We’re in the home stretch of the 2020 fantasy football season, a season in which we didn’t expect to rely heavily on Washington Football Team players.
The Washington Football Team‘s offense was heavily lamented in the offseason leading up to the 2020 campaign, and in fairness, that lament was warranted. The unit was one of the league’s worst groups in 2019, and although they added a few weapons, such as Antonio Gibson, none of those weapons were proven, and Terry McLaurin remained the only legitimate threat.
Now, eleven weeks into the 2020 season, we can finally say that the Washington Football Team’s offense has progressed in several phases. Logan Thomas has become a decent threat at tight end, worthy of consistent starts. Cam Sims and Isaiah Wright have shown strides at wide receiver, and in the running back room, former Lions journeyman J.D. McKissic has become a valued member of the rotation with his receiving ability and burst.
Despite this growth, however, none of the above-mentioned names have become consistent fantasy football options. Thomas is ranked as the No. 13 tight end in non-PPR leagues, and none of the other players warrant fantasy consideration. Of course, there is one name that has risen above all in Washington’s offensive talent core, and that name is the aforementioned Antonio Gibson.
Antonio Gibson was viewed as a high-upside option heading into the 2020 season with his versatile background and his elite explosive athletic profile. But at the time of Gibson’s acquisition by the Washington Football Team, Adrian Peterson was still in the building, as was Derrius Guice. It was unclear if Gibson would get opportunities at all, and if he got them, how efficient would he be early in his career?
The circumstances yielded an answer to both those questions soon enough. Guice was released from the team upon discovery of troubling assault allegations, while Peterson was released on cut day, after which he would sign with the Lions. Those two moves freed up space in the Washington Football Team’s running back room, and Gibson, a player who had 33 carries in his final collegiate season, inherited the lead back role.
It’s taken some time for Antonio Gibson to siphon carries away from more-established veterans, but after twelve weeks, Gibson has grown, not just into a solid fantasy running back, but a borderline-elite fantasy threat with even more remaining upside. And as you round out your fantasy football season looking for a championship, Gibson is developing from a week-by-week play, into a must-start.
Gibson has found the end zone on the ground 11 times this season, and over Washington’s past five games, he’s scored eight of those touchdowns. Gibson has also broke the 100-yard mark twice in the past five weeks, and his attempts continue to go up as well. As Gibson keeps growing, Washington keeps giving him a larger share of the workload.
Gibson’s growth as a runner has been evident diagnostically as well. There have been times this season where Gibson has relied purely on talent, and where his underdeveloped vision has limited his ability to see running lanes as they appear. Against Dallas, however, Gibson was very aware and decisive, and he hit holes with tremendous explosiveness, using that burst to get into open field, where he’s perhaps most dangerous.
Gibson continues to learn how to use his traits, and as he does so, he should only become a more efficient, more effective runner. Seeing that he’s coming off a 20-carry, 115-yard, three-touchdown performance, that’s kind of scary to think about — unless you own Gibson on your fantasy team.
The Memphis product also has withstanding upside as a receiver. The targets have been coming fairly consistently; he’s averaging four per week over the past four games. But Gibson hasn’t been able to find space consistently as a receiver, whether due to his own vision or blocking execution. As Gibson continues to grow, and as the offense’s execution sustains refinement, Gibson’s receiving production could also skyrocket.
Gibson’s next two games will come against two top-ten defenses, in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs, but after that, Gibson will face two defenses outside the Top 20 in that same metric — the Seahawks and the Panthers. And then, to close out the year, if you make it that far, Gibson has a very enticing matchup against the Eagles.
Given the duplicitous upside of Antonio Gibson, both as a runner and a pass-catcher, and seeing that he’s scored at least 16 fantasy points in non-PPR leagues in each of the past three weeks, Gibson appears to be a very exciting option for your fantasy football team as the playoffs near. He’s explosive, he has elite contact balance, and his vision continues to develop, and if he becomes the receiving threat he can be, he could ultimately lead your team to a championship win.