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Washington Commanders Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Shark Bites are the latest fantasy football news & NFL updates. Draft Sharks has been in business since 1999. And when we started, redraft was the dominant form of fantasy football. Check out what we've learned about this most basic form of fantasy football along the way.

Commanders WR Terry McLaurin left Monday night's game against the Ravens with a toe injury on his right foot. X-rays were negative, and he left the sideline under his own power without a noticeable limp. We'd guess this isn't a serious issue but will certainly watch for details.

Cardinals TE Zach Ertz has received full medical clearance to return from last November's torn ACL and MCL. That should put him on track to play Week 1. Ertz was sitting third among TEs in PPR points through Week 9 last season. We'll see how the 32-year-old bounces back from that knee injury -- and how Arizona plans on divvying snaps between Ertz and TE Trey McBride. For now, consider Ertz just a TE3 target in best-ball drafts.

Commanders RB Brian Robinson said his health is "night and day" now compared to last season. No surprise considering he was shot twice in the lower half last August. Robinson got off to a slow start when he returned from that incident, but he averaged a solid 4.4 yards per carry over his final six games. His lack of pass-catching upside caps his fantasy upside, but Robinson could certainly be a useful fantasy starter in half- and non-PPR fantasy leagues.

Cardinals TE Zach Ertz will open training camp on the PUP list. No surprise after his November 13 ACL tear. Ertz said early this offseason that his goal is to be ready for Week 1, but he wouldn't guarantee that he will be. He was excellent before going down last year, ranking third among TEs in PPR points through Week 9. But between the knee injury, his age (33 in November), and the presence of second-year TE Trey McBride, Ertz is just a TE3 in best-ball drafts and a waiver-wire watch-list guy in lineup-setting leagues.

Commanders WR Terry McLaurin enters Year 5 seeking his 4th straight 1,000-yard season. McLaurin’s underlying numbers looked strong last fall, with 2.04 yards per route run, 5.1 yards after catch per reception, and a 3.8% drop rate. The former Ohio State star also played 17 games for the 2nd straight season. Washington will run it back with a WR trio of McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel. QB Sam Howell brings more questions than answers, but we’re confident in Eric Bieniemy as a major play-calling upgrade. Ultimately, McLaurin profiles as a low-end fantasy WR2.

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler led the NFL with 18 total TDs last season. It's tough to bank on that level of TD production again in 2023. But Ekeler's usage suggests that he might not regress much. He tied for sixth league-wide with 24 carries inside the 10-yard line AND ranked third with 13 targets inside the 10-yard line last year. He registered 15.3 expected TDs -- meaning that Ekeler only slightly out-produced his usage. He should play a similar role this season. And the Chargers offense could be even better under new OC Kellen Moore. It all makes Ekeler one of 2023's best TD bets. See exactly how many scores we project him for this season.

Poor QB play limited Commanders WR Jahan Dotson in 2022. Still, he flashed true Round 1 talent with 14.9 yards per catch and 7 scores. He did so despite missing five games with an early-season hamstring injury. Year two brings a QB change with Sam Howell likely to start. Washington will also break in new OC Eric Bieniemy. “Exciting. … A lot of down-the-field plays," Dotson said of Bieniemy’s offense, per The Athletic. “We’re going to stretch the field, make the defense really work.” Dotson should see plenty of downfield opportunities alongside Howell, who wasn’t shy about throwing deep at North Carolina. The 23-year-old sits just outside WR3 range in our 2023 WR rankings.

A contract adjustment seems to be ending the offseason tumult for Chargers RB Austin Ekeler. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the team is adding "close to $2 million in incentives" to the final year of Ekeler's contract and that the RB is "staying." Ekeler, of course, requested a trade earlier this offseason over discontent with his contract. He's still set to hit free agency next March. But there should now be no question about Ekeler's 2023 status. His ADP slipped some through the dispute, but Ekeler never got consistently outside of Round 1 in best ball drafting. He sits well within that range in our 2023 fantasy football rankings.

Washington spent a sixth-round pick on Kentucky RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. He averaged a strong 6.2 yards per carry for his career but caught only 20 passes. Rodriguez also spent five years in college and will turn 23 in September. It took him until 2021 to take over the Wildcats backfield. We're not betting on Rodriguez overtaking Antonio Gibson or Brian Robinson Jr. on the 2023 depth chart. But he'll be interesting to watch if injuries occur ahead of him.

The Seahawks have agreed to a one-year, $7 million deal with LB Bobby Wagner, according to multiple reports. This is a high-upside landing spot for Wagner, who became a cap casualty just a year after signing in free agency with the Rams. He returns to a Seattle LB corps that let starter Cody Barton walk in free agency. Incumbent Jordyn Brooks is coming off a Week 17 ACL tear, which could challenge his readiness for the start of the 2023 NFL season. That all means Wagner could open the year as the Seahawks top fantasy LB, with upside well into the position's top 10. We'll keep an eye on the whole situation through the summer.

The Giants are signing WR Jamison Crowder to a 1-year deal, according to CBS Sports' Josina Anderson. The G-Men continue to stockpile slot receivers, with Crowder joining Parris Campbell, Wan'Dale Robinson and Sterling Shepard as options on the inside. We'll see about the details of Crowder's contract, but he's probably not even a lock to make the final roster. Turning 30 in June, Crowder caught 6 balls in 4 games for the Bills last year, missing the rest of the season with an ankle injury.

The Chargers have granted RB Austin Ekeler permission to seek a trade, according to his agent. Ekeler and the Chargers haven't made much progress on extension talks, leading to the possibility of a split. Ekeler has 1 year left on his current deal at a very reasonable $7.75 million cap hit. He remained a fantasy monster last year, catching a career-high 107 passes and scoring 18 TDs. Ekeler earned a career-best 83.2 Pro Football Focus rushing grade (13th among 42 qualifiers) and ranked 3rd among 43 qualifiers in PFF receiving grade. It's tough to imagine a move out of Los Angeles helping his fantasy value -- but we also wouldn't expect a significant hit.

The Commanders on Tuesday made DT Daron Payne the first player to get the franchise tag in 2023. Payne demolished his previous high with 11.5 sacks in 2022 -- 6.5 more than he tallied as a 2018 rookie. Payne suggested a bump was coming, though. His QB hits climbed from 8 in 2020 to 15 in 2021 before a career-high 20 this past season. Payne also delivered his two largest tackle totals the past two years, though he didn't crack the top 12 among D-lineman in solos either year. We'd bet on some regression from his DL13 fantasy finish in 2022. Don't prioritize Payne for 2023 IDP leagues or as a dynasty target.

The Falcons have released QB Marcus Mariota. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the move saves the team $12 million in 2023 cap space. It's no surprise after Atlanta finished 2022 with rookie Desmond Ridder in the lineup. Will the former third-round pick open 2023 behind center? That may depend on whether the Falcons draft a QB with the eighth overall pick (or move up for someone). Mariota, meanwhile, hits the open market for the second straight offseason. He completed 61.3% of his passes at 7.4 yards per attempt across 13 starts last year. His 5.0% TD rate marked his best number since 2016, Mariota's second year in the league. We're not betting that a team will plan to start Mariota in 2023, but the 29-year-old (until Oct. 30) should land somewhere as at least insurance. That landing spot will determine whether he belongs on fantasy football rosters in any format. He should not be in your plans for current best-ball drafting.

The Commanders are reportedly finalizing a deal to have Eric Bieniemy become their new OC. Bieniemy has served as the Chiefs OC under HC Andy Reid since 2018. The Chiefs have won 2 Super Bowls in that span with an offense that's finished no lower than top-6 in total offensive yards and scoring. Though Bieniemy has received many interview opportunities for head coaching positions over the last few years, none ever manifested to the point of an official job offer. Perhaps getting out from under the shadow of Reid and being primarily responsible for the Commanders' offense will aid in bolstering Bieniemy's resume. He'll inherit a Commanders offense that ranked 20th in total offensive yards and 24th in scoring in 2022.

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler capped off his age 27-season with 13 carries for 35 yards and 2 scores. Credit the Jags for filling up rushing lanes — and limiting Ekeler to only 2 catches for 8 yards (4 targets). A TD machine with 40 scores over the past 2 seasons, Ekeler is now scheduled to enter the final year of his second contract. Change could be coming to the Chargers’ coaching staff, but there's no reason to alter RB1 expectations for 2023.

Commanders RB Brian Robinson (knee) has been ruled out for Week 18 vs. the Cowboys. RBs Jonathan Williams and Jaret Patterson figure to carry the workload on Sunday. The Cowboys' defense rank as the 4th-toughest matchup for opposing RBs in adjusted fantasy points allowed this season. It would've been tough to trust Robinson or Antonio Gibson, who underwent foot surgery on Thursday, in this game for fantasy purposes. We feel even more skittish about the backups. Neither Williams nor Patterson is anything more than speculative RB3/flex consideration.

Commanders RB Brian Robinson (knee) didn't practice on Thursday. It's not looking good for the rookie at this point, but Friday will give him a chance to participate in a limited fashion perhaps. RB Antonio Gibson was placed on IR already, and the team elevated RB Jaret Patterson from the practice squad in a corresponding move. This messy situation doesn't bode well for any fantasy manager trying to decipher this situation for Week 18 vs. the Cowboys. Check in tomorrow once we have a more concrete idea of what to expect from the Commanders' backfield.

According to Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Commanders HC Ron Rivera said this week that he'll play WRs Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel for "at least a portion of the game" Sunday. The notion here is that the coach will give rookie QB Sam Howell some time to work with the team's top options in his NFL debut. Of course, the fantasy read is that Rivera likely doesn't plan to play McLaurin or Samuel the entire game. That could change if Howell delivers and the team stays tight with the Cowboys. But the uncertainty -- including that brought by a 5th-round rookie QB in his 1st pro action -- should make you wary of starting McLaurin in Week 18 fantasy football lineups. We'll keep updating our Week 18 fantasy football rankings for anything else we learn on this and other situations.

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler ran for 122 yards and 2 TDs in Sunday's win over the Rams. Ekeler carried just 10 times for the game, adding 4 catches for 39 yards. The team also mixed in RB Joshua Kelley for 9 carries and RB Larry Rountree for 10. Rountree's use came in the 2nd half, perhaps motivated by a knee issue that limited Ekeler to start the practice week. The Chargers finish the regular season at Denver. Ekeler went for limited yardage -- 83 total on 14 carries and 16 targets -- in the 1st meeting. That came back in Week 6, though, against a much different Broncos defense.

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