High-Variance Players: WR Tyler Lockett - Footballguys

The Footballguys staff discusses the high side and low side of Tyler Lockett

When August rolls around, the fantasy football community usually reaches a consensus on most players. Tyler Lockett isn't one of those players. While he's averaging somewhere around WR57, he has been ranked between 39 and 80 at his position. What are your thoughts on him? Is he underrated or overrated? Or neither?

Daniel Simpkins: Being ranked 57th at his position is super reasonable, and I’ve made him a late target in my drafts. Doug Baldwin’s health status is shaky and I’ve never doubted the talent of Lockett. It’s just been injuries and usage that have been the major barriers for him. With Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson Jr gone, there’s certainly some vacated targets that Lockett can absorb. We’ll see about putting it together health-wise, but at this price, there’s so little risk if he doesn’t pan out and great reward if he does.

Jason Wood: He's 59th in my rankings but he's more of a late roster filler player than someone I'm targeting because there's compelling upside. He would have broken out by now if it was going to happen. The best thing we can say about Lockett is he'll have opportunities this season with Paul Richardson Jr leaving for free agent riches in Washington, and Doug Baldwin already nursing a gimpy knee. Unfortunately, if Lockett's forced into the No. 1 role he'll be miscast and top defensive backs will have their way with him.

Keith Roberts: Lockett belongs in the conversation as a late-round pick. While I agree with Jason on talent level, the sheer opportunity is enough for me to roster Lockett. With the Baldwin injury news and nearly 200 targets up for grabs from the departures of Paul Richardson Jr, Jimmy Graham, and Luke Wilson, Lockett has a big chance to step up here. Yes, Brandon Marshall and the potentially promising speedster Jaron Brown come into the picture, but Lockett has a few seasons of chemistry and familiarity with Russell Wilson that may prove especially beneficial during the first half of the season. This will be one to watch during the preseason, but Lockett is on the bubble of my top 50 wide receivers as of now.

Will Grant: The recent Doug Baldwin news may give him a little bump, but Tyler Lockett is usually a guy that I'm happy to let someone else draft. 50-catch, 600-yard, and 3-touchdown wide receivers are easy to find and I see Lockett as more of a free agent pick-up for a bye week or injury rather than a guy I need to have on my roster. I rank him somewhere in the late 50's for wide receivers this season. A bye week fill-in who is just as likely to be dropped on the waiver wire as he is to make it into the starting lineup from week to week. A guy who is neither underrated or overrated at 57.

Chad Parsons: I liked Tyler Lockett as an upside bet even before the latest Doug Baldwin news which could threaten Baldwin's start to the regular season. Also, Seattle's offense is based around the Russell Wilson extend-the-play magic, which benefits receivers with the athleticism to separate with a few extra seconds downfield. I doubt Lockett has more than WR20-25 upside even if Doug Baldwin is out, but he is a solid bet to emerge from his low ADP as a functional WR3/4 for fantasy teams this year.

Adam Harstad: Worth noting that in return leagues Lockett ranges from a star to a superstar, depending on scoring. I've got him projected to lead the league in special teams yards this year, and he and Tarik Cohen are the only dual-purpose return threats who are likely to get at least 500 yards on offense, too.

Again, return scoring can vary widely, but it's not crazy to think of Lockett as a potential WR1. Current projections have him at WR9 in one of my leagues, (where he finished 15th at the position last year and 9th as a rookie).

Dan Hindery: Lockett is near the high end of this range for me. He finished WR42 and flashed plenty of potential as a rookie in 2015. His past two seasons have been disappointing, but much of that can be attributed to injuries. Lockett suffered a nasty broken leg late in 2016 and wasn't fully recovered in 2017. He is reportedly back to 100% in training camp and flashing the speed that made him so dangerous prior to the injury.

The real reason to be bullish on Lockett is the opportunity to see the heaviest workload of his career. Paul Richardson Jr (44-703-6 last season) and Jimmy Graham (57-520-10) both departed and their likely replacements (Jaron Brown and Ed Dickson) are lesser talents. Plus, Doug Baldwin has a knee injury that is going to keep him out of the entire preseason. He has been ordered to rest and then get re-evaluated later in August. If the injury to Baldwin ends up being more serious than the Seahawks are letting on, then Lockett will open the season as the No. 1 wide receiver in the Seattle offense that led the NFL in touchdown passes last season.

Andy Hicks: I guess I am at the bottom here, seeing as I have him ranked 80th. Now the 80th ranked receiver last year only had 23 catches for 364 yards and three touchdowns. I think Tyler Lockett can do better than that, but there are 79 receivers I would rather take than Lockett in a PPR fantasy draft. Lockett so far has defined an average receiver in the NFL. After an exciting rookie season with six touchdowns and 664 yards, he has fallen to the 40+ receptions, 500 yard and low touchdown number receiver area in the last two years. Now while it may be too early to define him as a Michael Jenkins type receiver (Jenkins had eight consecutive years between 36 and 53 receptions and was generally in the 400 to 500 yards a year area. Great consistency, but almost useless in fantasy football), Lockett could break out given the opportunities available, but at this stage, the upside is not worth investing in him.

Phil Alexander: If you're not buying Lockett inside the top-40 wide receivers this season, you are buying a huge bounce back for Seattle's dismal running game and/or betting their depleted defense won't force them into pass-heavy game scripts. You can't have it both ways. Count me in the camp that thinks we're going to see a lot of passing from the Seahawks this season, even though it won't be Plan A for Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer on offense.

Plenty of the guys have already touched on Lockett's potential opportunity (Graham and Richardson vacated 34% of the team's 2017 targets), but I'm shocked to see his talent called into question. We're two years removed from a rookie season in which he posted 51 catches, 664, and 6 touchdowns in just eight starts! Since then, an MCL sprain hampered him for nearly all of 2016 before he broke his fibula towards the end of the season. He may have appeared in every game last year, but he clearly wasn't the same player some of the top wide receiver minds in the industry (namely Yahoo's Matt Harmon and Rotoviz's Jon Moore) had pegged for a sophomore breakout.

There are going to be peaks and valleys for Lockett from week-to-week. His big-play ability dictates it. But with or without factoring in Baldwin's knee injury, the opportunity will be there for Lockett to emerge as a WR2-3 who can win you weeks on his own.

Ryan Hester: I agree with Phil. The volume should be there; the talent/explosiveness should return; and while Seattle's running game is a near lock to show improvement, run vs. pass production won't swing entirely in the opposite direction.

Let's not forget that Lockett's explosiveness and Wilson's ability to extend plays are fertile soil for big plays. As Lockett gets more reps (both in games and practices) with Wilson, more rapport will be built. Lockett will learn the proper places to run during scramble drill situations, and Wilson will gain the confidence necessary to look Lockett's way. Lockett should be ranked in the mid- to late-40s at his position.