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@dropthemikeFF is here with one of his flag plant players for the NFL season. Here he is with running back Antonio Gibson.

With the NFL preseason in full effect, it is time for us dynasty players to focus on the 2023 season. This is the time of the year you need to look at your rosters and decide if you’re ready for a title run or have a little more work. It’s not always the top-flight guys at a position that will get you to a title, and one of my flag plant guys for 2023 fits that role. My flag plant at running back is Antonio Gibson.

The Past

In 2022 Gibson had a disappointing performance compared to 2021 in PPR. In 2021 Gibson finished at RB12. Unfortunately, in 2022, he finished at RB26. Interestingly his snaps and touches both decreased by 83 from 2021 to 2022. The Washington offense has not had much consistency over the past two years. In 2022, Washington drafted fellow running back Brian Robinson Jr. to share the backfield alongside Gibson and JD Mckissic. At Quarterback, Washington has had three different starters in the last two seasons, with Taylor Heinicke being the only crossover. After the team was not performing up to expectations in the past couple of seasons, Washington fired the offensive coordinator Scott Turner.

The Present

One of the most significant changes in Washington was hiring offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs. Instead of making massive changes to the offensive personnel, they have chosen to improve their coaching staff. Bienemy will look to show his skills as an OC and open up his playbook now that he is no longer under Andy Reid. Yes, the Chiefs only threw to running backs 18.5% compared to Washington’s 23%. However, that was only a total of nine more overall running back targets.

With Mckissic no longer in Washington, I expect Gibson to be more involved while he is on the field. If he can, at minimum, get back the 83 snaps he lost last season, he will improve upon his 2022 performance. His opportunity share was also low at 32.9% in 2022. With the new offense and McKissic no longer in Washington, his opportunity share should be around 50%.

One of the keys to Gibson having a season better than 2022 is Bienemy opening up the offense, unlike coaches in the past. To do so, they must have consistent play at the quarterback position. This season, they will lean on second-year player Sam Howell at quarterback, who was recently named the starter. Yes, Howell has only started one game in the NFL, but that won’t stop Bienemy from using him in any way he needs to succeed in the NFL. Yes, Howell will look to lean on his starting wide receivers in the passing game. But, he will also lean on Gibson, who was also a wide receiver in college. In 2022 Gibson had 46 receptions on 58 targets with the personnel of the Washington Commanders. And there is a path for him to be the third overall target on this offense.

Last season Washington was a disappointing 24th overall in points scored at 18.9 points per game. One of the benefactors of a new system and a higher-scoring offense will be Gibson. He will look to improve on his five-touchdown season in 2022. Suppose Bienemy runs a system similar to his mentor Andy Reid. He will utilize players based on talent no matter their position, and Gibson fits the mold of Mckinnon, who Bienemy had at running back while he was in Kansas City.

Gibson should get more opportunities in the red zone due to his athleticism. He had three receptions on six red zone targets and two touchdowns in the passing game. He will look to improve on those opportunities, which should be closer to double digits in 2023.

The Future

Your dynasty startup draft is the best place to plant your flag on a player. Gibson’s current  SF ADP is RB36 and 121 overall. In a 12-team SF league, that would have him being drafted at the beginning of the 11th round, and I believe that is too low. Drafting him there is definitely a value, but I think he should be taken as a top-30 running back. I am planting my flag and saying that Gibson will finish as a top 24 running back with the upside to be a top 20 running back in 2023.

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