The Commanders learned last season what the Colts and Eagles learned before them: Carson Wentz ain't it. Rather than try another retread, they're giving 2022 fifth-rounder Sam Howell a spin, with the hopes he can either develop into a starter or leave them positioned to take a QB early in next year's draft. 

2022 Review

Record: 8-8-1 (16)
PPG: 18.9 (24)
YPG: 330.3 (30)
Pass YPG: 204.2 (21)
Rush YPG: 126.1 (12)
PAPG: 32.6 (20)
RAPG: 31.6 (4)

2022 Fantasy finishes

QB: Taylor Heinicke* QB30, Carson Wentz* QB32
RB: Antonio Gibson RB28, Brian Robinson RB43
WR: Terry McLaurin WR16, Curtis Samuel WR30, Jahan Dotson WR52
TE: Logan Thomas TE32
*No longer with team

Number to know: 23rd

That's the highest the Commanders offense has ranked in scoring in any of Ron Rivera's prior three seasons as coach. Of course, that was with Scott Turner serving as his offensive coordinator, and the Commanders brought in Eric Bieniemy from the Chiefs to take over. What that actually means for the offense is a pretty tough question to answer because so much of the Chiefs' offensive game plan is dictated by factors no team can replicate -- the individual brilliance of Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, but also Andy Reid's game planning, which makes this kind of an unknown.

We've gotten some hints at how things might change early in training camp, with particular focus paid on Antonio Gibson's usage in the passing game. The Commanders are going to feature McLaurin, Dotson, and Samuel heavily in the passing game, obviously, but Gibson has an opportunity to take on a huge role of his own with J.D. McKissic out of the picture. The Chiefs were 14th in targets to their running backs a year ago, actually slightly lower than Washington's No. 9 ranking, but still good enough that we should expect a pretty solid role for Gibson. If he can push for 75-plus targets, he could be a must-start Fantasy RB even with a very good WR group surrounding him. 

2023 Offseason

Draft Picks 

1. (16) Emmanuel Forbes, CB
2. (47) Jartavius Martin, DB
3. (97) Ricky Stromberg, OL
4. (118) Braeden Daniels, OL
5. (137) K.J. Henry, DE
6. (193) Chris Rodriguez, RB
7. (233) Andre Jones, DE


OL Andrew Wylie, QB Jacoby Brissett, OL Nick Gates, LB Cody Barton

Key Departures

QB Carson Wentz, OL Chase Roullier, QB Taylor Heinicke, LB Cole Holcomb, OL Andrew Nowell, RB J.D. McKissic

Available Opportunity 

25 RB carries, 40 RB targets, 18 WR targets, 0 TE targets 

Rankings and Projections

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Jamey Eisenberg
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Dave Richard
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Heath Cummings
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Chris Towers
Sam Howell27312226
Antonio Gibson33393031
Brian Robinson37393435
Terry McLaurin28262622
Jahan Dotson30352537

Chris Towers' projections

QBSam HowellPA: 560, YD: 3809, TD: 21, INT: 17; RUSH -- ATT: 76, YD: 304, TD: 2
RBBrian Robinson Jr.CAR: 266, YD: 1064, TD: 7; TAR: 22, REC: 18, YD: 126, TD: 1
RBAntonio GibsonCAR: 139, YD: 557, TD: 4; TAR: 56, REC: 45, YD: 323, TD: 2
WRTerry McLaurinTAR: 129, REC: 80, YD: 1118, TD: 6
WRJahan DotsonTAR: 118, REC: 68, YD: 853, TD: 6
WRCurtis SamuelTAR: 84, REC: 58, YD: 575, TD: 3
TELogan ThomasTAR: 67, REC: 40, YD: 403, TD: 3

Biggest Question

Can Sam Howell be good enough?

There's plenty of talent here: The running back room isn't elite, but the backs complement each other well, and there's significant playmaking chops in the wide receiver group especially. Poor QB play has held them back over the past few years, but it's a pretty solid landing spot for a QB if Howell can just be decent -- especially with Howell's underrated rushing ability. He's not a burner, but he was a productive runner in college and could be a decent streaming QB if things fall the right way.

One sleeper, one breakout and one bust

WAS Washington • #24
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
2022 Stats

I don't know if Gibson counts as a sleeper at this point, but I'm throwing him in here because I think there's a decent chance he's being overlooked. I expect Brian Robinson to open the season as the lead runner, but even if that's the case, Gibson should still be plenty involved and is probably the preferred option to target, especially in PPR leagues. Gibson has big-play speed, and has been solid as a pass-catcher, despite not developing into the kind of high-volume target we hoped he would be when his career started. With McKissic gone, however, he could be in line for 75-80 targets and maybe 150 carries, which would put him in the RB2 range, with upside beyond that if Robinson misses time or disappoints. He's a great zero-RB target with an ADP around 90 right now. 

WAS Washington • #1
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
2022 Stats

Dotson struggled with inconsistency and injuries early in his rookie season, but he closed out with a flourish, putting up a 71-catch, 1,170-yard, 10-touchdown pace over the final five games. That's what you want to see from a first-round pick, especially one who couldn't get on the field for much of the first half; it would be easy to get derailed by injuries, but Dotson would not be denied, despite the presence of a couple of other talented pass-catchers on the roster. I still think McLaurin is the best option here -- he dwarfed Dotson in per-target and per-route efficiency overall, though Dotson closed the gap during that final five-game stretch. But Dotson flashed enough as a rookie to think there might be 1,000-yard upside here if Howell is decent. 

WAS Washington • #8
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
2022 Stats

Robinson was largely a non-factor in the passing game as a rookie, with just 12 targets in 12 games, but he did catch 35 passes for 296 yards in his final season in college, so I don't want to write him off in that phase of the game entirely. But if he's not going to be featured in the passing game, it's going to be hard for Robinson to be much of a Fantasy contributor unless he's going to be an 18-plus carry per game guy -- he averaged 19.7 carries over his final seven games last season and averaged just 11.4 PPR points per game in that stretch. Robinson overcame a lot just to get back on the field as a rookie, and I certainly don't want to call him a finished product as a result. However, he was already an older prospect and he looked kind of like a plodder, ranking around average in rush yards over expected per carry, so I just don't think there's much to get excited about, even at a reasonable RB34 price.