It’s no secret that Commanders WR Jahan Dotson has been underperforming in the 2023 season – through seven games, he’s eclipsed the double-digit mark in fantasy points scored just once while also putting up a bagel in the game log in Week 6. The quiet start has left him rostered in just over 50% of fantasy leagues across the biggest fantasy football platforms (Sleeper, ESPN, and NFL.com). Dotson has struggled to earn targets in the Commanders' offense, but that issue becomes even more glaring when we compare it to Sam Howell’s dropback rate over the first seven weeks of the season.
In one of the league’s most pass-heavy offenses, Jahan Dotson has fallen back to third in the pecking order among Commanders pass catchers. Ahead of Dotson’s 16% target share on the season are Terry McLaurin (25%) and Curtis Samuel (17%) – and over the past three weeks, even TE Logan Thomas is out-targeting him! Dotson has also scored just one touchdown this season after reeling in seven last year, and he hasn’t looked at all like the budding future WR2 he had the chance to be coming into this season.
Why is this significant? Well, in Weeks 13-18 of last year, Dotson was averaging a 23% target share and 36% air yards share in five games while also posting two top-15 finishes in that time span. That was with the same set of weapons around him on offense, and with multiple quarterbacks under center. In fact, in Sam Howell’s lone start last year, Dotson earned a 24% target share and 36% air yards share!
Those numbers have not followed Dotson over into 2023 despite the fact that Sam Howell is dropping back to pass at the highest rate in the NFL. Dotson is averaging just 5.5 targets per game in an offense with an available 36 pass attempts per game, which has made Dotson into an expendable piece on most fantasy rosters. As long as Howell is continuing to drop back at a high rate, Dotson will have the opportunity to turn things around – but as things stand right now, the former Penn State standout isn’t a primary focus of the passing attack.