The Washington Commanders are about to kick off their inaugural season with their new mascot. Unfortunately, there are plenty of question marks surrounding the team that far outweigh the new bright spots. With new quarterback Carson Wentz, first-round draft pick Jahan Dotson added to the receiving corps and fellow rookie Brian Robinson out indefinitely, it can be very tempting to avoid the Commanders until the picture becomes more clear. Luckily for you, we’re going to take a look at some of the best fantasy football bets to ride with before Week 1 begins.
Leave Your Fantasy Football Draft With This Player
Antonio Gibson, RB
To clear up a possible misconception right off the bat, just saying leave your draft with this player doesn’t mean you should draft him early. Antonio Gibson’s ADP has risen slightly in the fourth or fifth round territory but it’s clear that he’s still suffering from the negative press about a month ago. Just a week ago, that would’ve been justified but with the unfortunate shooting of Brian Robinson Jr., the rookie back slated to take over for Gibson, the third-year RB is again primed to take on most of the carries for Washington.
Given his current ADP, Gibson has excellent value with running backs traditionally flying off the board early. He’s scored 18 touchdowns over the last two years and is just a year removed from rushing for over 1,000 yards on 258 carries. Yes, J.D. McKissic will vulture receptions and opportunities in the passing game from him but it’s also important to note that Gibson finished with only one less target than him last year.
Gibson is a running back that has a legitimate RB2 upside that you can acquire in FLEX-back territory. While his production may suffer when (if) Robinson Jr. returns, the rookie could be available to pick up on waivers when he comes back allowing you a safe insurance option as well.
Rookie Fantasy Football Difference Maker
Jahan Dotson, WR
The Commanders raised some eyebrows during the 2022 NFL Draft when they selected Jahan Dotson out of Penn State with the 16th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, over the likes of Treylon Burks and Christian Watson. Whether you agree or not with the selection, it can’t be argued that the rookie is going to be a pillar of the Commanders’ passing game during the 2022 NFL season.
It’s already been confirmed by Ron Rivera that Dotson will be the number two starter playing opposite of Terry McLaurin. His current ADP puts him around rounds nine or 10 in most standard leagues along with receivers like DeVante Parker and fellow rookie George Pickens. The obvious downside is we just don’t know how his game will transfer to the NFL but in that range, he’s well worth the risk.
Dotson had to put up with a mediocre-at-best quarterback play at Penn State and still performed at a level that earned him a spot in the first round. While Wentz is definitely inconsistent, he won’t be a constant hindrance to Dotson’s production. The former Nittany Lion is the perfect draft and stash player to keep on your bench as a midseason surge is a real possibility.
Potential Fantasy Football Breakout Player
Logan Thomas, TE
It’s hard to believe but Logan Thomas is just two years removed from finishing the season as the third-ranked fantasy football tight end in PPR formats. Unfortunately, his follow-up performance in 2021 was plagued with injuries that ultimately ended in an early exit in December after suffering a knee injury from a low block. He was activated off the PUP list on August 22 and while he is questionable to play in Week 1, his return is undoubtedly near.
Thomas’ current ADP has him ranked as the 28th best tight end at the highest point. Given the injury concerns, his age (31), and the general reputation of the Commanders offense, this isn’t particularly surprising. However, this does present a fascinating waiver wire opportunity for teams weak at tight end or have tight ends that are prone to injuries.
While Wentz didn’t target his tight ends in Indianapolis often, the blame for that can’t be placed on him. Tight end talent has diminished the focus head coach Frank Reich has placed on the position the past few years with the Colts. It’s also important to remember that Wentz utilized both Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert heavily during his time with the Eagles. If Thomas can remain healthy, a return to his 2020 form is definitely in play.
Fantasy Football Bold Prediction
Antonio Gibson Will Eclipse 1,200 Rushing Yards
Take it from a Colts fan, Jonathan Taylor’s unquestioned talent wasn’t the only reason the offense leaned so heavily on him last season. Carson Wentz’s biggest weakness isn’t his accuracy or arm strength, it’s his consistency. This is a truth that Ron Rivera will realize sooner rather than later.
As stated before, this is good news for Gibson who now has the workhorse role locked in for the time being. He was only 150 yards away from accomplishing this feat last year and if he can prove to be a reliable option on the ground, Brian Robinson Jr.’s probable return may not hinder his production too much. It’s also important to note that while J.D. McKissic’s role does take away from Gibson’s role as a pass catcher, that will help keep him fresh throughout the season as a runner.
To meet the 1,200-yard mark in 17 games, Gibson will need to average 70 yards a game, a feat that he accomplished or surpassed in six games last season. Behind an offense line consisting of Charles Leno Jr., Andrew Norwell, and Trai Turner, Gibson has a dependable set of blockers should they stay healthy.