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Dynasty Player Profile: Tyler Lockett (2022 Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Player Profile: Tyler Lockett (2022 Fantasy Football)

Career Contextualization

After leading the Big 12 Conference in receiving yards as a senior at Kansas State, Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA) was selected by Seattle in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft. The Seahawks traded away a third, fourth, fifth and sixth-round pick to get him, but Lockett ultimately proved that he was well worth the price.

While he quickly drew headlines by returning both a punt and kickoff for a touchdown over the first few weeks of his rookie season, Lockett also made an immediate impact as a receiver, finishing his first year with 51 catches for 664 yards and six receiving scores.

His next two seasons were relatively unremarkable, but Lockett officially emerged as a fantasy mainstay in 2018, when he hauled in 57 catches for 965 yards and 10 touchdowns. After that, his target and reception totals swelled, leading to three straight 1,000-yard seasons from 2019 to 2021, each with at least eight touchdown receptions. In fantasy, he’s finished as the WR15 or better for four consecutive seasons.

During this time period, Lockett developed an almost telepathic connection with his quarterback, Russell Wilson (QB – DEN). It was especially evident on the deep ball; Lockett trailed only Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR) in receiving yards on passes traveling 15+ Air Yards in 2021. Among receivers who reached the 1,000-yard plateau last season, only Deebo Samuel (WR – SF) and Ja’Marr Chase (WR – CIN) posted higher yards per target and yards per reception totals than Lockett.

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Current Situation

Lockett’s current situation is undeniably different than it’s been in the past for an obvious reason: Russell Wilson has left the building.

What Seattle does from here at football’s most important position is anyone’s guess. Geno Smith (QB – SEA), Drew Lock (QB – SEA) and even Jacob Eason (QB – SEA) could potentially be in the mix to start in Week 1. The Seahawks could draft their QB of the future from this year’s dubious rookie class, or they could trade for Cleveland castoff Baker Mayfield (QB – CLE).

The only thing that’s certain is that Lockett will be getting a massive downgrade at QB. It also seems fairly clear that head coach Pete Carroll will revert back to his favored approach of running the football early and often.

General Prediction for 2022 and Rest of Career

It’s difficult to predict what Lockett’s 2022 season will look like without knowing who will be throwing him the ball. But no matter who is starting at quarterback, we need to significantly lower our expectations for Lockett, who inked a new four-year deal with Seattle just last spring.

If you want to look on the bright side, Lockett did catch 12 balls for 142 yards in Geno Smith’s final start of 2021. However, he had a combined four catches for 47 yards in Smith’s other two starts.

Aside from the 2020 season when he finished 11th among WRs with 132 targets, Lockett has never been a particularly high-volume receiver. For the most part, he’s paid the fantasy bills with extreme efficiency, and that is going to be tough to maintain with a quarterback other than Wilson.

The best-case scenario for Lockett in the short term would probably be Mayfield under center, but that says more about the alternatives than it does about Mayfield.

Long term, Lockett managers have to hope the team strikes gold in the draft, whether it be this year or in 2023. However, given that Lockett will be turning 30 this season, time is of the essence. The best thing for his fantasy value would be to get traded to a team with a better quarterback situation, but a trade does not appear to be imminent.

According to Dynasty League Football, Lockett’s average draft position in dynasty startups has dropped from 66th in January to 103rd in April. However, that still puts him in the same vicinity as some interesting alternatives like Gabriel Davis (WR – BUF), Michael Gallup (WR – DAL), Christian Kirk (WR – JAC) and Adam Thielen (WR – MIN). DLF’s Trade Finder shows him generally going for a mid-second round rookie pick.

If you can get Gallup for Lockett, you should take it, and Davis is probably worth the gamble, too. Swapping Lockett for Thielen would cost you two years of age but might be worth it if the Seahawks don’t acquire Mayfield and your team is built to win now. Kirk, on the other hand, has not been overly impressive and has QB questions of his own, so he doesn’t feel like an upgrade over Lockett.

If you’re looking to acquire draft capital for Lockett, don’t settle for a second-round rookie pick. Instead, try to package Lockett with your second-round pick to get into the middle of the first round. That should allow you to get one of the consensus top-five rookie wideouts.

Generally speaking, though, it’s best to wait to shop Lockett until the dust settles and we see what the Seahawks have planned at QB. If they do trade for Mayfield or spend an early pick on Liberty’s Malik Willis (QB), we could see Lockett’s trade value rise a bit.

On the flip side, if you’re a contender with a need at WR, Lockett could be worth acquiring for your late second-round rookie pick. Lockett’s outlook may be concerning, but he’s too good to completely disappear. Almost any player can become a “buy” if the price drops enough.

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Andrew Seifter is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Andrew, check out his archive and follow him @andrew_seifter.

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