Few players, if any, gave fantasy football managers more headaches and frustration than Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett last season. Looking to reset the narrative in 2021, will Lockett bounce back and become more consistent this season, or does his fantasy outlook suggest more up-and-down finishes? Should you consider drafting Lockett at his current ADP?
Tyler Lockett’s fantasy outlook for 2021
Has anyone ever been more disappointing with a WR8 overall finish than Lockett was last season? Even if you did not roster him, you know someone who did. While the totality of the season suggests he surpassed his value, ask them what it felt like rostering him every week. I bet they give you a different answer.
After a WR16 and WR13 finish in 2018 and 2019, Lockett was all over the place in 2020 despite his end-of-season total. If you only look at the stat line, things look exceptional. Lockett was one of just six receivers to have 100 receptions (100) and was 11th in targets (132), recording 1,054 yards and 10 touchdowns. Fantastic — well, about that.
In 16 games, Lockett was a WR2 or better just six times and outside the top 48 seven times. Of his fantasy production, 144.7 points (54.5%) and 9 of his 10 touchdowns came in four games. During the second half of the season, Lockett was the WR47 or worse in six straight games.
From Week 8 and on, Lockett was the WR24, mainly because of a 33-point game in Week 17 against the 49ers where he caught 10 of 12 targets for 90 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Because of this, many have placed Lockett on their “do not draft list.” But is that fair, or are fantasy managers missing out on a potential opportunity?
How should you view Lockett heading into 2021 for fantasy?
While he might have games that frustrate you, Lockett has a track record that deserves respect, especially after taking over for Doug Baldwin in 2018. Since then, Lockett is 13th in yards (3,076), fifth in touchdowns (28), has 71 receptions of 15 yards or more, and has caught 88.7% of all catchable passes. He’s also missed just two games over his career and none since 2016.
When in doubt, follow the money. Even though they were against the cap, the Seahawks extended Lockett to the tune of $69.2 million across four years.
Combined with DK Metcalf, this is arguably the best duo in the NFL. He can win short or deep, and there is some telepathic mind meld between Wilson and Lockett where he always knows where he will be on the field at any given time.
At worst, Lockett is the 1B at wide receiver on the Seahawks’ depth chart. If we believe the coach speak, the offense under OC Shane Waldron will implement an up-tempo offense that will have some similarities to his former stop with the Los Angeles Rams. This could set Lockett up for a phenomenal, more efficient season based on expected volume. As a WR2 or even a WR3 if you hammer receiver early, Lockett’s value is hard to beat based on this fantasy outlook.
For as much as head coach Pete Carroll has talked about wanting to be balanced and wants to run more, they can not take the ball out of Wilson’s hands, especially not if they want to utilize a more up-tempo style offense.
This all flies directly in the face of pounding the ball with Chris Carson. Now that’s not to say Carson won’t see plenty of work, but to win in the NFL and especially the NFC West, you need to be able to put up 30+ points in every game.
If we look back at Waldron’s time in Los Angeles (2018 to 2020), the Rams’ offense ranked second in overall plays per game (67), sixth in rushes per game (27), and 15th in passes per game (40). If you tell me Wilson is going to sling the rock 40 times a game, I want all of the Lockett and Metcalf I can get in fantasy. Heck, throw in some late-round D’Wayne Eskridge as a flier.
However, once Week 1 comes, the Seahawks better have this offense ready to roll because the start of their season is a gauntlet of some of the NFL’s best defenses. In their first seven games, they have matchups on the road against the Colts, Vikings, 49ers, and Steelers, and they face the Rams and Saints at home. Ouch.
For someone like Lockett, who had a down second half, if it carries over into 2021, managers will fear the worst and quickly want to offload him. I would exercise patience and ride out the down games. More times than not, Lockett will be a valuable receiver on your fantasy roster (fingers crossed).
Locket could see around 125 targets with approximately 90 receptions for close to 1,100 yards with 8 touchdowns based on current projections.
Tyler Lockett’s ADP
According to Sleeper, Lockett is currently the WR21 with an ADP of 53.6 in half PPR formats. In superflex formats, where QBs see a boost in value, he slides a bit to 68.7. On Fleaflicker, he has an ADP of 52.0. Similarly, on NFC (a high-stakes fantasy platform), Lockett is the WR19 with a 46.01 ADP.
Should you draft Lockett in 2021 for fantasy?
It’s clear based on ADP that the community is worried about Lockett and his boom-or-bust nature, and rightly so. Since 2018, Lockett has been a WR3 or worse in 60% of his games while averaging 15.1 PPR points over this span. But in a new offense, perhaps the narrative is about to flip on its head like the Fresh Prince.
Imagine putting Lockett in the Cooper Kupp role, a player who utilizes insane route running and release skills to get peppered with targets. Would that change your opinion on Lockett? Now, take that role and mix in his deep-ball ability and the fact he is second in the NFL in red-zone targets with 29 (only behind Metcalf’s 32).
There is absolutely the chance that Lockett is an inconsistent receiver in 2021 — one who also gives you weeks where he completely blows up. Because of this, I have zero issues with him at his current mid-to-late fifth-round ADP. With that said, there is also the possibility that this new scheme unlocks a consistency we have not seen out of him. Thus, giving a substantial boost to his floor, especially in PPR formats. As my WR2 or even WR3, I’m willing to take the risk on either outcome.