The 2020 NFL draft was full of RB talent that owners are still salivating at two years later. Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift, J.K. Dobbins, Cam Akers, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, A.J. Dillon, and Antonio Gibson were all highly sought after in rookie drafts two years ago.
However, only two of these seven RBs have finished in the top 12 in 0.5 PPR scoring in their first two years in the league: Taylor and Gibson. Still, Gibson shows up as RB17 in our Dynasty Nerds PPR rankings. He is being drafted as RB11 and 27th overall in dynasty startups, according to Mizelle.
How should we be looking at Gibson? Is he an undervalued RB1 that charts out as someone who will give you consistent production for the next few years? Or is Gibson about to see a severe drop in value that makes him a prime candidate to trade while you still can? It’s time for another installment of should I trade or should I hold.
First Two Seasons
Gibson was drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft by the Washington [REDACTED], now known as the Washington Commanders. Getting day two draft capital, Gibson immediately moved up rookie draft boards. He shot up even further when rumors started to swirl that Head Coach Ron Rivera wanted to utilize Gibson like he had used Christian McCaffrey when he coached the Panthers in Carolina.
CMC numbers weren’t shown right off the bat for Gibson, but that’s an insane threshold. Gibson showed a lot of promise during his rookie season, even if it wasn’t historic. In his first six games, Gibson averaged 65 yards from scrimmage a game and 0.5 TDs. And things continued to progress as the year went on; Gibson averaged 81.5 yards and a TD per game in the final eight games of his rookie season.
After a fairly successful rookie campaign in which Gibson ended as the RB12 in fantasy in 0.5-PPR, he returned in year two and increased his totals. He totaled 1,331 yards from scrimmage and ten TDs in 2021 and finished as RB10 in 0.5 PPR scoring.
While his totals did increase, Gibson did see his yards per touch go down from 5.1 in 2020 to 4.4 in 2021. Additionally, he lost his chance for a bigger fantasy impact with the dual-back system run in Washington. In Gibson’s first two years, J.D. McKissic totaled 954 and 609 yards from scrimmage and seven total TDs in those two seasons.
Many Gibson owners were excited at the prospect of the third-year back coming into 2022 with the backfield to himself. When J.D. McKissic almost signed in Buffalo, Gibson owners rejoiced.
But since then, McKissic has returned to Washington, and the Commanders used a third-round pick this year to select Brian Robinson from Alabama. What’s more, head coach Ron Rivera signaled Gibson might be part of a full RB committee.
With Rivera talking a “1-2 punch” a la his Carolina tandem of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, Gibson owners are starting to worry quite a bit about the back’s value. He has had back-to-back RB1 years in Washington. But opportunity is beginning to diminish.
Gibson is still in line as the RB1 in Washington. The top role is his to lose. But all fantasy owners know the risk when carries start getting cut week-to-week.
Gibson is currently being drafted as RB11 and 27th overall, according to Mizelle. But we can look even further with Dynasty Nerds Trade Browser to see actual deals that have been executed in leagues involving Gibson. And the deals are quite interesting:
Several of the deals we see involve Gibson being moved for one first-round pick. One involves giving up Gibson and a first-round pick for two 27-year-olds in James Conner and Aaron Jones. Even crazier, one trade has Gibson as a piece used to move up in the first round of this year’s draft.
Gibson has been a top-12 back in his first two years in the league. He has been relatively healthy in both those years. Gibson only turns 24 this summer. But somehow, owners are moving on from him at a price of a back that is in his late 20s and showing signs of slowing down.
Gibson has more competition now that Robinson has been added to the RB room. But he has prospered with McKissic the last two years, and his return shouldn’t change anything. A third-round rookie and a coach talking about using that rookie before he wears pads shouldn’t have you throwing all value out the window. Gibson is still a back you should strive to own in your leagues.
There is plenty to be worried about for Gibson entering his third year. However, the current perception of his value is too low to be moving the RB now. I have my concerns that Gibson could see a decrease in carries. But trading a young RB1 for one first-round pick in the current RB landscape is not a recipe for success.
Gibson is a proven commodity. We know his talent. We know he has produced. Giving up on that for another prospect in the draft is dangerous.
For now, Gibson should be a hold on your team if you own him. The return is not close to equaling what he produces. If you don’t have Gibson on your team, it would be worth kicking the tires on the owner that does. Panic selling is happening this time of year, and it could pay off to add an RB of his caliber to your team.
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