Fantasy Football 2024: DK Metcalf is a candidate to level up in Seattle's new offense

DK Metcalf has been a solid fantasy contributor for years, but could be in position to take his game to a new level this season. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Even by the standards of NFL skill players, DK Metcalf is an unrelatable outlier of an athlete. Just an outrageous human being.

At 6-foot-4 and 230-plus pounds, Metcalf has cartoonish leaping ability and scorching in-game speed:

Simply not a normal dude. Any time Metcalf gets a defensive back off-balance and leaning, that guy is truly cooked.

In addition to being a verifiable highlight machine, Metcalf is also a decently accomplished pass-catcher. He’s eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in three of his five seasons and he’s never finished with fewer than 900. Metcalf has made 43 house calls in 82 career games, too.

The one thing DK hasn’t yet given us — and this is certainly not a criticism — is a top-of-the-ranks supernova fantasy season. He was pretty fantastic back in 2020, delivering 1,303 yards and 10 scores on 83 receptions, but he didn’t quite crack the top five at his position that season and didn’t reach the rarified air occupied by Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill and Stefon Diggs.

Metcalf has obviously spent his entire career sharing the field with Tyler Lockett, another of this era’s best receivers, and he’s never played in an offense that attempted 600 passes in a season. So he hasn’t exactly had an easy path to 150-plus targets, which is the volume typically required to challenge for overall WR1 status.

But if Metcalf ever finds himself in a system that feeds him truly elite volume, there’s zero question he has the skills and traits necessary for a break-the-game season.

And this brings us to new Seattle OC Ryan Grubb, who previously held the same position at the University of Washington. You might recall the Huskies offense was an absolute Death Star in each of the past two seasons under Grubb, and with Michael Penix Jr. at the controls. Last year, the Huskies ranked second in the nation in passing yards per game (343.7) and they were first the season before (369.8). Washington also ranked top five in total pass attempts under Grubb in consecutive seasons. Penix averaged a whopping 10.7 air yards per target last year, so Washington’s passing game had a persistent and dangerous downfield dimension.

Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith sounds enthusiastic about the new offense as a fit for his game, and Metcalf is clearly on board as well. If Grubb can effectively prune aspects of his passing attack that aren’t likely to work at the NFL level (or that his team can’t hope to block), it’s not difficult to imagine huge statistical seasons from Seattle’s featured receivers.

Grubb has already favorably compared Metcalf to Rome Odunze, for what it’s worth:

“You got the big-bodied ‘X’ in DK and Rome. I think that’s the thing that was amazing about Rome, and when I watch DK, I think the same thing — these guys are not just (straight-line) runners,” Grubb said. “These guys are (running) crossing routes, they’re middle-field open, they’re sitting in zones. They’re really versatile for big guys.”

Odunze snagged 92 balls for 1,640 yards and 13 scores with the Huskies last season, so that’s definitely the name we want to see associated with Metcalf. It’s also the obvious roster-to-roster comp.

Of course, it’s recklessly optimistic to assume a perfectly smooth transition to an entirely new offensive system, even for a group of experienced vets like the crew in Seattle. We’re not quite prepared to guarantee a career year for DK.

We will, however, allow for the possibility that Metcalf can unlock another level of fantasy achievement in his team’s new offense. When a player with his rare talent suddenly finds himself in a (maybe) richer offensive environment, he should become a target for aggressive fantasy managers.

To this point, early drafters seem to be expecting nothing more than a same old, same old season from D.K., selecting him as the WR22 in an average draft. If his ADP actually holds in that neighborhood, he’ll offer significant profit potential.