid to target Metcalf in big games and moments.

Seattle played six regular-season games against playoff teams in 2019. Metcalf had at least six receptions in each of those games. He combined for 27 receptions and 381 yards.

Metcalf’s two most targeted games were the matchups with the division-rival 49ers, where he had a combined 22 targets that he turned into 12 receptions and one touchdown.

The most promising sign for Metcalf’s increased production in 2020 was his first career playoff game. In that game against the Eagles, Metcalf had seven receptions on nine targets for 160 yards and one touchdown.

It was his seventh catch that was the most promising though. Facing third-down and 10 from their own 11-yard-line, the Seahawks elected to pass the ball. Wilson targeted Metcalf for a 36-yard jump ball to secure the win.

Summary

Tyler Lockett is still going to be Wilson’s go-to guy in Seattle. Metcalf will be a deep threat and physical mismatch that the Seahawks have been missing.

Metcalf is poised for big things in 2020. He may not be a top-10 receiver but look for his numbers to improve and for him to solidify himself as a legitimate second wide receiver top-20 guy. This may be the year that he breaks 1,000 yards and could improve his touchdowns numbers with some added red zone efficiency.

Follow me on Twitter at @codyschoeler and also follow @DynastyFBDigest and @IDPGuys for more fantasy football articles and coverage.