The Commanders have a new name, a new quarterback, but — unfortunately — the same owner. That will cast a pall over the entire organization, as Daniel Snyder and the club were fined by the NFL for harboring a toxic workplace environment, while Snyder remains under investigation in Congress for both that and allegedly underreporting the team’s finances.
In such an environment, it remains hard to imagine that the Commanders, even under the steady leadership of the much-respected Ron Rivera, are the team that is going to fix Carson Wentz. But Washington is making that bet after a failed play for Russell Wilson, and Wentz does at least have some very intriguing and young offensive talent around him.
Washington Commanders Franchise Focus Companion Podcast with The Athletic’s Ben Standig
|Season Win Total (O/U)||8 (-110/-110)|
Season Prop Movement
Win Total: 7.5 (+100) in late March to 8 (-110) in late June
Super Bowl: +3300 in mid-February to +8000 in late June
Premium subscribers get Tom Brolley’s 2022 Betting Preview here.
Key Offseason Moves
|QB Carson Wentz||WR Jahan Dotson||OG Brandon Scherff (Jax)|
|OG Andrew Norwell||DT Phidarian Mathis||TE Ricky Seals-Jones (NYG)|
|OG Trai Turner||RB Brian Robinson||TE Jeremy Sprinkle (Dal)|
|WR Alex Erickson||S Percy Butler||DT Matt Ioannidis (Car)|
|QB Sam Howell||DT Tim Settle (Buf)|
|OG Ereck Flowers|
|S Landon Collins|
|QB Ryan Fitzpatrick|
Barrett’s Fantasy Strength of Schedule
Quarterback: 11th-softest (+0.21)
Running Backs: 12th-toughest (-0.01)
Wide Receivers: 13th-softest (+0.23)
Tight Ends: 6th-softest (+0.78)
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace splits by score (2021)
Pace when within a score – 28.7 (19th)
Pace when trailing – 26.0 (18th)
Pace when leading – 30.8 (28th)
Play volume (2021)
Passes per game – 36.9 (22nd)
Runs per game – 28.9 (10th)
Total plays per game – 65.8 (14th)
Pass/Run splits by score/situation (2021)
Pass/Run when within a score (1st-3rd quarters) – 25th pass rate (55%) / 8th run rate (45%)
Pass/Run when trailing – 26th pass rate (64%) / 7th run rate (36%)
Pass/Run when leading – 26th pass rate (48%) / 7th run rate (52%)
Pass/Run on early-downs – 20th pass rate (51%) / 13th run rate (49%)
The Commanders were predominantly a slow-paced, run-heavy offense last year with Taylor Heinicke as their starter in 15 games. And, as a result, they were a boring team for fantasy! Especially after signing G Trai Turner in free agency off of a bounce-back season in Pittsburgh and spending a top-100 pick on RB Brian Robinson, I figure OC Scott Turner will rely just as heavily on the run game in 2022. The goal will be to turn Carson Wentz into a game-manager, but we all know how that journey ended for the Colts last season.
New Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz is transitioning to a similarly structured offense from his previous gig in Indianapolis. Both teams have a star WR1 surrounded by a group of young, unproven talent along with an average-at-best tight end group. Wentz should expect to be running an offense that runs its plays primarily out of 11 personnel. Washington was top three in the league running over 70% of its plays out of 11 personnel and over 15% of its plays out of 12 personnel. The Colts ran over 80% of their plays out of either 11 or 12 personnel in 2021. Some of Wentz’s best routes to target matchup nicely with Washington’s top pass catcher. Wentz threw over 40 corner or post passes in 2021 for just under 13 yards per target, which matches up perfectly with Terry McLaurin who averaged 11 yards per target on those routes in 2021.
When it comes to the run game, Washington heavily utilizes a zone run scheme, running over 60% of their rushes with a zone concept. Antonio Gibson was great on the outside zone runs, averaging over 5 yards per carry, but Washington did not have a great runner for their inside zone runs. J.D. McKissic was best for them on inside zone runs in 2021, averaging 4.7 yards per carry, but that was on only 18 carries and they want to focus on using McKissic for his passing skills. This is where rookie Brian Robinson Jr. comes in. Robinson’s ability to identify the hole and hit it quickly will fit perfectly in the Commanders offense and give them a nice power back in short-yardage situations. As the season goes on, Robinson does have the skills to become more of a three-down back if Gibson does not take the step forward that the coaching staff is looking for.
Projected Fantasy Contributors
Carson Wentz (Proj: QB26 | ADP: 202 | Pos ADP: QB27)
The Commanders are trying to be the latest — and perhaps last — team to “fix” Wentz, who is now five years, two teams, and multiple injuries removed from his MVP-like 2017 campaign. Occam’s Razor likely applies here, and barring something completely unforeseen, the best Washington can hope for is a decent though completely unspectacular upgrade on Taylor Heinicke. Just how likely is a total revival? Well, per SIS… not very. Wentz’s accuracy and efficiency when he’s given a clean pocket has gotten significantly worse recently compared to his peak in 2017-18.
|Season||On-target throw%||Passer rating|
|2016||84% (18th-of-37 QBs)||89.1 (28th-of-37 QBs)|
|2017||88% (7th-of-38)||114.1 (3rd-of-38)|
|2018||86% (5th-of-38)||104.1 (18th-of-38)|
|2019||78% (29th-of-37)||99.9 (22nd-of-37)|
|2020||74% (last of 38)||83.5 (37th-of-38)|
|2021||77% (30th-of-37)||105.7 (15th-of-37)|
On throws that traveled fewer than 10 air yards, Wentz was on-target just 78.6% of the time. That ranked 32nd-of-41 qualifying QBs. Wentz is inaccurate, just like Heinicke, who finished 35th-of-37 QBs in on-target throws (73%) last season. For fantasy purposes, Wentz was actually solid in 2021, finishing 14th in total fantasy points, mostly because he played all 17 games. That dropped to 20th in FPG, but he finished as a top-12 QB six times, so he had some solid fill-in value at times. Moreover, presuming Washington gets something done with Terry McLaurin to keep him happy, Wentz’s supporting cast with the Commanders should be stronger than it was in Indianapolis last year, when his only reliable WR was Michael Pittman. It’s just that two teams have now given up on Wentz, and those teams are Philadelphia (where Doug Pederson helped mold him into an MVP candidate) and Indianapolis (where Frank Reich was Wentz’s hand-picked mentor). In addition, Wentz absolutely collapsed under pressure last year, turning in one of the worst QB performances of the entire season when all the Colts needed to do was beat the woeful Jaguars in Week 18 to reach the playoffs. The notion that Washington has the secret sauce to revert Wentz to 2017 — or, heck, even 2018 or 2019 — is a little hard to believe.
Sam Howell (Proj: QB43 | ADP: N/A | Pos ADP: N/A)
Howell is almost certain to open the season as Washington’s QB3 behind Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke, but if Wentz absolutely collapses and/or gets injured, the Commanders would probably do well to get a look at Howell. A 2022 fifth-round pick, Howell was a trendy name to be listed among potential #1 overall picks after his 2020 season at North Carolina, but his tape regressed in 2021 — by his own admission. Howell is a short but solid mobile QB who ran a ton of RPO concepts with designed QB run elements at UNC, and that would make him an intriguing fantasy option if he does play. But he needs a ton of work as a pocket passer, which is why it wouldn’t be shocking to see him as a gameday inactive early in his rookie campaign. His competitiveness and rushing ability would get fantasy players at least marginally excited if he were pressed into action.
Antonio Gibson (Proj: RB20 | ADP: 65 | Pos ADP: RB23)
Well, Christian McCaffrey he is not. The former college WR Gibson has had a mostly successful transition to RB at the NFL level, but for whatever reason, his receiving skills haven’t been a huge boon for fantasy, as the Commanders almost universally preferred scatback JD McKissic in obvious passing situations. And not only is McKissic back in 2022 following a brief dalliance with Buffalo, but Washington also spent a third-round pick on Alabama bruiser Brian Robinson. It’s all made Gibson a very difficult player to rank for 2022. In total PPR fantasy points a season ago, he was the RB10, but on a per-game basis over the last two seasons, he is the RB20 by FPG (14.4). Gibson’s efficiency metrics over the last two years are pretty mediocre as well – YAC (41st-of-66 RBs), missed tackles forced (28th-of-66), and receiving yards gained per route run (22nd-of-55 RBs). Gibson averages 2.5 fewer fantasy points per game when McKissic plays versus when McKissic is out, and Gibson is also game-script dependent. He averages 3.1 fewer fantasy points per game in losses versus wins. He had a whopping 6 fumbles last year, a big problem (and not a problem Robinson had in his college career). Moreover, Washington’s offensive line took a hit this off-season, losing stud RG Brandon Scherff and replacing him with the husk of Trai Turner.
JD McKissic (Proj: RB49 | ADP: 189 | Pos ADP: RB56)
McKissic nearly left for Buffalo this off-season, which was a move when reported that made us all excited about Antonio Gibson. Well, somehow the Commanders lured him back to a dysfunctional franchise, and then Washington spent a third-round draft pick on Brian Robinson, making this backfield a tough one to suss out for fantasy purposes. McKissic’s 43 receptions a season ago actually were just one more than Gibson, but he also did it in 11 games — he was on a 66-reception pace over a full 17-game campaign (only Najee Harris, Austin Ekeler, and Leonard Fournette caught more passes at the RB position). McKissic finished as a top-36 RB in PPR leagues eight times in 11 games, including five finishes in the top 24, which made him a rosterable and often useful FLEX option, especially when Washington was an underdog. However, the QB situation is a downgrade for McKissic. In 2021, Taylor Heinicke targeted a player lined up in the backfield on 96 of 494 throws — 19.4%. The checkdown-averse Carson Wentz did so on 88/516 — 17.1%. And it’s not like Wentz was devoid of receiving talent in the backfield in Indianapolis, as Nyheim Hines is one of the best receiving backs in football but turned in career-lows in both targets (57) and receptions (40) despite playing in all 17 games. McKissic is in a weird place for fantasy — his role is a valuable one, but Wentz would prefer to try to make a spectacular (and often dumb) play rather than take the checkdown.
Brian Robinson (Proj: RB55 | ADP: 192 | Pos ADP: RB57)
Robinson was a favorite of our Greg Cosell, who loved Robinson’s physicality and competitiveness on his Alabama tape. Cosell wrote that Robinson “has feature-back size and traits, and it would not surprise [Greg] at all if some teams had him as the #1 back on their board.” Indeed, Washington spent a third-round pick on Robinson, which is by no means a throwaway pick, and certainly not at the RB position these days. It’s potentially a warning shot to the productive but inefficient Antonio Gibson, and there is certainly a scenario in which Robinson produces league-winning ROI on his extremely modest ADP if Gibson gets hurt or falters. But there’s also a scenario in which Gibson stays healthy, produces well, and Robinson essentially redshirts. Given the caveats, his ADP is pretty fair, and he’s a rock-solid zero-RB target for those who dabble in the strategy.
Jaret Patterson (Proj: RB96 | ADP: N/A | Pos ADP: N/A)
Patterson posted 68/266/2 rushing (3.9 YPC) and 10/73 receiving as a rookie in 2021, with his best game coming in Week 17 against Philly when he got a spot start for the injured Antonio Gibson, with 12/57/1 rushing and 5/41 receiving on a season-high 62% snap share. He’s got some juice to him, but he’s undersized and is now buried on the depth chart behind Gibson, JD McKissic, and rookie Brian Robinson. He’s probably best cast as the backup “scatback” to McKissic.
Terry McLaurin (Proj: WR21 | ADP: 46 | Pos ADP: WR22)
What we wouldn’t give — heck, what McLaurin wouldn’t give — for some consistent QB play. Three years into his career, McLaurin’s best quarterback has likely been Case Keenum, given he didn’t get more than a couple series with Ryan Fitzpatrick a season ago. And McLaurin knows he’s produced despite bad circumstances, as he’s angling for a new deal he has yet to receive as of publication after posting over 3000 yards receiving in his first three seasons, including back-to-back 1000-yard campaigns. Who knows what could happen in this crazy WR off-season, but as of now we have to preview McLaurin as if he’ll stay in Washington and play with new QB Carson Wentz. On the one hand, we know McLaurin can be awesome with adequate quarterback play. But, McLaurin has been the literal definition of boom-or-bust. McLaurin has scored 20 or more fantasy points eight times over the last two seasons, tied with DK Metcalf for 13th-most among WRs. On the other hand, we also know the floor is scary low with McLaurin because his QB play has been so erratic. McLaurin has finished as a WR3 or worse (outside of the top-25 in weekly scoring) in a whopping 66% of his starts over the last two years. And in his career, Wentz has never had a WR finish higher than 23rd in PPR FPG (Alshon Jeffery, 2017). That could well be a personnel problem, but the fantasy markets are a little skeptical on McLaurin, for good reason — McLaurin himself has never finished higher than 20th in FPG given his inconsistency. And it has to be considered that, as of publication, there’s a chance he misses some games because of a contract dispute. If he does play every game, he also has to contend with rookie Jahan Dotson and (huge grain of salt) a potentially healthy Curtis Samuel for targets. Wentz’s risk-taking style does mesh well with McLaurin, but he’s also an inaccurate downfield passer, something McLaurin has had to contend with for his entire NFL career.
Jahan Dotson (Proj: WR52 | ADP: 144 | Pos ADP: WR65)
Washington’s first-round pick — 16th overall — gives them a young, exciting 1-2 punch at WR, presuming they can do something to make Terry McLaurin happy. A talented youngster whom our Greg Cosell compared to Diontae Johnson with better hands, Dotson was able to play himself into the first half of the first round in April despite poor QB play from Sean Clifford at Penn State. Per Scott Barrett, “over the past two seasons, Dotson has run 83% of his routes from the outside and ranks behind only Drake London, Garrett Wilson, and David Bell by yards per route run on outside routes (2.52)” among this rookie class. And again, that’s despite poor QB play. Meanwhile, he was the fifth WR drafted in April… but he’s currently the 8th rookie WR coming off the board in many redraft leagues, presenting a buying opportunity. We understand not trusting Carson Wentz, but he’s also going after Lions rookie Jameson Williams, who might not play a full season. And for what it’s worth, as of publication, we must acknowledge that there’s a chance McLaurin either misses games because of his current contract dispute or is on another team entirely. Even with McLaurin locked in for a full 17 games in Washington, Dotson is a really gifted young player who is an appealing target in the double-digit rounds of drafts.
Curtis Samuel (Proj: WR86 | ADP: 175 | Pos ADP: WR78)
It was so easy to see that Washington was mishandling Samuel last year, as a nagging groin injury during the summer lingered into the season when he probably just should have gotten surgery (as our Dr. Edwin Porras said). That injury — plus a hamstring ailment — limited Samuel to five games, 10 touches, and 38 yards from scrimmage in his first year of a $35 million contract with the Commanders. There are now zero expectations for him, as the #3 WR behind Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, but it is worth noting he had success in OC Scott Turner’s offense with the Panthers back in 2019. Ironically, it was after Turner left that Carolina chose to better deploy Samuel in 2020, using him in a hybrid WR/RB role that far better fit his skill set than the deep threat role he played for Turner in 2019. Given 4 of his 10 touches were rush attempts in 2021, there was a little bit of a glimmer of hope for his usage, though there’s obviously no way to draw sweeping conclusions. 2021 was a lost season for Samuel, but he’s a talented guy who is essentially free in drafts right now. If he’s healthy, Washington has an intriguing top three at WR.
Dyami Brown (Proj: WR119 | ADP: 216 | Pos ADP: WR140)
Despite playing 15 games and getting a ton of snaps early as a rookie — above 60% in four of his first five games — Brown just never got off on the right foot, suffering a couple of minor injuries and then being relegated to bit player by the end of the season. The deep threat from UNC caught 8 passes for 81 yards on 20 targets through Week 6, but didn’t catch another pass until Week 13 and ended his rookie campaign with just 12 catches total. Among WRs with 20 or more targets, Brown’s 0.9 yards per route run were tied for 12th-worst in the NFL (SIS). And now, he’s potentially buried on the depth chart, barring something happening with Terry McLaurin. Stranger things have happened than a player Brown’s age (22) figuring it out, but he has an uphill climb to be relevant this season.
Cam Sims (Proj: WR130 | ADP: N/A | Pos ADP: N/A)
A big body at 6’5”, 220 pounds, Sims played a ton of snaps late last season for WR-needy Washington, playing between 45% and 75% of the snaps in each of the last five games of the year, but he was targeted just 13 times over that span. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Carson Wentz take to throwing to Sims in the red zone, especially if TE Logan Thomas isn’t ready for the start of the season, but a ton would have to go wrong for the Commanders if Sims is routinely playing 50% or more of the snaps again in 2022.
Logan Thomas (Proj: TE21 | ADP: 193 | Pos ADP: TE25)
After a breakout 2020 campaign, Thomas had an injury-riddled 2021, playing in just six games and posting 18/196/3 on 25 targets. Unfortunately, Thomas’ season ended in a brutal way, tearing his ACL, MCL, and meniscus in Week 13. That makes him no guarantee — if not entirely unlikely — to be ready for Week 1 in 2022. In his five healthy games in 2021, Thomas was the TE8 by FPG (11.1). However, a dive under the hood reveals that Thomas is very inefficient — even considering how bad his quarterback play has been. Over the last two years, Thomas ranks 36th out of 54 qualifying tight ends in yards per route run (1.12). Former Commander Ricky Seals-Jones ranks 37th in this span with 1.11 YPRR (with all of his targets coming in the 2021 season). So Thomas, at age 31, will need a near-miracle recovery from a brutal injury and noted TE whisperer Carson Wentz to coax the best possible season out of him. Given Wentz’s predilection for throwing to the position, Thomas is a fair late dart throw in best ball, but he’ll be merely someone to monitor on the Waiver Wire in most redraft leagues.
John Bates (Proj: TE49 | ADP: N/A | Pos ADP: N/A)
A versatile guy who can catch the ball and block, Bates posted a solid 20/249/1 receiving on 25 targets as a rookie, and he’s earned praise from coach Ron Rivera this off-season for his football maturity. Given Bates’ late-season experience in 2021 — he played at least 57% of the snaps in each of the final nine games of the season — it wouldn’t be shocking to see him take a step forward in 2022, especially if Logan Thomas (knee) isn’t ready for the start of the season. And we know Carson Wentz loves throwing to the tight end. It’s not hard to envision a scenario in which Bates becomes a Jack Doyle kind of player.
Cole Turner (Proj: TE69 | ADP: N/A | Pos ADP: N/A)
A former college WR, Turner is an absolute unit at 6’6” and 250 pounds, but our Greg Cosell saw a raw project on film who has a lot of work to do to become merely a rotational TE at the next level. His athletic traits got him drafted as a fifth-round pick, but he has almost no idea how to run routes, and he almost never played as an in-line tight end in college. Logan Thomas coming off a serious knee injury might make Turner more intriguing in redraft leagues, but someone who is this raw at this position contributing as a rookie is absolutely unheard of.
Huber’s Dynasty Buy-Low
Nobody is going to suggest that Curtis Samuel is going to usurp Terry McLaurin or Jahan Dotson. At the current price – FFPC ADP of 200.1 and WR81, Samuel will just need him to stay on the field for ROI. He’ll enter Week 1 a month shy of his 26th birthday, with plenty left to prove after missing nearly all of the ‘21 season. Samuel was coming off 77/851/3 receiving and 41/200/1 rushing lines from the ‘20 season. Scott Turner’s history of maximizing the potential of Samuel’s 4.31-speed leaves him as a no-brainer dyno buy-low.
Hansen’s Final Points
The fall of Carson Wentz has been a sight to behold, but Wentz the fantasy asset has held steady as better than a replacement-level player the last five years. He’s been the QB14, QB20 (PPG in 12 games), QB8, QB13 (PPG in 11 games), and QB3 (PPG in 13 games). His regression in all areas and propensity to play “hero ball,” which usually results in disaster, are definite concerns. But if his body of work is any indication, he’ll probably deliver a solid ROI at his minimal cost, since he’s consistently been taken in the QB25-28 range 175+ picks into early drafts this year. He faded badly late, but the guy was the QB14 in total points last year with little to work with at receiver in Indy, and he’s got a few more options in DC.
There will be a training camp battle for the #2 job between Taylor Heinicke and Sam Howell, and barring a surprising showing from the rookie Howell, it’s not a battle that should be on anyone’s radar. Howell has a decided edge over Heinicke in terms of talent, so he would be the guy to zero in on if Wentz is out.
It’s tough to finish as the RB10 and still be a buzzkill, but Antonio Gibson did it in 2021. The mistake we Gibson apologists made was we assumed the former college WR would improve as a runner with more reps. He did not, and he continued to struggle running the ball inside while also taking nothing from JD McKissic’s receiving role and picking up a fumbling habit along the way. McKissic will continue to minimize Gibson’s routes and targets, and now rookie Brian Robinson is a good bet to carve out a role, perhaps a large role. Oh, and Washington’s OL lost its best player. Gibson has a fairly wide range of possible outcomes, so his ADP as a low-end RB2 is fair. Robinson has to prove worthy of unseating him for the early-down work, and we won’t know if he’s doing that until we’re well into August. But even with a realistic ADP of 50 in the RB20-25 range, Gibson has too many red flags to stand out as a good pick. If handcuffing him with Robinson doesn’t hurt your overall roster, that does make Gibby a little more palatable.
He’s very good as a receiving specialist, but JD McKissic will be needed less than ever in the running game this year, and he’s now teamed with PPR-destroyer Carson Wentz, who had a huge role in Nyheim Hines’ cliff fall last year. Hines was the RB18 and a damn good flex in 2020, but only the RB48 and cuttable in 2021, thanks mostly to Wentz. McKissic is at least a lot cheaper this year with an ADP of 145, which is a 13th round pick, but there’s very little upside and therefore very little appeal.
The rookie Brian Robinson isn’t a stud by any stretch, but he has good size and a solid, three-down skill set and he could quickly prove to be a better fit for the team’s inside zone running game, which could get him on the field early and perhaps even often. Another Gibson injury or a continuation of his fumbling problem developed last year could also get Robinson on the field. Robinson’s Underdog ADP as of 6/23 was 190, which is absurdly low for a player of his caliber playing behind a starter in Gibson whose previous season revealed multiple red flags. He’s one of the top back-of-the-roster and stash-and-hope picks at RB this year.
As much of a baller that he is, we should have some concerns about Terry McLaurin, and not just his request for a new deal, which as of publication on 6/24 has not yet happened. Luckily for him, their owner is in hot water yet again, and the best way to quiet the negative chatter is to open up the wallet and pay Terry, so that could happen. Assuming all is well on the contract front (and if that’s not the case, we’ll cover the ramifications on the site), it’s hard to argue against McLaurin given the small dip in his cost (12-15 spots) from 2021 and his pairing with the gunslinging Wentz. It may not work out because Wentz isn’t very good, but Michael Pittman crushed his ADP last year finishing as the WR18 with Wentz, and McLaurin is a little sexier than Pittman due to his speed. He’s not necessarily a strong target for us (while his teammed Jahan Dotson is at his ADP), but we’d have no qualms with taking McClaurin if he slipped a little to the 50+ range.
The hype train on rookie Jahan Dotson has already left the station, but I’d like to think we here at Fantasy Points have helped fuel the Dotson train given the mad love we’ve sent his way all year. I think he’s a “baller” and I don’t throw the “B” word around liberally, and I felt that way before he blew up in the OTAs as the star of their offseason. He’s small, but he has a complete skill set and we’d advise targeting him in every draft, assuming his ADP remains in control. As of 6/24/22, he was at 150 overall and WR61, but is worth taking 2-3 rounds before that if you’re looking for upside. It wouldn’t be shocking to see his ADP rise to 100 by August’s end, and if so that would mean he’s blown up in camp, so we’d likely still be down with the Dotson plan.
We were well below the markets on Curtis Samuel last year due to a bloated ADP and also because of concerns about their coaching staff’s ability to utilize Samuel, who only blew up in 2020 after being away from current Commanders OC Scott Turner. He was also dealing with that groin injury last summer, which the team seemed to make worse with mismanagement. We should have zero expectations for Samuel, but he does have a clean bill of health heading into the season and he’s a versatile and talented player who is being drafted outside the top-150 and as around the 80th WR off the board, so he’s not the worst long-shot.
There was a very brief moment in 2021 when it looked like the rookie Dyami Brown was going to make some noise, but he was slowed due to injury and just never got going. And now he’s relegated to the WR4 spot here, at best. We do know they liked him in camp last summer and had high hopes for him, at least. But with Jahan Dotson added in the first round, Brown is a WW guy only.
The Commanders have a lack of size at wide receiver, so a big body like Cam Sims, at 6’5”, could garner significant snaps, as he did at times last year. He could emerge as a red zone guy, especially if TE Logan Thomas isn’t ready, but Sims is not draftable.
He was probably on the verge of a breakout season last year, but Logan Thomas’ season got derailed by two significant injuries, led of course by his tearing of his ACL, MCL, and meniscus in Week 13. Thomas spoke to the media on 6/15 and expressed optimism while saying a Week 1 return was still his goal, but we have a long way to go before we get a handle on his status. It may come down to the very end of the preseason, but he’s likely to open camp on PUP, so he’s impossible to comment on without critical status updates in August. Until proven otherwise, he’s off the radar for us in fantasy drafts.
While it’s fair to call Logan Thomas an “avoid” until we’re at least well into August, it’s also premature to tab second-year man John Bates as a sleeper, but he did flash last year. He’s fairly athletic with good hands and he’s had a good off-season, so he’s on the radar. If Thomas’ outlook is dire and rookie Cole Turner isn’t ready for prime time (likely), then Bates would be a viable TE sleeper and will probably close out the summer in our top-30 for 2022.
The rookie Cole Turner is big and has solid athletic traits, but he’s a raw prospect who’ll be hard-pressed to earn snaps and targets over John Bates, not to mention Logan Thomas should he miraculously play early this year. He’s more a dart-throw dynasty stash.