Gibson is expected to be the No. 2 running back in Washington this season, and he will compete with Brian Robinson Jr. for playing time. Gibson is worth drafting with a mid-round pick, with his value higher in PPR, and he should see most of his production in the passing game. Robinson should lead the Commanders in carries, but Gibson should still get his share of touches. He had a career-best year in 2022 in targets (58), receptions (46) and receiving yards (353), and hopefully he can build off that in new offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy's system. Gibson should be viewed as a flex option in PPR, and he could end up as a weekly starter if Robinson were to miss time. In non- and 0.5-PPR leagues, Gibson's value is lower coming into the season, but he's still a good back to stash on your bench.
Gibson took a step back last year. After a strong start – one with RB Brian Robinson sidelined – Gibson quickly lost his lead job.
The good news is Washington didn’t add legit competition for Gibson’s 2023 receiving role. And there’s a blank slate here for the unit overall following the arrival of former Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy.
We’re not excited to draft any Commanders RB. But we’ll give the edge to the pass catcher in Gibson, who’s also coming off the board about half a round after Robinson in early drafts.
What We Learned Last YearGibson’s workload took a predictable hit following the addition of rookie RB Brian Robinson. After seeing 16.1 carries per game in 2021, that number dipped to 9.9 last fall.In 11 games together, Robinson out-carried him 181-96.However, Gibson maintained the upper hand as a receiver, leading Robinson in targets 42-11.Overall, Gibson finished as a top-12 PPR RB twice; a top-24 RB seven times.Gibson missed the final two games with an MCL sprain and a foot fracture.He underwent surgery on the foot in January, per HC Ron Rivera.Gibson ran behind a poor O-line and dealt with a pair of inconsistent QBs (Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke).Washington ranked fourth in plays per game but just 24th in points per game.No surprise, then, that Gibson mustered only 3 rushing TDs, two of those with Robinson inactive.This duo saw similar red-zone usage. Gibson averaged 1.66 RZ carries per game; Robinson 1.91.
What to Expect in 2023
This offseason, HC Ron Rivera talked about giving Gibson more work, an attainable goal after the light usage in 2022.RB J.D. McKissic was released. That removes 40 targets from last year’s offense, and some figure to shift Gibson’s way.Rookie RB Chris Rodriguez arrived in Round 6, but he’s not a receiving back (or a candidate for a major Year 1 role).Eric Bieniemy joined on as the OC, replacing Scott Turner.He’s spent the past 10 years in Kansas City – five as the RBs coach, five as the OC.He worked in a collaborative play-calling role with HC Andy Reid as the Chiefs offense ranked top 6 in points and yards in each of Bieniemy’s seasons as OC.Chiefs RBs ranked sixth, 20th, 12th, seventh, and eighth in yards per carry.His lead backs over that stretch: Kareem HuntDamien WilliamsClyde Edwards-HelaireDarrel WilliamsIsiah PachecoBen Standig of The Athletic suggests that the team might implement more RB screens. Excellent news for Gibson, who averaged a career-high 7.7 yards per catch in 2022.Washington’s offense still presents more questions than answers.Sam Howell is the heavy favorite to start Week 1. But he saw the field for only the Week 18 start as a rookie.The O-line looks average. They at least injected fresh talent in LG Nick Gates and RT Andrew Wylie.
Gibson appeared to be budding into a feature back during his first two NFL seasons (2,373 yards and 21 TDs), but the 2020 third-round pick was demoted to a lesser role with Brian Robinson Jr. in the fold last season. In six full games together without J.D. McKissic, Gibson was limited to 31% of the carries (11.0 per game), but handled a hefty 14% of the targets (3.8). He wasn't much of a fantasy factor (9.3 PPG), but he'll find himself on the PPR flex radar in deeper leagues if he maintains the change-of-pace rushing role while handling most of Washington's passing-down work. The 25-year-old has a low ceiling as long as Robinson is in the mix, but he's a fine bench option.