When The Dust Settles: Washington

When The Dust Settles: Washington

by | Apr 22, 2021

When The Dust Settles

At this point,  the high-end free agents have inked their new deals. Some opted to settle back into their 2020 home on short deals. Those who have stayed put are awaiting the next two years of free agency when the salary cap is set to balloon by about $20 million and another $50 million in 2022 and 2023 respectively. Like in any market some were willing to spend up, while others decided to shop the bargain bin leading up to the draft. All of this movement does offer opportunity in the form of vacated targets and a possible uptick in overall offensive production that will provide some hype heading into the fantasy season. This series will take a look at some of the more intriguing, yet very different, situations across the NFL landscape when the dust settles.




The table below will provide some immediate context for the analysis below. 

The Vacated

When The Dust Settles: Patriots


The Washington Football Team was an interesting story this last year. The team with no name and no real startable quarterback on the roster. It was a quarterback carousel in Washington with Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, Alex Smith, and Taylor Heinicke. Despite all that, this offense supported two top twenty running backs, a top twenty wide receiver, and a top three tight end. And as long as Ron Rivera is the coach, fantasy managers should be encouraged to invest in a piece of the Washington Football Team in 2021.


In walks the journeyman, Ryan Fitzpatrick. And those around the fantasy football community could not be more excited. Fitzpatrick has been fun to watch his entire career as he’s bounced around the league. And the offenses Fitzpatrick has led have enjoyed success from a fantasy perspective more than an actual football perspective. In his 16-year career, Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown to wide receivers like Eric Decker, Andre Johnson, Deandre Hopkins, Devante Parker, and Mike Evans. While Fitzpatrick is not an elite fantasy producer in his own right, he is an upgrade over a game manager like Alex Smith.


Over the last two seasons, the Washington Football Team’s offense is starting to resemble the 2019 Carolina Panthers. The one that Cam Newton and Kyle Allen attempted over 600 passes in. And in that offense, Curtis Samuel had 105 targets, Greg Olsen had 82, D.J. Moore had 135, and Christian McCaffrey had 142. Fitzpatrick has only had over 450 attempts four times in his journeyman campaign. He averaged QB15 in those four seasons with 3666.5 yards, 25 TDS, with 17 interceptions on 535 passing attempts. And while Fitzpatrick has not been one to utilize the tight end, Logan Thomas is not your prototypical tight end. He plays more in the mold of a big-bodied wide receiver. That said, the thought is he sees a reduction in targets down to 70-80. The loss of those targets will hurt Thomas, who was a high volume tight end in 2020.


What wide receiver did Rivera find to play the “Curtis Samuel” role? It would only make sense to bring on Samuel, who the Washington Football team reportedly tried to lure away last season in Rivera’s first year. Using Curtis Samuel’s 2019 target share % in Rivera’s offense, he’s looking at about 90 targets this year. The addition of Samuel does not hurt Terry Mclaurin. The field should open up a bit more underneath for him to work his magic. Mclaurin should still hover around 20-23%, which still puts him at 125+ targets for next year. And which is enough to keep him in that high-producing WR2 range. Adam Humphries also offers a familiar face as he has played with Ryan Fitzpatrick before. His signing is nothing more than securing a capable veteran slot wide receiver in this offense. Look for Washington to add another rookie to compete for work in the draft.


When The Dust Settles

Fitzpatrick has the opportunity to make this offense a lot of fun when the dust settles in Washington. And there are enough weapons around him to score plenty of fantasy points. The biggest difference between the two offenses I mentioned is Christian McCaffrey. And Washington does have a duo of running backs that can get it done. Look for Antonio Gibson, who played more snaps at wide receiver in college than running back, to get a bump in his receiving production. His 2021 projection is closer to 60-70 targets this year, opposed to the forty he received in his rookie campaign.


Winners: Terry Mclaurin, Curtis Samuel

Losers: J.D. McKissic, Logan Thomas

Jordan DiGiovanni
Follow me on Twitter: @FFdynastyDG

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