After going 4-13 last season, the Commanders placed themselves in position to not only completely overhaul their coaching staff but also draft a new franchise quarterback, hiring Dan Quinn as head coach and selecting Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jayden Daniels to lead their turnaround efforts. OC Kliff Kingsbury will be charged with helping the NFL transition of Daniels, who could quickly acclimate and demonstrate his potential.  

Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Commanders' entire team outlook including changes to the top of the depth chart that matter for Fantasy, a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for all of the notable Commanders players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.

Commanders 2024 lineup changes

1/1/2024Week 1 2024 (proj)
QBSam HowellJayden Daniels
RBBrian RobinsonBrian Robinson
WRTerry McLaurinTerry McLaurin
WRJahan DotsonJahan Dotson
WRCurtis SamuelLuke McCaffrey
TELogan ThomasZach Ertz

Burning question: Can Jayden Daniels stay healthy for a 17-game season?

Since his freshman year at Arizona State, Daniels has frequently faced criticism for his slight frame. Standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing 210 pounds, he remains a talented runner with the speed to break away on any given play. His game speed is exceptional, but concerns linger about his spatial awareness and ability to protect himself as a ball carrier, given some significant hits he's taken. In his final season at LSU, Daniels rushed for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 135 carries. However, for a successful NFL career and to sustain himself through a full season, he may need to rely more on playmakers when under pressure. Having an experienced checkdown option like Austin Ekeler will help Daniels limit his rushing attempts, as will tight ends Zach Ertz and Ben Sinnott. If offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury can refrain from calling designed runs, which he's proven capable of, Daniels should have a rookie season that's both healthy and productive.

2024 NFL Draft class

12Jayden DanielsQBLSU
236Jer'Zhan NewtonDLIllinois
250Mike SainristilDBMichigan
253Ben SinnottTEKansas St.
367Brandon ColemanOLTCU
3100Luke McCaffreyWRRice
5139Jordan MageeLBTemple
5161Dominique HamptonCBWashington
7222Javontae Jean-BaptisteDLNotre Dame

Commanders 2024 schedule

1Sep 8, 2024@Tampa Bay4:25 pmFOXRaymond James Stadium
2Sep 15, 2024vsN.Y. Giants1:00 pmFOXFedEx Field
3Sep 23, 2024@Cincinnati8:15 pmABCPaycor Stadium
4Sep 29, 2024@Arizona4:05 pmFOXState Farm Stadium
5Oct 6, 2024vsCleveland1:00 pmFOXFedEx Field
6Oct 13, 2024@Baltimore1:00 pmCBSM&T Bank Stadium
7Oct 20, 2024vsCarolina4:05 pmCBSFedEx Field
8Oct 27, 2024vsChicago1:00 pmCBSFedEx Field
9Nov 3, 2024@N.Y. Giants1:00 pmFOXMetLife Stadium
10Nov 10, 2024vsPittsburgh1:00 pmCBSFedEx Field
11Nov 14, 2024@Philadelphia8:15 pmAMZNLincoln Financial Field
12Nov 24, 2024vsDallas1:00 pmFOXFedEx Field
13Dec 1, 2024vsTennessee1:00 pmFOXFedEx Field
15Dec 15, 2024@New Orleans1:00 pmFOXCaesars Superdome
16Dec 22, 2024vsPhiladelphia1:00 pmFOXFedEx Field
17Dec 29, 2024vsAtlantaTBAFedEx Field
18Jan 5, 2025@DallasTBAAT&T Stadium

Commanders 2024 player outlooks

By Heath Cummings and CBS Fantasy staff

QB Jayden Daniels

Daniels enters the NFL with as much Fantasy Football upside as a quarterback possibly could. He showed that upside in his final season at LSU when he threw 40 touchdown passes and ran for another 11. But this isn't just about him being older than his competition, as Daniels averaged 8.7 yards per pass attempt over 338 attempts as a 19-year-old freshman at Arizona State as well. Now he arrives in Washington with Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson to help him excel in the NFL. In redraft, we are looking for Daniels in the double-digit rounds as a high-end QB2 but it won't take too many positive camp reports before Daniels moves into the top 12 QBs. In Dynasty, Daniels is in consideration for the 1.01 in Superflex leagues, but we prefer him at 1.03 behind Caleb Williams and Marvin Harrison Jr. Just know that if he hits his true ceiling, we'll probably feel silly for putting anyone in front of him.  

QB Marcus Mariota

Mariota joined the Commanders this offseason, where we expect he'll begin the year as the backup to Jayden Daniels. It's not a certainty that Daniels starts Week 1, but that is our expectation. If Mariota gets a chance to start this season we would view him as a low-end QB2 at best. In his last stretch as a starter in 2022 he averaged just 17.1 Fantasy points per game. Until he gets that chance, he can be left on the waiver wire in all but the deepest of Superflex leagues.

RB Austin Ekeler

For the first time in his career, Ekeler will play on a new team in a new offense with a dual-threat quarterback. And after the 29-year-old saw all of his statistical metrics drop last season, it's natural to be cautious. Last season Ekeler never really looked like himself, especially after suffering a high-ankle sprain in September. The Commanders obviously see some good in him, but they also have Brian Robinson as a running-downs back as well as rookie dual-threat QB in 2023 Heisman winner Jayden Daniels. Both figure to keep a cap on Ekeler's workload from week to week, including his target volume (he was at 5.3 per game last year, a five-year low). Draft Ekeler accordingly -- Round 7 in PPR is a reasonable time to grab him, though we'd wait at least one round in non-PPR formats.

RB Brian Robinson Jr.

With Gibson now in New England and Austin Ekeler arriving from Los Angeles, we're expecting a fairly similar role for Robinson in 2024. That role, when Gibson was healthy, was about 11.5 carries and two targets per game. The upside for Robinson comes if the aging former superstar misses time. In the one game Gibson missed last year Robinson saw 17 carries and nine targets and scored 20.2 PPR Fantasy points. While we do expect Ekeler to handle most of the work in the passing game, we also expect Robinson to be the team's primary short-yardage back. We're comfortable drafting Robinson starting in Round 9 in full PPR leagues as a No. 3 running back or flex. In non-PPR, he's worth at least a round earlier and could be a low-end RB2.  

WR Terry McLaurin

We're viewing McLaurin as a No. 3 wide receiver in Fantasy Football the season and we're comfortable drafting him at the end of Round 5 in a PPR league. It feels like we've never seen the best of McLaurin due to mediocre quarterback play and there is legitimate reason to hope that Jayden Daniels changes that. On the other hand, Daniels is a rookie quarterback with exceptional running ability, so we should probably anticipate a pretty severe decrease in passing volume for Washington this season. McLaurin could make up for that loss in volume by improving on his minuscule 3.5% touchdown rate over the past four seasons, but it's hard to see how McLaurin can take a big leap this year. In Dynasty there is slightly more hope that a Daniels/McLaurin marriage could produce long-term elite production, but McLaurin turns 29 in September so it's probably time to stop talking about what he could be.

WR Jahan Dotson

Dotson was one of our biggest disappointments of 2023. In his second season in the NFL, he played five more games, drew 22 more targets, and produced five fewer yards and three fewer touchdowns. Dotson saw his aDOT drop by four full yards in 2023 and somehow he also produced fewer yards after the catch. We aren't totally ready to give up on Dotson, but we aren't willing to draft him before Round 10 either. The hope is that Dotson can establish a connection with Jayden Daniels and that Daniels is the best passer Dotson has played with. If the pair gets off to a slow start expect Dotson's name to show up on the most-dropped list by Week 4. We'd hold onto him a little longer in Dynasty leagues, but even in that format, he needs to show some signs of life in 2024.

WR Luke McCaffrey

We're not ready to invest more than a late-round pick on McCaffrey in redraft this season, but that doesn't mean there's no reason to be excited about the rookie in the future. He's an older prospect at 23 years old, but he has above-average speed and athleticism, third-round draft capital, and NFL genes working in his favor. He was also a QB for his first three years of college, which helps with understanding coverages and gives more reason to believe he has room to grow as a pass catcher. Expect him to fill the big slot role as soon as he's ready to contribute and hope he can find the same red zone success he did his final year in college when he scored 13 touchdowns. McCaffrey is worthy of a pick in Round 3 or 4 of rookie-only drafts.

TE Zach Ertz

Ertz is nearing the end of an incredible career that at its peak featured WR1 type numbers (116 receptions for 1,163 yards and eight TDs in 2018). He played just seven games in 2023 before hitting injured reserve and eventually being released by the Cardinals, and he set career lows in targets, receptions and yardage as Trey McBride blossomed in the Cardinals offense. Ertz latched on with the Commanders in the offseason, and he'll battle for lead tight end duties while mentoring second-round pick Ben Sinnott. Ertz is not worth rostering in any format unless he can prove to be a key part of the Washington offense and that he can stay healthy.  

TE Ben Sinnott

There was no consensus on who the second best tight end in the 2024 draft class was, but the answer for many people was Sinnott. Athleticism is king when it comes to tight ends, and Sinnott posted a 9.49 RAS, which is in the 99th percentile amongst tight prospects over the last 35 years. His counting stats aren't overwhelming, but his 676 receiving yards and six touchdowns led all pass catchers at Kansas State in 2023. We aren't drafting him redraft because we expect Zach Ertz to begin the season as the starter, but Ertz is at the tail end of his career. We're drafting Sinnott as the second tight end in rookie drafts, as early as Round 3.

Commanders DST

We aren't drafting the Commanders DST, but we wouldn't be surprised if new head coach Dan Quinn changes that during his time in Washington. Quinn's Cowboys ranked in the top seven in points allowed all three seasons he was in Dallas. One thing to note is that Quinn's defenses have performed much better the five years he's spent solely as a defensive coordinator. His six seasons as the head coach of the Falcons only produced one top-10 defense. If the unit looks good in Week 1 against Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers we may consider streaming them in Week 2 at home against the New York Giants.