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Washington Commanders Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2022

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No more holdout worries for WR Terry McLaurin. He and the Commanders agreed to a 3-year, $70 million contract extension on Tuesday. That tacks on to the final year of his rookie deal to keep McLaurin signed through the 2025 season. He'll be 30 at that point. The 2019 3rd-rounder has opened his career with WR30, WR20 and WR36 finishes in PPR points per game -- despite often dealing with poor QB play. It's arguable whether Carson Wentz will stabilize that situation. McLaurin sits in mid-range WR2 territory in our 2022 rankings.

The Athletic's Ben Standig wonders whether rookie Brian Robinson will replace Antonio Gibson as the Commanders' goal-line back this season. "Washington selected running back Brian Robinson to be a between-the-tackles hammer," Standig writes. "It will be interesting to see whether Robinson or Antonio Gibson, who remains the lead back, handles goal-line/short-yardage situations. Often the rookie gets eased into such scenarios, but Gibson’s penchant for fumbles combined with Robinson’s ball security and interior running could flip this toward the Alabama alum." Gibson coughed it up 6 times last season and was just-ok near the goal line, converting 5 of 12 carries inside the 5-yard line into TDs. Robinson has 5 pounds on Gibson and scored 14 times on the ground at Alabama last year. Usage in Washington's backfield will be worth monitoring closely in training camp and preseason action.

Commanders TE Logan Thomas revealed more about the knee injury that he suffered this past December. "With my knee, the reports came out but they didn't tell the full story," Thomas said. "I did ACL, MCL and both my [lateral and medial] meniscus." We knew that Thomas tore his ACL and MCL, but the meniscus damage is new information. Thomas added that he's hoping to play Week 1 but admitted that the timeline he was given would have him back "somewhere around Week 4." We'll monitor his progress this summer.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Commanders WR Terry McLaurin plans to miss this week's mandatory minicamp. The 4th-year wideout is looking for a new contract, as he heads into the final year of his rookie deal. Beyond the fine that will come with holding out, McLaurin will be missing practice time with new QB Carson Wentz. His absence will also afford extra reps for WRs such as rookie Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel and Cam Sims. We'll see how this situation develops. For now, we're not adjusting our outlook for McLaurin -- who just might be getting the best QB of his career to date.

Commanders WR Curtis Samuel is participating in this week's OTAs. That's notable because he was available for only 84 snaps all last season due to a lingering groin injury that required offseason surgery. “I’m great," Samuel told reporters Tuesday. "Y’all saw me flying around out there." Samuel faces added target competition with the arrival of 1st-round rookie WR Jahan Dotson. But Washington gave him a 3-year, $34.5 million contract with $23 million guaranteed last offseason, so we're expecting him to be a significant part of the offense -- barring injury.

ESPN's John Keim writes that the touch count "should remain high" for Commanders RB Antonio Gibson this season but that "his usage could vary weekly." That comes after the team drafted Alabama RB Brian Robinson in Round 3, an addition that has elicited multiple comparisons to former Panthers RB duo DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Keim specifically highlights Robinson's power and short-yardage potential. That could vulture goal-line touches from Gibson, who has racked up 18 TDs on the ground through 2 seasons. Add the return of J.D. McKissic, and it's easy to see the risk factors on Gibson's 2022 workload. His best-ball ADP has dipped significantly since the NFL Draft. We'll see where he settles as summer approaches.

Commanders HC Ron Rivera compared his new Antonio Gibson - Brian Robinson backfield to the Jonathan Stewart - De'Angelo Williams pairing he had in Carolina, according to insider Grant Paulsen. Those guys split backfield work almost right down the middle across 4 seasons under Rivera, with Stewart averaging 10.4 carries and 2.8 targets per game vs. Williams' 11.2 carries and 1.6 targets. We're not expecting Robinson to match Gibson in volume this season, but it sounds like the rookie has a shot to play a significant role.

Commanders WR Curtis Samuel provided an update on his recovery from groin surgery. “I’ve been training and working out, and I haven’t been limited to anything,” he said. “I’ve been doing pretty much everything that I used to be able to do — running fast, cutting fast. I’m just feeling good overall, and I’m excited about it. This upcoming season, I got a lot of goals.” Samuel and his trainer have made it a point to work on stride efficiency to ensure he’s not putting necessary stress on his legs. “Control the stride to make sure they maintain their speed,” trainer Pete Bommarito said. “That’s what we really did. It was just focusing on that. When he over-strides and he can’t control it, he does feel those nagging issues. But that’s not unique to him; that’s the case for almost everybody that’s blazing fast like him in any sport.” Samuel took a short-term hit with the arrival of Round 1 WR Jahan Dotson. The veteran, though, still makes for a fine value pick late in best ball drafts.

The Commanders grabbed North Carolina QB Sam Howell with the 1st pick of Round 5. Howell started all 3 years at Chapel Hill, opening his career impressively with 3,641 passing yards and 38 TDs as a freshman and 3,586 yards and 30 TDs as a sophomore. He took a considerable step back this past season, though, finishing with 3,056 yards and 24 TDs. Losing Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome to the NFL certainly played a part, but Howell also set a 3-year low in Pro Football Focus passing grade. Howell did set career highs with 828 rushing yards and 11 TDs in 2021, though. He has plenty of arm strength and might be the best deep-ball thrower in this year’s QB class. Howell is also entering the NFL at just 21 years old, so there’s upside here. He’ll compete with Taylor Heinicke for Washington’s backup job behind Carson Wentz at least to open this season. But Howell has the potential to develop into the Commanders’ starter down the road.

Washington selected RB Brian Robinson in Round 3 of the NFL Draft. At nearly 6’2, 225 pounds, the Alabama product is a load to bring down. He broke out as a 5th-year senior, rushing for 271-1,343-14 after sitting behind guys like Josh Jacobs, Najee Harris and Damien Harris. Despite 2 drops, Robinson added 35 catches in the receiving game. He drew a Chris Carson comp from NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein, and the tape backs that up. In Washington, he profiles as a potential rotational runner right out of the gate. Note that Antonio Gibson is under contract for 2 more seasons.

The Commanders added Penn State WR Jahan Dotson with the 16th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. He notably goes ahead of Arkansas WR Treylon Burks. Dotson might have the best combination of route-running ability and hands in this year’s WR class. He has the quickness and technique to defeat press coverage and the suddenness and efficiency to create separation. That’s earned him comparisons to Diontae Johnson and Emmanuel Sanders. Dotson also boasts a surprisingly large catch radius and posted a career 5.2% drop rate, according to Pro Football Focus. He didn’t break out until his junior year at Penn State, although he did post big market shares in both 2020 and 2021. Size is the most notable wart on Dotson’s profile. He’s just 5’11 and 178 pounds with 18th percentile arm length and a 22nd percentile wingspan. That figures to limit Dotson to mostly slot duties in the NFL and puts a cap on his fantasy upside. It’ll be interesting to see how Washington deploys Dotson alongside WR Curtis Samuel, who’s played plenty in the slot.

Washington TE Logan Thomas has resumed jogging and was told that he's "a little ahead of schedule" in his return from a December 5 torn ACL. Thomas had surgery on December 17 and was reportedly given a 10-month timetable for return. That'd put him back in mid-October. We'll continue to monitor Thomas' progress, but fantasy owners shouldn't currently be expecting him to be ready for the start of the season.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that RB J.D. McKissic has changed his mind on leaving for Buffalo in free agency and instead decided to sign a 2-year, $7 million deal to stay in Washington. It's reportedly the same offer he had originally accepted from the Bills. McKissic figures to again lead Washington RBs in receptions, limiting Antonio Gibson's upside in that area. Gibson trailed McKissic by 1.3 receptions per game last season (3.9 vs. 2.6) and ranked 21st among all RBs in targets. McKissic remains only a later-round PPR consideration. QB Carson Wentz isn't likely to help RB target volume overall in Washington.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports that the Commanders are expected to re-sign WR Cam Sims. The 5th-year wideout caught just 15 balls for Washington last season but 32 the year before. Ben Standig of The Athletic said on our podcast earlier this month that HC Ron Rivera has indicated they want to get Sims the ball more going forward. Sims has a ways to go to become fantasy relevant, but he's a free stash across fantasy football formats right now. Sims turned 26 in January.

Former Washington RB J.D. McKissic plans to sign a 2-year deal with the Buffalo Bills, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. McKissic will get $7 million, with a max value of $8 million. He clearly arrives as primarily a receiving back, which means we should expect a target dip for Devin Singletary ... at least. We'll see what else Buffalo does with a backfield that also leaned on Zack Moss and Matt Breida at times last season. Singletary sits 24th among RBs in Underdog best-ball ADP right now, going early in Round 7. Expect that to come down further. He's OK to consider low in RB3 range, though. As for McKissic, he's no more than a later-round consideration -- especially in an offense that has ranked near the bottom of the league in RB target share for 3 straight seasons.

The Colts traded QB Carson Wentz to the Commanders. Indianapolis is receiving "a package of picks that is thought to include two third-round picks," according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Washington is also paying the full $28 million that Wentz is owed for 2022. The 29-year-old was just ok for the Colts last season, posting a 62.4% completion rate, 6.9 yards-per-attempt average and 27 TDs vs. 7 INTs. Pro Football Focus graded Wentz 20th among 31 qualifiers. He's not a difference-maker at the position but should be an upgrade over Washington's Taylor Heinicke-led QB room last year. Consider Wentz's arrival a slight boost for WR Terry McLaurin, RB Antonio Gibson and the rest of the Commanders' skill-position players. Wentz should provide some spot-start fantasy value but isn't an exciting pick in early drafts. We'll see what the Colts plan to do at QB. They're currently left with Sam Ehlinger and James Morgan.

Update: Per Schefter, the Commanders are getting Wentz and a 2022 2nd-round pick in exchange for 2022 2nd- and 3rd-rounders and a 2023 3rd-rounder that becomes a 2nd if Wentz plays 70+% of the offensive snaps this season.

Washington RB Antonio Gibson (hip) was limited in Wednesday's practice. He came off the COVID list earlier in the day and seems on track to play vs. the Giants this weekend.

Washington RB Antonio Gibson has been activated from the COVID list. He should be back for Sunday's finale vs. the Giants, but we'll have to see what Gibson does in practice this week. He's battled through a bunch of different injuries this season.

Washington DE Montez Sweat is inactive for today's game against the Eagles. He has been away from the team this week following the shooting death of his brother.

Colts QB Carson Wentz (COVID) has been medically cleared to play vs. the Raiders today, HC Frank Reich told NFL Network's Stacey Dales. Wentz is just a QB2 in what figures to be another run-heavy attack from the Colts. But he's good news for RB Jonathan Taylor and WR Michael Pittman

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