It’s all Antonio Gibson’s ($4,000 DK, $4,600 FD) fault. While it is not truly that simple, there are often two sides to each story. And Adrian Peterson’s release can be traced back to the emergence of Gibson so far this summer. But as we know it is far from a normal summer.
At the start of training camp the expectation was that Peterson was going to be the starter in Washington’s backfield. To say that the backfield was crowded would be an understatement as Bryce Love ($4,000 DK, $4,500 FD), Peyton Barber ($4,000 DK, $4,700 FD), and J.D. McKissic($4,000 DK, $4,500 FD) were also in the mix. All three of those players remain in addition to Gibson so despite the clarity we think we might have, there are more questions than answers to start the season.
Love has yet to play a down in the NFL after tearing his ACL and having follow up knee surgery in October so he is a complete unknown. That is not the case for Barber or McKissic but there also isn’t much to get excited about. Over the past two seasons Barber has averaged just 3.5 yards per carry and despite rushing for six touchdowns last year he gained just 470 yards on the ground. While McKissic does have ability as a receiving option out of the backfield he also has had issues staying healthy and finding a home. Each veteran will have a role with Washington in 2020 but at this point the level of that role is unknown. It likely won’t be too substantial based on their past history and even if it is you shouldn’t be expecting much in the way of fantasy impact.
For the fantasy impact, which after all is why we are all here, it’s Gibson that warrants a closer look. I mean that is what Washington is thinking as Gibson has done a good job of making his case so far this summer. The rookie has already spent substantial time working with the first team offense. After being selected in the third round out of Memphis in this past April’s draft Gibson has been making good use of both his talent and explosiveness. While the results do speak for themselves there is one glaring question to be asked. Where was Gibson prior to last year?
After transferring from community college, Gibson only touched the ball seven times two years ago with Memphis. Last season things were a little different and that led to him having a hand in forcing out a future Hall of Famer in Peterson. At 228 pounds and with a 4.39 time in the 40-yard dash it is clear that Gibson is a physically talented specimen and that was put to good use last season. Gibson carried the ball 33 times for 369 yards and four touchdowns while catching 38 passes for 735 yards and eight touchdowns. Clearly that is where Gibson’s talent lies but he has shown success as a ball carrier this summer. Again it is just in practice so there has to be some level of skepticism about it until the lights are on for real.
I really want to be optimistic about Gibson but feeling confident about him for the season is a lot different than committing to him in your Week One lineup. Just remember that there is no right answer here though. We can’t forget Gibson’s price as he could go down as a real bargain or a real disappointment. Starting Gibson at his price could allow you to fill the other running back spot on Draft Kings with Christian McCaffrey for $10,000 and end up with a backfield at an average price of $7,000. Now I’m not necessarily recommending that as your course of action, but there is some credence to that strategy.
We can’t dispute Gibson’s talent. But it is a crowded backfield and he is a rookie. He is an ascending stock but we might be a week or two on the early side. Again that is a chance and an educated guess you need to take, but as you get down to the $4,000 range, Gibson certainly is well worth a GPP play. Just know that there likely won’t be much of a middle ground on Gibson this week and we can expect that he will be highly owned.
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