Will DK Metcalf's Stats Progress Or Regress In 2020?

Photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf was a fan-favorite coming into the 2018 NFL Draft. Why wouldn’t he be, especially with this picture floating around the internet? He’s 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, and a physical freak.

The Seattle Seahawks took him in the second round despite all the hoopla surrounding his poor three-cone time. That decision paid dividends right away, as Metcalf emerged as the No. 2 pass-catcher for Russell Wilson as a rookie. What does he have in store for year two?

MyBookie.ag has the following totals for Metcalf’s 2020 season:

Receptions: 62.5 (over -120; under -120)

Receiving Yards: 875.5 (over -120; under -120)

Metcalf led all rookie wide receivers with 100 targets last season and that sort of volume should be repeatable-ish in 2020. Over the last four seasons, Wilson’s No. 2 pass-catching target (whether it was Jimmy Graham, Tyler Lockett, or Metcalf) has averaged 90.3 targets per season. Although that represents a bit of a drop from Metcalf’s rookie year, the addition of Greg Olsen (and having any healthy tight ends, actually) will take away from the sophomore’s targets.

In 18 total games last season (16 regular season and two playoff games), Metcalf averaged 9.82 yards per target—that number was actually significantly higher in the postseason, which is a great sign. Assuming that stays relatively constant, that works out to 883.4 yards over 90 targets. Metcalf needs all 90 of those targets to go over the posted total or 98 targets at the 9.0 yards-per-target rate he had during the 2019 regular season. Based on those numbers, the receiving yards prop is a complete stay away for me. 

How about receptions?

Metcalf caught 69 passes over 18 games as a rookie. That’s a 61.3 receptions-per-16-games pace, but let’s dive deeper than that. Metcalf had a 60.53% catch rate as a rookie. Assuming he stays around that mark in 2020, that projects out to 54.5 catches on 90 targets. He’d need 105 targets at that catch rate to get to 63 receptions in 2020. Based on that info, I lean toward under 62.5 receptions (-120).

If you’ve followed this series so far, you know volume has everything to do with projecting not only season totals and fantasy value, but potentially profitable player props. The path to 100-plus targets is going to be an arduous one for Metcalf unless Tyler Lockett or Olsen miss significant time. The former has missed only one game in his five-year career. The latter is more of an injury risk at this stage of his career, but he has last year’s starter, Will Dissly, right behind him if he misses time. Assuming Lockett and either Olsen or Dissly remain healthy, it’s hard to envision Metcalf getting more than about the 90 targets projected above—which means the under on both of these props seems like the more likely outcome.

Just for fun, let’s look at what his potential touchdown total could be. Metcalf scored a touchdown every 14.25 targets (including the playoffs). Over a 90-target, 16-game stretch, that equals about six receiving touchdowns. That makes my projection for Metcalf’s 2020 season: 55 catches for 883 yards and six touchdowns. Some may be disappointed by those totals, but basically replicating your lofty rookie stats in year two with every defensive coordinator’s attention is a step forward.

Written By:

Jaime Eisner

COO of The Draft Network

COO of The Draft Network. He’s a former editor for Sports Illustrated, FanRag Sports and Arizona Sports. He’s the co-host of the TDN Fantasy Podcast and has an extensive background covering fantasy sports and sports betting.