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Washington Football Team 2021 Fantasy Football Preview

Washington has a lot of pieces to get excited about heading into 2021. Here's a breakdown of the roster for fantasy this season.

It has been a long time since the Super Bowl, and remembering exactly how things left off last year can be a challenge. So, I’ll be writing up a fantasy preview for each NFL team to give us a quick refresher on what happened last year, and what changes took place in the offseason. All fantasy stats will be in ESPN scoring format unless otherwise noted. 

If I missed any change or left out any big notes, throw them down in the comments for me!

What Did They Do Last Year

Washington went 7-9 and won the embarrassment that was the NFC East behind a solid defense and some very meh quarterback play. 

Fans fell deeply in love with Terry McLaurin, who posted his first 1,000 yard season. We saw glimpses of what might be the next great thing in fantasy for running backs with Antonio Gibson putting to bed all concerns about being able to run between the tackles, while being bafflingly stymied in the passing game by poor quarterback play and the talented, but limited, J.D. McKissic. 

The key coaching staff are coming back for year two under Ron Rivera. Washington made some excellent upgrades without breaking the bank in the offseason, too. Signing quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, bringing in wide receiver Curtis Samuel, and re-signing guard Brandon Scherff are all solid moves. Defensive back William Jackson III comes over from Cincy and should be a huge step in the right direction for a secondary that struggled last year. Receiver Adam Humphries joined the team, too, and while that isn’t the biggest move in the world, it does add talent to a pretty sparse receiving corps. 

37Alex Smith81682521,58268103071.68.9
38Dwayne Haskins71482411,439572046170.210
44Kyle Allen460876104172614511.3
58Taylor Heinicke1121913710322011.711.7

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a clear upgrade over what the Washingtonians took the field with at quarterback last year. For comparison, Fitzpatrick finished 19th in PFF overall ranks for QBs, where Alex Smith finished at 29. Again, I don’t believe PFF grades are the be-all end-all when it comes to evaluation, but I do think they generally point in the right direction. 

Some may be over-playing Fitzpatrick’s propensity to chuck it, though. Over the years Fitzpatrick has been on some terrible teams, and when down, he seemed to understand that if he didn’t take some huge risks the game was lost. Washington will be the best team Fitzpatrick has played for in his career, and what we saw with him last year in Miami (the second best team he’d ever played for), was that he’s become a pretty polished decision maker. 

Overall, I expect the offense to take a step in the right direction. 

Wide Receivers
2022Terry McLaurin15134871,1184136.89.1223.814.92
8889Cam Sims114832477154.24.986.27.84
107114Steven Sims113727265132.32.959.35.39
122120Dontrelle Inman72818163228.3446.36.61
123135Isaiah Wright113527197019.31.846.34.21
193188Robert Foster3623703.
202196Antonio Gandy-Golden471302.
217217Jeff Badet110000000

Terry McLaurin is an obvious standout, and it wouldn’t take much for him to improve on his meager four touchdowns from last year. McLaurin had the most receptions of any wide receiver to only score 4 touchdowns with 87, and he was second only to DJ Moore’s 1,193 receiving yards for most receiving yards and only 4 scores. Even with the Washingtoninites recording the 10th most receptions last year, Terry could still pick up a few more quality targets with Fitzpatrick under center. 

Curtis Samuel will be joining the Washingtonists in 2021, and this should be a big boost to a relatively ho-hum receiving corps. Samuel’s addition brings more to the table for Fitzpatrick’s fantasy value than it does his own, with Samuel remaining one of many receivers who could have a big week at any time but will disappoint more often than he helps your team.

Running Backs
1314Antonio Gibson141707951144362470166.211.9202.214.44
1734J.D. McKissic16853651110805892111.47191.411.96
7468Peyton Barber1494258474120513.6553.93

Antonio Gibson had an amazing rookie season for a middling-at-best offense in Washington. The big questions with Gibson coming in to the league were: Could this wide receiver convert run between the tackles and do all the other running-back-things running backs do? Those questions were put to bed with Gibson’s stellar first season. 

If Gibson can take all those Peyton Barber touches and just a few receptions from McKissic, we could be looking at the next perennial top-10 fantasy back. 

Tight End
48Logan Thomas16110726706103.56.5175.510.97
110109Temarrick Hemingway22110010.521
112112Jeremy Sprinkle331600.
115116Marcus Baugh111200.

Logan Thomas is good, but do you think his 110 targets was more a function of the sub-par quarterback play or more of a stable part of the offense? For fantasy, Thomas is one of about 20 tight ends you’re going to try and talk yourself in to being ok with if you pass on Kelce and Waller. Good luck!

2021 Draft

Washington had a fairly balanced draft between the defensive and offensive sides of the ball. They took Samuel Cosmi, a tackle out of UT (the real UT) in the second round, and wide receiver Dyami Brown (of North Carolina) in the third.

Brown got a lot of buzz leading up to the draft, and while I wouldn’t expect a ton from him in his rookie season, he is a name to keep in mind for the waiver wire and in dynasty formats. He has all the traits to blossom in to not only an excellent NFL receiver, but a receiver we’re going to want to keep an eye for fantasy. Brown is a must own in dynasty, and you can get him in the late second or third round most of the time. 

The Schedule

Washington’s 17th game will be at home as they play their first-place schedule in 2021. They drew the NFC South (Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and AFC West (Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos). They’ll also face the Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks, and Green Bay Packers as their ‘‘throw in’ games. 

It’ll be a tough road to hoe for Washington outside of their soft division.

Additional Notes

From a coaching perspective, Washington is bringing back all of its key players. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner doesn’t have much of a track record to point to when trying to divine what to expect from his offense. 

The additions of Fitzpatrick and Samuel are big, and Washington made a couple of moves to shore up its offensive line. 

What Does It All Mean?!?! (AKA – Bold predictions)

Washington had a good offseason on paper, upgrading their weakest positions (secondary, offensive line, quarterback, receiver), and coach Ron Rivera appears to have the team moving in the right direction behind a scary defense. The schedule is daunting.

For fantasy, the arrow is up on the Washingontians. Gibson is one of my favorite second/third tier running backs and he should be a target late in the first, early in the second round of your drafts. McLaurin’s hype may get a little out of hand, but he’ll be an every-week starter for you.

Fitzpatrick will be a serviceable but unremarkable piece of your QB-by-comittee. 

Arrow up in Washington.


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