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As I noted in the last post in this series, any of these top three guys could make a good case to be #1, so here’s my case for Tyler Lockett.
Simply put: there’s no Doug Baldwin anymore!
It’s going to be fascinating to see how Lockett responds, and how defenses respond to him being the clear #1 wide receiver on this team. There’s never a better indicator of who’s a true superstar vs. who’s just a good complementary player than when another superstar is out of the picture. If you think about it like a fantasy football owner, everyone has to be licking their chops at the idea of having Tyler Lockett. He was always a passable backup receiver for most fantasy teams – not really someone you wanted to start on a regular basis, but someone who would usually get you steady points, and once in a while bust out for a big day – but now he’s the top dog in this offense. While it’s not an ideal offense, from a fantasy football perspective, you like the idea of having a #1 receiver on almost any team.
Make no mistake, Lockett will get the lion’s share of the targets (assuming he’s healthy). Can he make the most of them, with the added pressure of being the team’s top threat (and having to go against opposing teams’ top defender)?
Last year, Russell Wilson had a perfect passer rating when throwing to Lockett. That’s reason enough right there to give Seahawks fans confidence. Sure, he’s undersized, but he’s fast and he’s got elite ball skills. I don’t know if he’ll out-leap too many guys, but he uses his body so well in leveraging defenders away from the pass that he can play through contact and make big plays on the regular.
The flipside, of course, is that was in the shadow of Doug Baldwin. Doug was such a force that teams had to go above and beyond to respect his talents, which meant Lockett was free on the outside to run wild. Now, teams will be gameplanning specifically on how to slow him down. The greatest defensive minds in the league will be working to solve this riddle. Tape will be watched, numbers will be crunched, and it’s up to Lockett to overcome all that.
I’ve definitely seen more than my fair share of fantasy football seasons go down the tubes banking on guys who were elevated to #1 receiver status, only to fall flat on their faces. If I had to bet on it, I’d probably bet on Lockett being okay (even though the smart money is probably to bet against him). I don’t know if he’s a true #1 in this league, but if he is we’ll find out this year. He’s squarely in the prime of his career, he’s coming off of a season where he was fully healthy throughout, so let’s go!
You don’t need to be a huge stud like Julio Jones to be a #1 in this league. Antonio Brown doesn’t have incredible size, but he makes it work. I tend to think of Lockett in a similar vein. If he proves me right, then I think this offense will be okay. But, if he struggles, you seriously have to question where this offense is going to get its receiver production from.
A Pro Bowl-calibre season out of Lockett keeps the Seahawks in the running for Super Bowl contention (assuming everything else also goes right). A downer of a season out of Lockett might put even just making the playoffs in jeopardy.