Antonio Gibson Fantasy Football Projections Rankings: Commanders RB Struggling While Brian Robinson Creates Role
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Antonio Gibson.
- Antonio Gibson has been one of fantasy football's most reliable RBs in his first two seasons.
- Gibson has struggled in training camp, though, and there's reason to believe his stock is falling.
- Samantha Previte breaks down the Commanders RB's fantasy football outlook in 2022.
The Commanders made a number of offseason moves — most notably, the acquisition of former Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz — but the buzz around the fantasy football community of late has been about third-year running back Antonio Gibson.
Once a fantasy star and PPR darling, the 2020 third-round pick’s stock is plummeting amid ongoing ball security issues and a fresh face in the Washington backfield.
The 24-year-old Memphis product back spent most of his collegiate career as a wide receiver and return specialist and was later moved to running back heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. Gibson has been highly productive since joining the Commanders, tallying over 1,000 scrimmage yards and 10+ touchdowns in each of his first two seasons.
Gibson’s versatility — namely his pass-catching abilities — has been a huge draw and have helped him finish as the RB13 and RB12 in half-PPR scoring in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Washington drafted another third-round back in this year’s draft in Brian Robinson. The Crimson Tide running back is coming off of a banner season in which he tallied 1,343 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns and tacked on 35 catches for 296 yards and two touchdowns. Robinson is a tough-running, physical running back — a style that contrasts starkly with Gibson’s.
The pick, at first glance, seemed merely like a depth move and insurance policy should their star back get injured, but preseason scuttlebutt has some managers hitting the panic button.
Gibson has garnered scrutiny for poor ball security after posting a league-high six fumbles in 2021. He fumbled once again in the Commanders’ preseason opener against the Panthers near the line of scrimmage, which prompted head coach Ron Rivera to issue the following statement.
“Antonio’s got to run harder,” Rivera said. “When he starts to shuffle and go sideways, that’s when he struggles.”
“Very frustrating,” Gibson said. “Can’t have that.”
Meanwhile, Robinson looked strong in his preseason debut and scored a one-yard touchdown.
“I think Brian showed us kind of why we drafted him,” Rivera said of the rookie.
To make matters worse, Washington Post’s Sam Fortier reported on Tuesday that, “Gibson is playing the slot on punt block,” which he believes is a, “new development.”
It’s difficult to say if Gibson’s perceived demotion is a direct result of his preseason performance and/or waning favor with his coach, though the timing would suggest there is some correlation. Rivera had stated during the summer that he hoped to use a tripartite approach with his depth chart, which led me to speculate that J.D. McKissic would continue in his role as the short yardage, pass-catching back, while Gibson maintained his workhorse role and Robinson was utilized in goal-line situations. That scenario may actually be too rosy given the head coach’s dismay with Gibson, combined with Robinson’s recent ascension.
Gibson is currently being drafted as the RB19 in half-PPR according to FantasyPros, while Robinson’s ADP is nearly ten rounds later at RB58. I am nowhere near ready to dub this as the rookie’s backfield alone, but at this stage, I would much prefer Robinson at cost over Gibson, who presents much more risk in the early fourth round of fantasy drafts.
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