Can Brandon Marshall Return to Fantasy Football Relevance with the Seattle Seahawks?

Brandon Marshall's going to the Seattle Seahawks on a one-year deal. What does this do to the fantasy football outlooks of Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, and Tyler Lockett?

The Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday signed 34-year-old Brandon Marshall to a one-year-deal, adding to a wide receiver core that lacked depth behind Doug Baldwin.

In Seattle, there is plenty of opportunity to be had with Jimmy Graham, Paul Richardson, and Luke Willson all moving on from the Seahawks in free agency. The trio combined for 37.5 percent of Russell Wilson's targets in 2017 and 20 of his 34 passing touchdowns.

But while these free-agent departures have left a void in Seattle, Marshall remains far from a lock to become fantasy relevant in 2018. In fact, he may not even be guaranteed a roster spot come the start of the season.

Marshall is just two years removed from a 1,500-yard receiving season in which he scored 14 touchdowns and finished as the WR3 in PPR leagues. But the past two seasons have been a struggle, to put it mildly.

Marshall has missed 12 games over the past two years, and his production has fallen dramatically for a receiver who had 100 receptions in 6 of 9 seasons between 2007 and 2015. Combined, Marshall has only 77 receptions for 942 yards and 3 touchdowns over 20 games in the past 2 seasons.

After signing a two-year deal with the New York Giants prior to last year, Marshall's season ended prematurely following an ankle injury in Week 5. In his lone season with the Giants, Marshall caught just 18 passes for 154 yards and no touchdowns, the lowest totals in each category over his 12-year career. The Giants chose to move on from the six-time Pro Bowler this offseason, releasing Marshall in April. Since Marshall's release, there was little interest in the free agent receiver with his only visit coming with Seattle in early May.

Now that he's the newest member of the Seahawks, Marshall joins a team ripe with opportunity, but does that mean he enhances Wilson's fantasy prospects for this season? And should you even consider drafting Marshall?

Marshall's Fantasy Impact in Seattle

Prior to the Marshall signing, the Seahawks' top three receivers projected to be Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, and former Arizona Cardinals receiver Jaron Brown.

Baldwin can still be penciled in to dominate targets from Wilson, something he's done every year since 2014, but Lockett had emerged as an interesting late-round flier with a great opportunity entering 2018.

Last season, Lockett was fourth on the team in targets with 71, and he turned those opportunities into 45 receptions for 555 yards and 2 touchdowns. But with Graham and Richardson -- second and third on the team in targets, respectively, in 2017 -- now playing elsewhere, Lockett appeared poised to take on a bigger role in the Seahawks' passing game.

At his ADP of 192 (WR67) on and 180 (WR65) in best-ball drafts, per, Lockett was a nice dart throw at the end of drafts.

Should Marshall stick with the Seahawks and earn the starting job opposite Baldwin, that puts a severe dent in Lockett's fantasy outlook in 2018.

Can Marshall Be a Big Weapon for Wilson?

After two down years, it's fair to wonder just how effective Marshall can be this season, and that does little for Wilson's prospects this season.

Last year, there were 120 wide receivers with at least 15 receptions, and Marshall was one of the least efficient performers, per our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, which you can read more about in our glossary.

Out of those 120 receivers, Marshall ranked 100th in Reception NEP per target (0.49). Now, you may be wondering if Marshall's ineffectiveness was due to playing on a dreadful Giants team, but he compared negatively even with his teammates in this area.

Player NEP per Target Targets Receptions Yards Touchdowns
Odell Beckham Jr 0.71 41 25 302 3
Sterling Shepard 0.69 84 59 731 2
Tavarres King 0.58 37 18 240 3
Roger Lewis 0.51 72 36 416 2
Brandon Marshall 0.49 33 18 154 0
Travis Rudolph 0.30 21 8 101 0

From the table above, you can see that Marshall outperformed only Travis Rudolph with the Giants last season.

Furthermore, Marshall's 2016 numbers with the Jets weren't much better.

In that season, Marshall had 59 receptions for 788 yards and 3 touchdowns over 15 games. His Reception NEP per target (0.58) was slightly better than 2017, but he still compared poorly relative to the rest of the league.

There were 58 wide receivers with at least 50 receptions in 2016, and Marshall ranked 50th among that group in NEP per target. Once again, he fared poorly even compared to his teammates.

PlayerNEP per TargetTargetsReceptionsYardsTouchdowns
Quincy Enunwa0.65105588574
Robby Anderson0.6178425872
Brandon Marshall0.58128597883
Charone Peake0.5235191860

Both Enunwa and Anderson outperformed Marshall in his final season with the Jets.

Who to Draft in Seattle

It's a long shot that Marshall turns back the clock and once again becomes fantasy-relevant, thus making Wilson a more desirable fantasy quarterback or hurting Baldwin's overall market share. Entering 2018, Wilson is still projected to be a top quarterback with his dual-threat ability and Baldwin a top wideout with all of the targets he should command.

In a group of receivers lacking experience, Marshall could end up sticking with the Seahawks, and he may find the endzone a few times this season, but his performance over the past two seasons indicates that may be his ceiling in 2018.

The player who takes the biggest hit with the Marshall signing is Lockett. Appearing ready to take on a larger target share himself prior to Marshall joining the team, Lockett may now find himself losing snaps to the veteran and no longer worthy of being on your radar late in drafts.