As we inch closer to opening day of the NFL season, we want to get you prepared for your fantasy football drafts. That process begins with our team previews, where we’ll break down each team’s offense while providing players we’re targeting and, in some cases, avoiding.
Commanders Fantasy Football Team Preview
Head Coach: Ron Rivera (fourth season as Commanders' HC)
Offensive Coordinator: Eric Bieniemy (first season as Commanders' OC)
Key Offensive Additions:
Key Offensive Departures:
Key Offensive Rookies:
- RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. — sixth-round draft pick
Points Per Game: 18.9 (24th)
Passing Yards: 204.2 (21st)
Rushing Yards: 126.1 (12th)
Vacated Targets: 58 (29th)
Pass: 56 percent Run: 44 percent
OL Rank: 29th
Early signs point toward the Washington Commanders opening the season with second-year quarterback Sam Howell as the starter. Howell was a fifth-round pick who played one game last season. During that contest against the semi-motivated Dallas Cowboys, Howell had a mediocre showing as a passer, completing 57.9 percent of his attempts for 169 yards with a touchdown and an interception. However, Howell also added 35 yards rushing and a score on five carries. That rushing upside is what makes Howell worth taking late in best ball, deep leagues or two-quarterback formats.
If Howell struggles, Brissett gives Rivera the option to make a quick pivot at quarterback. Brissett filled in for the Cleveland Browns last season until Deshaun Watson returned from suspension. Brissett averaged 15.6 fantasy points per game, which was 20th among qualifying quarterbacks during that span. Brissett brings some rushing upside to the table, but ultimately, he’s a volatile weekly streaming option with limited fantasy value outside of deep leagues and two-quarterback formats.
This backfield begins with Brian Robinson. Washington’s third-round pick last season was shot during the preseason and heroically returned to play in 12 games. His 17.1 carries per game were higher than every player not named Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb and Jonathan Taylor. Robinson has an adequate pass-catching profile from college, but he’s probably just the hammer in this run game, as Antonio Gibson is the more explosive and experienced pass-catcher.
While Robinson is a volume-driven RB3 type in half-PPR and PPR leagues, Gibson’s role and fantasy relevance are murkier. Gibson averaged nine carries and three receptions per game when overlapping with Robinson, scoring 10.3 PPR points per game during that stretch. Gibson’s fantasy managers will need to hope reliable veteran Brissett is under center, as the mobile Howell would be disastrous for a receiving back like Gibson.
No other running backs should be considered, as last year’s 9.4 PPR points per game from Robinson feels like more than the high water mark for bruising rookie Rodriguez, who has no draft capital, no speed and no receiving profile.
Wide Receivers, Tight Ends
Former Kansas City Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy takes over Washington’s offense in the same role. Jordan expects Bieniemy’s passing attack, with Howell under center, to be centered on taking shots down the field. Since 2018, Howell has been one of three Division I quarterbacks to throw 40 or more touchdowns on vertical routes. This bodes well for Washington’s two primary wide receivers, Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, because both players can win down the field. Bienemy will have to get the most out of Washington’s offensive line and run game through scheme, but ultimately, Howell has to make good decisions to take those big play chances.
The third wide receiver spot will be a rotation between Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown. We don’t expect to see much volume out of that duo. The tight end room features Logan Thomas and John Bates. Thomas should lead Washington tight ends in targets, but we expect that to be a low-volume number.
The target share for the Commanders should be a two-man show, with McLaurin and Dotson both seeing a high target volume. Jordan doesn’t expect a high catch rate with Howell as quarterback, but we’ll see some spike weeks from both pass catchers.
Ian Miller: Sell Gibson (RB32)
Gibson’s high-end receiving upside has been greatly exaggerated. He’s three years into his NFL career and has yet to post just a 12 percent target share. Now with Robinson heading into his second season after handling over 50 percent of the carries last year, the likelihood of Gibson putting up meaningful production is shrinking.
Commanders We’re Targeting, Avoiding in Fantasy Football
Josh Larky: Target Robinson, Dotson; Fade McLaurin
Ryan Reynolds: Target Robinson
Jordan Vanek: Target Dotson
Other Fantasy Previews
Follow our Team on Twitter
Josh Larky: @JLarkyTweets
Ryan Reynolds: @RyanReynoldsNFL
Jordan Vanek: @JordanVanekDFS
Ian Miller: @Dynasty_IM