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This was one of the best stories of 2020, with the Football Team making a surprise playoff run and Alex Smith making his comeback from his injury. Washington has an excellent young core of skill players, and now they get an injection of Fitzmagic. They could take a big leap.

2020 Review

Record: 7 - 9 (17)
PPG: 20.9 (25)
YPG: 317.3 (30)
Pass YPG: 216.6 (25)
Rush YPG: 100.7 (26)
PAPG: 37.6 (9)
RAPG: 25.0 (25)

2020 Fantasy finishes

QB: Alex Smith* QB37, Dwayne Haskins* QB38
RB: Antonio Gibson RB14, J.D. McKissic RB17
WR: Terry McLaurin WR20
TE: Logan Thomas TE4
*No longer with team

Number to know: 55.6%

That's how often Washington's pass attempts traveled fewer than 5 yards down the field in 2020, the highest mark in football. If you watched this offense, you know Alex Smith took his conservative style to an even bigger extreme than ever in his comeback from injury, with a whopping 62.3% of his passes traveling less than 5 yards down the field. This offense figures to be more conservative with anyone but Smith under center, and Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 5 or more yards down the field on 59.9% of his attempts in 2020. J.D. McKissic's value was tied directly to Smith's lack of aggressiveness, but it'll be interesting to see what the change to Fitzpatrick means for Gibson's upside. This team should still throw to the running back plenty -- remember, Ron Rivera coached Christian McCaffrey in Carolina -- but you can't necessarily just look at the usage from last year and expect the same to happen this season. 

2021 Offseason

Draft Picks 

1. (19) Jamin Davis, LB
2. (51) Samuel Cosmi, OT
3. (74) Benjamin St-Juste, CB
3. (82) Dyami Brown, WR
4. (124) John Bates, TE
5. (163) Darrick Forrest, S
6. (225) Camaron Cheeseman, LS
7. (240) William Bradley-King, OLB
7. (246) Shaka Toney, DE
7. (258) Dax Milne, WR


CB William Jackson, WR Curtis Samuel, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, LT Charles Leno, WR Adam Humphries, G Ereck Flowers

Key Departures

CB Ronald Darby, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, RT Morgan Moses, DE Ryan Kerrigan, QB Alex Smith

Available Opportunity 

0 carries, 0 RB targets, 82 WR targets, 3 TE targets

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2021 Preview

player headshot
Jamey Eisenberg
player headshot
Dave Richard
player headshot
Heath Cummings
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Chris Towers
Ryan Fitzpatrick19221818
Antonio Gibson14141613
J.D. McKissic46584742
Terry McLaurin9101012
Curtis Samuel35393627
Logan Thomas1013109

Chris Towers' projections

QBRyan FitzpatrickPA: 615, YD: 4492, TD: 28, INT: 14; RUSH -- ATT: 34, YD: 154, TD: 2
RBAntonio GibsonCAR: 256, YD: 1151, TD: 8; TAR: 58, REC: 44, YD: 391, TD: 2
RBJ.D. McKissicCAR: 88, YD: 378, TD: 3; TAR: 55, REC: 42, YD: 332, TD: 2
WRTerry McLaurinTAR: 136, REC: 86, YD: 1200, TD: 8
WRCurtis SamuelTAR: 110, REC: 72, YD: 823, TD: 6; CAR: 32, YD: 158, TD: 2
WRAdam HumphriesTAR: 41, REC: 26, YD: 277, TD: 2
TELogan ThomasTAR: 104, REC: 71, YD: 711, TD: 6

Biggest Question

Will Antonio Gibson be a three-down back?  

It's funny, the converted wide receiver wasn't actually used all that much in the receiving game -- his 45 targets paled in comparison to J.D. McKissic's 110. However, Gibson proved himself as a strong runner, especially near the goal-line, so now the question is whether Washington will be willing to use him as a weapon in both facets of the game more consistently. If they do, he could be an elite Fantasy RB.

One sleeper, one breakout and one bust

WAS Washington • #14
Age: 41 • Experience: 18 yrs.

One of the key ways you can try to find value at quarterback is to simply look at which quarterbacks have a lot of their weapons ranked highly but aren't ranked highly themselves. In Washington's case, Gibson is a top-20 pick, McLaurin is a top-35 pick, and both Thomas and Samuel are going off the board inside of the top 100. Plus J.D. McKissic's ADP is 134.8. Where does Fitzpatrick come in? 163.0 in NFC ADP, as the No. 25 quarterback off the board. That's not a bad value, but if we're expecting four starting-caliber Fantasy options to come from this offense, it seems safe to bet Fitzpatrick is going to be better than the No. 25 QB. Conversely, if Fitzpatrick does struggle, this could be a disappointing offense all around. Good thing there's nothing in Fitzpatrick's track record to suggest he'll struggle as soon as everyone starts believing in him. 

WAS Washington • #24
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
2020 Stats

Gibson had a very promising rookie season, as he proved to be a strong runner in short-yardage situations and a solid playmaker in both the running and passing games. It would have been an even better rookie season if not for the toe injury that forced him to miss effectively three games and limited him in his final few games. In the game before that injury, he had a season-high 20 carries and seven targets and looked like he might be about to break into a league-winner down the stretch. If he can grow his role in the passing game while sustaining his role as the lead rusher, Gibson has top-five upside at the position. He has that kind of skill set. 

WAS Washington • #82
Age: 32 • Experience: 9 yrs.
2020 Stats

Thomas turned out to be a very good starting tight end last season after earning a lot of buzz in training camp for the Football Team, and if we expect this offense to be better, shouldn't Thomas be primed for another step forward? I'm not so sure of that. Thomas closed the season very strong, with 342 yards and two touchdowns on 50 targets over his final five games, but still ended up with just 670 yards total. That means that for most of the season, he was just a touchdown-or-bust option who only scored four touchdowns. Now, the Football Team has much better weapons in the passing game, meaning Thomas likely won't be the No. 2 option like he was a year ago. He's in the low-end No. 1 tight end discussion, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he takes a step back from 2020. 

So which sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen's huge season, and find out.