The 2022 NFL Season is nearly upon us. As part of the run up to the season, we’re preview all the teams, culminating with our picks for who makes the playoffs and who wins the awards this season. Check back each day through September 5. Let’s get ready for some football!
Washington began the 2021 season with promise. The team was coming off winning the NFC East and signed veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and receiver Curtis Samuel to give them a boost. It didn’t turn out the way. Fitzpatrick was injured opening day and never played again. He retired this off-season. Samuel battled injuries all season as well and was rarely on the field. That coupled with injuries and inefficiencies on defense led to a miserable season in the Nation’s Capital, as Washington slipped to 7-10 and out of the playoffs.
It didn’t take long for Washington to seek to shed the past, unveiling a new name—Commanders—in February. The team also didn’t waste time this off-season addressing the position of quarterback. The Commanders made a deal with the Colts, bringing in Carson Wentz. Wentz is no stranger to Washington fans who watched him twice a season when he was with the Eagles before his one-year stint in Indianapolis. Wentz is 44-40-1 as a starter and Washington hopes he bring stability to the position.
The Commanders also beefed up the offense this off-season. In the draft they snagged Wentz a new weapon in Penn State receiver Jahan Dotson. Dotson caught 183 passes for 2,757 yards and 25 touchdowns. The team also drafted a new running back in former Alabama rusher Brian Robinson. Robinson rushed for 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2021, giving them some pop in the backfield. The Commander also addressed the offensive line. While guard Brandon Scherff signed with the Jaguars, the team brought in free agent guards Andrew Norvell and Trai Turner to bolster the line.
Rumors of Wentz’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. He was QB14 a year ago and I suspect he’ll be a QB2 again in 2022. The bigger question is the backfield. Antonio Gibson is the returning starter and finished as RB10 but struggled at times in 2021. He has reportedly struggled in camp and reports have had him working with the second and third team. J.D. McKissic is back as a pass catcher and Robinson is there to push him as a rusher. I think Gibson steal leads the backfield, but he’s a tentative RB2 for now and is a player and situation we need to watch. McKissic should return RB3 value.
In the passing game, Terry McLaurin leads the receivers. He was WR25 in 2021. I suspect that’s within his range for 2022, too. He figures to be a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 based on the volume and pass offense. Dotson and a presumably healthy Samuel will be involved but I don’t have confidence either is an every week start. I like Dotson’s potential in dynasty and figure he’ll end up the WR2 in the offense. Tight end is also interesting as Logan Thomas recovers from injury. If available, I like him as a TE2.
Washington is a year removed from being the NFC East champs, but they were more the beneficiaries of a down situation than the result of a team dominating on the field. Wentz should bring stability, and I think the team has a chance to win eight or nine games, but I suspect they’ll fall just short of a return to the post-season.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.