First off, I apologize that there’s been over a two-week gap between my past Dynasty Profile article (Ke’Shawn Vaughn) and this one. Life gets in the way and other fantasy related commitments came up. But I promise you, I’m back to start once again regularly producing this series.
Now that we’re back and have covered the likes of Cam Akers, Zack Moss and Ke’Shawn Vaughn in this series, we might as well stay in the backfield and cover another interesting runningback prospect.
Antonio Gibson was taken in the third round (pick #66) by Washington. Gibson was obviously a player the team had their eyes on with using a relatively high draft capital to go out and bring him in.
At first, I was passing him off, not really interested in what Gibson has to offer in the very crowded Washington backfield. However, after doing the leg-work for this article, I’ve soon fallen in love with the guy and am looking to scoop up as many shares of him in dynasty as I can.
Let’s kick it off with what he did in his time in Memphis. During his senior year, he stood out as a true pass-catching back who still could get it done on the ground.
He totaled 38 receptions for 735 yards, averaging a staggering 19.3 yards-per-reception. On top of that, he ran the ball 33 times for 369 yards, averaging 11.2 yards-per-carry. He totaled 1,104 yards from scrimmage during his senior campaign and added 12 touchdowns.
Now, he was listed as a wide receiver in college, but at 6-foot and 228-pounds, we can assume he’ll be more of a receiving threat out of the backfield who too can play out of the slot in situations. Someone that you’ll want to target in PPR dynasty leagues.
Although he is not built like Chris Thompson, Thompson served as Washington’s main receiving back from 2015 through last season. Across those five seasons using 16-game averages, as he missed several games with injury, Thompson averaged 67 rushing attempts, 316 yards on 4.8 yards-per-carry. He also averaged 76 targets, 56 receptions and 488 yards.
This does not fully translate as Washington is now under a new head-coach in Ron Rivera, but let’s not forget that under Ron Riveria, Christan McCaffrey has turned into one of the greatest pass catching backs that this league has ever seen.
Now I’m not saying that Gibson is anywhere near the talent level of a CMC, but Rivera, along with former Panthers’ assistant and son of former Panthers’ Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner, Scott Turner as Washington’s Offensive Coordinator, we can assume that these pass catching backs will be schemed in heavily. This also goes into part with Dwayne Haskins’ accuracy struggles and development.
Christian McCaffrey has seen at least 113 targets in each of his three years in the league.
Now, much of the complaint towards Gibson is how crowded the Washington backfield is at face value.
If we are to assume Gibson is to get reps as the main pass catching back, Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice will split time ahead of him. Last season, during the two games that the three players (Peterson, Guice and Thompson) all played at the same time, Peterson played 40-percent of offensive snaps, Thompson played 38-percent and Guice played 22-percent.
Between 2018 and 2019, Peterson’s 16-game averages took a pretty big hit as he is getting up there in age, as he’ll be 35 for the upcoming season.
Between 2018 and 2019, his attempts dropped 11.4-percent, yards 8.1-percent and touchdowns 29.6-percent. If we use those same averages, he’d free up 26 attempts, 78 yards and 1.5 touchdowns from a season ago. He’s also in the final year of his contract.
Derrius Guice is the assumed predecessor to take over for Peterson, but since entering the NFL, he’s torn his ACL, torn his meniscus and sprained his MCL. He’s missed a total of 27 of 32 games thus far in his career.
Washington also rosters Bryce Love, but he has had two torn ACL’s before entering the NFL. It’s safe to assume his NFL career won’t be long and lavish.
Beyond that, Washington has Peyton Barber, who averaged 3.1 yards per carry a season ago in Tampa Bay and J.D. McKissic, who is a spot filling receiving back at best.
Moving on to a more statistical approach, using Thompson as a placeholder, during the weeks that Dwayne Haskins started for Washington, he carried the ball on 12-percent of all rushing attempts. More importantly, he received 77-percent of all running-back targets from Haskins.
Across a 16-game average, Haskins would have thrown to his running-backs 88 times, which is not a whole lot, but that would have given Thompson 68 targets, which would have been a career high.
If we did the same for rushing, under Haskins, Washington would have run the ball 368 times, giving Thompson 44 carries.
Let’s just use Thompson’s averages from last season to get some form of statistical breakdown for Gibson.
At 68 targets, Thompson would have caught 49 of them. He averaged nine-yards-per-reception, putting his yardage at 441 yards. At 44 rushing attempts at 3.7 yards-per-carry, he would have finished with 162.8. Let’s give him a total of four touchdowns for this example.
This statline would have put him at 133.4 fantasy points for 2019, good enough for RB40 in 2019. Gibson currently being drafted outside of the top 55 running-backs in dynasty and is averaging being the 3.06 in most 12-man dynasty league rookie drafts.
Additionally, if your league offers punt or kick return points, Gibson returned 23 punts last year for 645 yards, averaging 28 yards-per-return at Memphis/
In today's NFL where the receiving back is more valuable than ever, Gibson is a steal at his current draft value.
I'm not saying he can be Washington's Christian McCaffrey, but I'm saying he's going to be Washington's Christian McCaffrey.