With fantasy football draft season in full effect, let’s take a moment to look at the top options Washington has in 2022.
A lot of people might tend to avoid Washington when it comes to drafting players during fantasy football season. But, contrary to popular belief, there are a few Commanders that could serve as pivotal pieces on your fantasy team.
Now, admittedly, a portion of this article may come off as biased and optimistic. However, realize that a certain someone won all six of his fantasy football leagues on ESPN last season, so it’s not like this is coming from someone who has never played or participated in fantasy. That said, let’s take a closer look at the options.
Terry McLaurin, WR (Fantasy ADP: #45, WR19)
2021 (17 games): 77 receptions, 1053 yards, five touchdowns with 213.5 fantasy points
2022 Projections: 79 receptions, 1069 yards, six touchdowns with 219.9 fantasy points (Rostered: Yahoo 99%, ESPN 99%)
Manny’s Projections: 86 catches for 1380 yards, eight touchdowns with 272 fantasy points
Terry’s Fantasypros.com projections put him just above Allen Robinson and Brandin Cooks, and just below Mike Williams and Jaylen Waddle. Both Waddle and Mike Williams are arguably the number two options on their respective teams, as opposed to Terry who is the clear number one option on a well-balanced pass-heavy team now led by a respectable quarterback.
Fantasypros currently has Washington projected to throw only 538 times, which is about a 12% decrease from Scott Turner’s usual offense. However, calculating a 12% increase to Terry’s current projections, he should be able to comfortably surpass his status as WR19.
McLaurin is also lucky to have the ninth easiest (projected) schedule for a receiver this season, so all signs point to him having a breakout year. He’s currently going as a mid-to-high WR2, but there’s a good chance he provides WR1 production.
Antonio Gibson, RB (Fantasy ADP: #56, RB26)
2021 (16 games): 258 carries, 1037 rushing yds, 42 receptions for 294 yards, and 10 touchdowns with 229.1 fantasy points
2022 Projections: 202 carries, 884 yards, 31 receptions for 243 yards, eight touchdowns, two fumbles with 191.7 fantasy points (rostered: 95% Yahoo, 94% ESPN)
Manny’s Projections: 189 carries, 832 rushing yds, 39 catches for 385 yards, and four touchdowns receiving.
The third-year receiver-turned-running back will be the clear RB1 for the first four games with Brian Robinson working towards his return from the Non-Football Injury Reserve (NFI) list in Week 5. Gibson should be quite familiar with this role, as he has been the lead back for Washington for the past two years. The dynamic back has posted back-to-back seasons of 1000+ yards from scrimmage to go along with 10+ touchdowns in each of his first two seasons.
In the first four games of the season, we should see Gibson resume his usual role of about 18 touches a game before Robinson returns. It’s yet to be known if Robinson will immediately return to being the starting back, but it is known that the Commanders will not bring Robinson back until he is 100% ready.
Upon his return, we should see a 55/45 balance between Robinson and Gibson respectively. Gibson still remains an asset in PPR leagues even with Robinson’s return, as he’s a very capable receiving threat.
Fantasypros.com also has the Commanders having the fourth easiest strength of schedule in 2022 for running backs, providing a further indication that Gibson will continue to be a fantasy option. Target him to be a low-end RB2/high-end RB3 or Flex option.
Jahan Dotson, WR (Fantasy ADP: #154, WR60)
2022 Projected: 51 receptions, 680 yards, four touchdowns with 140 fantasy points (Rostered: 21% Yahoo, 58% ESPN)
Manny’s Projections: 59 receptions, 885 yards, six touchdowns with 183.5 fantasy points
The 22-year-old rookie out of Penn State appears to be locked in as the number two receiver in Washington. While Terry was away from camp negotiating his contract, Wentz and Dotson formed a formidable relationship with each other.
Factoring in the uncertainty of Curtis Samuel’s capability to return to the elusive threat he was not too long ago, plus the versatility of Dotson’s route tree, Jahan should have no issues commanding 80 targets. For those doubting Wentz’s ability to spread the ball around so all of his receivers produce in a pass-heavy environment, look no further than his 2019 season where he targeted six different receivers over 60 times each.
Even looking at last season where the Colts ran the ball almost 500 times and did not have an eye-popping receiving core, Wentz was able to target five different receivers over 45 times each (six with 40+ targets). His number two target last year saw nearly 70 targets in 16 games, so it should not be a surprise for Dotson to see his fair share of production alongside Scary Terry. Jahan is currently going in the later (12th-13th) rounds as depth, but he could reach his ceiling of becoming a solid WR3/Flex option.
Carson Wentz, QB (Fantasy ADP: #228, QB23)
2021 (17 games): 3563 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, seven interceptions, five fumbles (258.02 fantasy points)
2022 Projected: 3695 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, 12 INTs, 241 rushing yards, four fumbles lost with 253.1 fantasy points. (Rostered: Yahoo 13%, ESPN 16%)
Manny’s projections: 3950 passing yards, 27 passing Touchdowns, 11 INTs, 175 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, five fumbles lost with 273.5 fantasy points
The seventh-year vet now going on his third team is being picked as high as the 19th picked quarterback on Yahoo fantasy, but has also been going as low as the 28th picked quarterback on Sleeper Fantasy. This indicates that no one really knows what to expect from the new Commander-in-Chief.
Fantasypros has Carson Wentz’s strength of schedule as the fourth easiest among starting quarterbacks, making it a fairly favorable path for Wentz. Yet, they have Wentz performing rather pedestrian. Whether it is agreed upon on if Wentz can duplicate his multiple solid performing seasons or not, it can almost unanimously be agreed that the Commanders will need him to try as they cannot win by relying solely on the defense.
Washington passed the ball on an average of 32 times per game last year and 38 attempts per game the season before. I took an average of that and predicted Wentz to throw around 35 times per game, which would be about 600 attempts on the year. This is right in line with Scott Turner’s offensive game plan.
If he completes those passes at a modest 65% (the completion percentage for Washington the last two seasons), it would equate to about 390 completions over 17 games. This is a 12% increase from Fantasypros projections. Computing the 12% increase across his projected stat line, his projections over 17 games should give him a higher ranking than QB23. Especially given the fact that Wentz was QB17 on a team that ran the ball about 600 times, it should be a good bet that he outperforms his initial projection of being the 23rd most productive quarterback in the fantasy world.
Wentz’s current value is going at a low QB2/ high QB3 and undrafted in most leagues. In my opinion, that’s more of Wentz’s floor than his actual ceiling. Look early in the season to snag him on the waiver wire if you find need a QB2 or come across an extra roster spot due to putting someone on the injured reserve.
Brian Robinson Jr, RB (Fantasy ADP: #147, RB58)
2022 Projected: 135 carries, 575 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns, 16 catches for 123 yardds, one receiving touchdown with 113.1 fantasy points (Rostered: 43% Yahoo, 37% ESPN)
Manny’s projections: 143 carries, 643 rushing yds, seven rushing touchdowns, 22 recs, 190 rec yds, one receiving touchdown with 153.3 fantasy points
Given the unfortunate event that occurred last week, Brian Robinson was placed on the Non-Football Injury Reserve list, subjecting him to missing at least the first four games for Washington this season. The incident didn’t result in any badly damaged ligaments, bones, or tendons which is a great sign for a player with as much upside as Robinson has.
The Commanders hopefully won’t rush him back too soon and in the process provide Robinson all the time needed to return. Once he is 100% again, there’s no doubt that the’ll will serve as a pivotal member of this offense.
Robinson is currently going in the last few rounds, but can easily provide RB3 production when he returns. Look to draft him with one of your last few picks. Plus, you should be able to move him to IR after the draft and create an extra roster spot for at least five weeks.
Potential Fantasy Surprises
Logan Thomas, TE (ADP: #243, TE24)
2021 (6 games): 18 rec, 196 receiving yds, three touchdowns
2022 Projected: 49 rec, 516 receiving yds, five touchdowns,127.4 fantasy points (Rostered: Yahoo 8%, ESPN 6%)
Manny’s Projection: 55 catches for 650 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns with 168 fantasy points
Logan Thomas is coming back from an injury-filled season: a season where he had both a torn ACL and a Grade Two hamstring strain. Many are worried about the quarterback-turned-tight end and his ability to stay healthy, but as we look into his injury history it really isn’t extensive. In fact, his chance of injury is categorized as “very low” on DraftSharks.com.
The original timeline would put Thomas’ return closer to Week 4 however, being the competitor that he is, Thomas is aiming for a Week 1 return. Upon his return, he’ll be getting the ball from a quarterback who has been no stranger to throwing to talented tight ends. He’s finished the past two seasons as a top 10 tight end in PPR leagues during the weeks he played.
Assuming Thomas has a relatively healthy season, it should come as no surprise to see him return to his level of being a low-to-mid-tier TE1. It should also help that the Commanders are projected to have the ninth easiest schedule for tight ends this season. He’ll most likely be undrafted in all of your fantasy leagues, but if you are in a deeper league or come across an extra roster spot, look to stash him on your bench.
J.D. McKissic, RB (ADP: #154, RB43)
2021 (11 games): 48 carries, 212 rushing yds, two rushing touchdowns, 43 catches for 397 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns (Rostered: Yahoo 32%, ESPN 48%)
2022 Projected: 55 carries, 243 yds, two rushing touchdowns, 47 catches for 366 yards, and two rushing touchdowns with 127.6 fantasy points
Manny’s Projected: 61 carries, 256 rushing yds, two rushing touchdowns, 55 catches for 540 yards, and three receiving touchdowns with 170.6 fantasy points
The Washington fanbase certainly could not have been happier to find out that one of the most dynamic receiving backs in the league wasn’t heading to Buffalo after all. It can be argued that J.D. McKissic was one of the most pivotal members of the Washington offense the past two seasons along with Terry McLaurin. In the past two seasons, McKissic has had 123 receptions in only 27 games. That makes him second on the team in catches behind McLaurin’s 164 catches, keep in mind Terry has played five more games than JD.
If McKissic was able to finish the season last year, we would have most likely seen him surpass 60 receptions again. The fact that Washington ended the season 2-4 (with the second win coming against the Giants in Week 18) after his absence after Week 12, is further proof that McKissic is a key member of this offense, and will continue to be utilized as one even with the new weapons in town.
Currently, McKissic will also be undrafted in most of your fantasy leagues. However, if you are in a deeper league, he has a high PPR upside and can serve as your RB4 or replacement for your flex.
Good luck drafting this Fantasy Football season! Here’s to multiple championships and bragging rights. Follow me on Twitter (@CommanderSZN) for Fantasy takes and updates.