Jahan Dotson Fantasy Football Outlook: Upside of Commanders Rookie WR Is Capped In Washington
Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Commanders rookie WR Jahan Dotson
Jahan Dotson was one of six first-round wide receivers in the 2022 NFL Draft class. Is the Commanders rookie worth taking a chance on in fantasy football drafts, too?
Our fantasy football expert grades his landing spot and forecasts expectations for Year 1, while a former NFL GM breaks down Dotson’s pre-draft evaluation.
Jahan Dotson Fantasy Football Outlook
by Samantha Previte, fantasy football analyst for Action
Landing Spot Grade: C+
Washington’s offense doesn’t exactly spark joy, and the Commanders have undergone significant turnover at quarterback since the departure of Kirk Cousins.
Last year’s signal-caller, Taylor Heinicke, excelled on the ground but struggled as a pocket passer. Heinicke ranked 24th in passing yards per game (214) and 22nd in yards per attempt (6.9) among 40 quarterbacks who started at least five games. His replacement, 29-year-old Carson Wentz, was even worse for the Colts last season and ranked 27th in passing yards per game (210) and 23rd in yards per attempt (6.9).
In terms of competition, Dotson joins receivers Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown, tight end Logan Thomas and pass-catching running backs J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson on the depth chart.
McLaurin, 26, is coming off his second consecutive 1,000-yard season and will be Dotson’s main competition. The jury is still out on Brown, who was selected in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft and was mostly unremarkable in his rookie campaign, reeling in 12-of-25 targets for 165 yards and zero touchdowns over 15 games.
McKissic was actually the Commanders’ second-best receiver last season in terms of yardage — even with six missed games. I expect Dotson will siphon some targets away from McKissic with his ability to line up inside.
Injuries have plagued both Samuel and Thomas, who appeared in five and six games, respectively, last season.
Suffice to say that this depth chart is lean and was in need of another weapon. Perhaps Dotson will inject some life into this offense, but he is more likely to underperform in light of his landing spot.
2022 Fantasy Potential: WR3/4 upside.
Dotson has a relatively easy path to targets taking into account Washington’s depth chart, but his physical stature gives me pause, as does the prospect of catching passes from Wentz.
Jahan Dotson Pre-Draft Evaluation
by Randy Mueller, former NFL general manager and team executive
Dotson’s 91 catches in 2021 are a sign of production at the college level. For that to carry to the NFL, he will have to outplay his size and find his way as a slot receiver and return specialist. A comp for me on tape was former Steeler and current 49er, Ray-Ray McCloud. This in all likelihood makes Dotson a possible option for teams in Rounds 2-3 of this draft.
Dotson’s strengths are his quickness, his burst in and out of breaks, and his ability to separate with his change of direction and foot quickness. Although his 40 speed timed in the mid 4.4s, I find his play speed to be slightly slower. He’s quicker than fast, which makes his ability to find and sit in soft spots vs. zone coverage a solid option for teams looking for a third-down slot guy.
Dotson has very good body control and can separate vs. tight coverage if given a free release off the line of scrimmage, which is a big “if” at the next level. Press coverage will be his nemesis (and always is for smaller guys), so schemes may have to allow for this until he figures it out and cleans up his releases.
Dotson will need to be more consistent catching with his hands and not allowing balls to get into his body, which will allow him to play bigger than his measured size. I see flashes of being able to make contested catches, so the skills are there. I worry about his size and the effects of incidental contact on his routes, though, and the timing being affected with the QB at the next level. When defenders get their hands on him, he will have to improve on playing through contact.
Dotson grew on me the more film I watched, which is always a good sign.