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Commanders HC Ron Rivera clarified Tuesday from the NFL Scouting Combine that QB Sam Howell is "not our starter," according to FOX Sports' Ralph Vacchiano. Rivera added that the second-year player does open the offseason as the lead QB but said the team plans to import a veteran QB to compete with Howell. Consider this a reminder that Washington wants the former fifth-round pick to earn the 2023 starting job. Howell makes for an OK late third QB in early best-ball drafting but isn't a player you must get shares of.

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The Commanders will start QB Sam Howell in Week 18. While he’s faced a tough stretch of defenses – Cowboys, Dolphins, Rams, Jets, 49ers – Howell’s play has fallen off over the second half of the season. Week 18 turns up a rematch with a Dallas team that defeated Washington 45-10 on Thanksgiving. Howell posted 300 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT in that one. The 23-year-old will remain a superflex-only option.

Commanders QB Sam Howell was benched in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game vs. the Rams. He went 11 of 26 for 102 yards, one TD, and one INT, producing just seven points. QB Jacoby Brissett will finish this one out for Washington. We're guessing that Howell will be back under center next week -- but he gets brutal matchups the next two weeks vs. the Jets and 49ers. You should be looking for an alternative if you've been rolling with Howell as your fantasy starter.

Update: HC Ron Rivera said after the loss to the Rams that Howell remains the starting QB.

Commanders QB Sam Howell threw for just 127 yards on 12-of-23 passing with 1 INT and 0 TD passes in Sunday's blowout loss to Miami. He took a modest 3 sacks from a Miami defense playing its first game since losing Edge Jaelan Phillips to an Achilles' tear. But the Dolphins still managed 9 QB hits on a day that found Howell consistently pressured. The QB saved his fantasy line by running for the team's only two TDs -- including one from 13 yards out. He also connected with TE Logan Thomas for a 2-point conversion after the second. The positive view: Howell's rushing ability is worth factoring into his fantasy outlook. He entered the day ranked 10th among QBs in rushing yards on just the 16th-most carries. And Howell now has 5 rushing scores for the year. But we can't expect him to score on the ground most weeks. The passing yardage against Miami marked a season low. And the 23 attempts matched his low. So we probably shouldn't worry too much about this outing. After a Week 14 bye, though, Howell gets a rough closing schedule. The Rams in Week 15 look fairly neutral for QB scoring. The Jets and 49ers present two of the position's worst scoring matchups. Altogether, it's the second-worst QB schedule over the final three fantasy weeks (for most leagues). Look for not only a Week 14 fill-in for Howell, but consider potential platoon partners for the fantasy playoffs.

Commanders QB Sam Howell threw for just 255 yards and 1 TD despite attempting 45 passes in Sunday's loss to the Giants. He also took 4 sacks and tossed 3 INTs. It was a surprisingly tough day for Howell, considering how much the Giants have struggled lately. But it was his second rough outing against the Giants this season. Washington's QB did save his fantasy day with 35 yards and a TD rushing. Howell gets a (supposedly) tougher matchup at Dallas in Week 12 that just might push him outside the top 12 in our QB rankings. Then comes a home date with Miam and a Week 14 bye. Howell should be startable in Week 13 but doesn't look especially helpful overall for the next three weeks. And he'll return from the bye to find a just-OK Rams matchup, then poor matchups with the Jets and 49ers. This might be a time to consider trading Howell if you're otherwise OK at QB.

Commanders QB Sam Howell threw for 325 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT in Sunday's win over the Patriots. He also took a more-reasonable-than-usual 3 sacks in the game. It marks the second straight week of at least 325 yards for Howell, who gets a plus matchup with the Seahawks in Week 10 as well. A home date with the Giants in Week 11 looks trickier. They've been the fifth-toughest scoring matchup for QBs on the season, according to our adjusted fantasy points allowed. And the Giants just held Washington to 7 points while sacking Howell six times in their Week 7 meeting. Another positive outing for Howell in Week 10, however, could make him tough to leave out of the top 12 for that week. After that sit a negative matchup with Dallas and a positive spot vs. Miami before a Week 14 bye.

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