It’s a fresh start in the Nation’s capital as Dan Snyder is finally gone. The Commanders have a new owner, are starting a new quarterback, and have brought in a top offensive coordinator. There are even early talks of a brand-new name for the football team in Washington. Fresh starts and new beginnings can only mean one thing; value can be found in dynasty fantasy football. What pieces do we want to grab in Washington? Let’s find out in the Washington Commanders Fantasy Forecast.
2022 Season Recap
The 2022 Washington Commanders were the next team to scratch the Carson Wentz lottery ticket. Unfortunately, the ticket revealed a loser for them and Wentz, who only started seven games. They got another nine starts from Taylor Heinicke, and rookie Sam Howell started the season’s final game. This hodge podge at the quarterback position resulted in an 8-8-1 record and last place in the NFC East division.
According to PFF, the Commanders’ passing attack ranked 30th in the league, and their rushing attack could have been better off at 24th. This resulted in the firing of offensive coordinator Scott Turner this past offseason. This was a blessing in disguise as they could hire one of the better offensive coordinators in the game, former Chief Eric Bieniemy. He will be able to work all year with Sam Howell and get Mahomes-like production out of the second-year signal caller from UNC.
Quarterbacks: Sam Howell, Jacoby Brissett, Jake Fromm
The 2023 season for the Washington Commanders will live and die at the hands of Sam Howell. The team is committed to him as a Week One starter but has brought in veteran Jacoby Brissett in case Howell was to falter. Brissett proved himself more than capable last season for the Cleveland Browns. He kept the team in the middle of the playoff hunt until Deshaun Watson returned from his suspension.
To understand Sam Howell as a player, we must return before the 2021 college football season starts. Sam Howell had just finished a fantastic season at the University of North Carolina. He was even in the conversation for the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, along with Oklahoma quarterback Sam Howell. However, he lost many key weapons and became the offense’s sole focus. This resulted in Howell showing off his wheels and rushing for over 800 yards.
Giving Sam Howell the potent weapons that Washington has could be the key to unlocking the ceiling we saw during his time at Chapel Hill. Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel are the best wide receiver trio Howell has ever worked with. That combination with the wisdom of Eric Bieniemy makes Sam Howell a fantastic dynasty buy, especially in Superflex leagues. Take a look at some of the trades in our DynastyGM trade browser.
Running Backs: Brian Robinson, Antonio Gibson, Chris Rodriguez Jr.
The running back room in Washington might be the most challenging part of the roster to decipher. Rookie Brian Robinson led the team in carries last season. This was a remarkable feat as the Alabama alumni was shot twice before the start of the season. He fully recovered and rushed for almost 800 yards in 12 games. However, he only had 12 targets in those games, which leaves the other half of this backfield.
Antonio Gibson is the “pass-catching” back in Washington, but at one point, was seen as a bell-cow in the dynasty community. He rushed for almost 800 yards and eleven touchdowns in his rookie year. He followed that up with a sophomore campaign that featured over a thousand rushing yards and almost 300 receiving yards. You would think Gibson would be set up for a featured role in the Washington offense. However, he seemed to fall out of favor with the coaching staff.
The final piece to figure out is the selection of rookie Chris Rodriguez Jr in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL draft. Rodriguez profiles best as a short-yardage grinder and is the type of back that will have a niche role in the offense. If I didn’t have any part of this backfield, I wouldn’t be going out to try to acquire. It is still too early to determine who will serve the role we want for our fantasy teams. If anything, the team will trend more pass-heavy than in past seasons.
Wide Receivers: Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel, Dyami Brown
A pass-heavy offense is what you want to hear when assessing the dynasty value of a wide receiver room. The Washington Commanders quietly have one of the better wide receiver groups in the league. If Sam Howell takes the step forward, there will be plenty of fantasy scoring.
Terry McLaurin has had three straight seasons with over a thousand yards and at least 120 targets. During that time, he has caught passes from a collection of quarterbacks, including Carson Wentz, Taylor Heinicke, Dwayne Haskins, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Kyle Allen. He is quickly becoming the next DJ Moore, a very talented receiver who is dying for some quarterback talent to unlock him. Sam Howell will be that quarterback, and McLaurin is an extraordinary dynasty buy. Some of these trades on the DynastyGM trade browser can give you a glimpse of the price to acquire him.
Jahan Dotson is entering his second year and is looking to lock up the second wide receiver spot in this offense. He was the 16th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft and began his career with 35 receptions in only 12 games last year. He missed five games last season due to a hamstring injury. The Kansas City Chiefs had 100 more pass attempts than the Washington Commanders last year despite leading in more games. If Eric Bieniemy brings some of that offense over to Washington, plenty more targets will be had.
Tight Ends: Logan Thomas, John Bates, Cole Turner
Logan Thomas enters the season at 32 but is still the starting tight-end for the Washington Commanders. John Bates and Cole Turner are late-round picks who have yet to break out in the league. It is hard to recommend buying a 32-year-old tight-end in dynasty not named Travis Kelce, but Thomas dominated the target share and could be set up to do the same again. Look at how cheap he is going for in our DynastyGM trade browser.
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I hope you enjoyed this fantasy forecast. Be sure to check back often, as I will cover all fantasy-relevant positions. For more content like this, follow me on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!