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32 In 32: Washington Commanders

In our “32 in 32” series, we are highlighting three of the most notable fantasy football players for each team, covering all 32 teams in 32 days!


Antonio Gibson (RB – Washington Commanders):


2022 was a very conflicting season for Antonio Gibson, seeing career-low numbers in every rushing category with 149 attempts for 546 yards (3.7 YPC) and 3 TDs, but also seeing career-best numbers in nearly every receiving category with 46 catches on 58 targets for 353 yards and 2 TDs.


Unfortunately, the minor uptick in receiving utilization wasn’t enough to overcome a significant reduction in work on the ground, finishing the year as the RB28 with the lowest PPG and overall points in his 3-year career. That came amidst the introduction of Brian Robinson into the offense, who took over upon his return to the lineup, posting 12+ carries in all but 2 games and controlling both the running duties (68%) and overall touches (63%) between the two RBs.


Washington does see the introduction of an Eric Bieniemy scheme, which perfectly aligns with Gibson’s skill set, and saw a similar RB (Jerick McKinnon) thrive when working as the premier back. With that scheme and the release of J.D. McKissic this offseason, Gibson will likely see an expanded role both in the rushing and receiving games.


Going as a mid-to-low RB3 option on draft day in the late-7th/8th round range, I am happy to invest in Gibson as an RB3 (non-FLEX) option or even as a very high-end RB4, especially given his realistic top-15 upside in an Eric Bieniemy offense alongside the fact that Gibson has already proven he can be a quality fantasy RB (RB10 in 2021, RB13 in 2020).

 

Terry McLaurin (WR – Washington Commanders):


McLaurin has always been a ‘good but not great’ fantasy WR throughout his career, finishing as the WR29 in 2019, the WR20 in 2020, the WR25 in 2021, and now the WR14 in 2022.


Prior to 2022, he had been one of the most inconsistent WRs in fantasy, but last season he showed something different – going for 9+ points in 14 games and 10+ points in 12 games, offering a relatively stable WR2 floor for owners.


My concern is that a good portion of his success came without Jahan Dotson, whether he was inactive or severely limited due to injury. When Dotson was involved in the offense (3+ targets), McLaurin was actually the lesser of the two in terms of production, ranking 16th in points and 24th in PPG compared to Dotson’s 13th and 20th respectively. It’s not an overly notable difference, nor was McLaurin’s performance poor, but it is worth noting as Eric Bieniemy’s scheme favors the interior routes, which aligns more with Dotson than McLaurin.


Going as a low-end WR2 (WR22 on ECR, WR24 on ADP) in the late-4th/early-5th round range, I don’t necessarily dislike the price on McLaurin and have him valued at that point. However, I will likely go with an option with more upside and comparable security (especially given the QB situation in Washington), such as Calvin Ridley or Jerry Jeudy, who command similar prices.

 

Jahan Dotson (WR – Washington Commanders):


After being selected 16th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, Dotson had one of the more conflicting seasons among WRs. He showed major flashes of potential but was also limited by poor QB play and injuries, which cost him 5 games early in his rookie season.


When he was involved, he was fantastic. In games the 9 games where he registered 3+ targets, he posted 10+ points in all but two of them and ranked as the WR13 in points across those games, even exceeding fellow WR Terry McLaurin in production.


By no means am I saying he will be a better fantasy WR than McLaurin this year, but the potential is certainly there. With him already proving very productive when active (and not limited), plus the introduction of an Eric Bienemy offense that revolves around short-to-intermediate range passes to the center of the field (Dotson’s area), it would not be a shock to see the former 1st round pick emerge as a WR2 for fantasy.


In the late-7th/early-8th round range as a fringe-WR3/WR4 option, I am heavily targeting Dotson as a sleeper WR in most of my drafts. It appears that the volume will be there and with him being one of the better possession receivers in the NFL, I believe Dotson can (and will) become a second version of Keenan Allen – the only question being if that happens this year.

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