The Washington Commanders enter the 2023 season with a brand new look at the most important position as it relates to Fantasy Football. After moving on from Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke, the Commanders will turn the job over to second-year player and former fifth-round draft pick Sam Howell. Lurking behind him is Jacoby Brissett. How these quarterbacks perform and the rapport they develop with their wideouts will go a long way in determining the Fantasy values of the Commanders' wide receiver corps. It will also go a long way in telling us if we can trust the running backs in this offense.

Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Commanders' entire team outlook, including a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, key player projections, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for notable Commanders players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.

Commanders 2023 team outlook

By Chris Towers

The Commanders learned last season what the Colts and Eagles learned before them: Carson Wentz ain't it. Rather than try another retread, they're giving 2022 fifth-rounder Sam Howell a spin, with the hopes he can either develop into a starter or leave them positioned to take a QB early in next year's draft.

Burning question: Can Howell be good enough?

There's plenty of talent here: The running back room isn't elite, but they complement each other well, and there's significant playmaking chops in the wide receiver group especially. Poor QB play has held this offense back over the past few years, but it's a pretty solid landing spot for a QB if Howell can just be decent -- especially with Howell's underrated rushing ability. He's not a burner, but he was a productive runner in college and could be a decent streaming QB if things fall the right way. 

Commanders player projections

QBSam HowellPA: 560, YD: 3809, TD: 21, INT: 17; RUSH -- ATT: 76, YD: 304, TD: 2
RB Brian Robinson Jr.CAR: 266, YD: 1064, TD: 7; TAR: 22, REC: 18, YD: 126, TD: 1
RB Antonio GibsonCAR: 139, YD: 557, TD: 4; TAR: 56, REC: 45, YD: 323, TD: 2
WR Terry McLaurinTAR: 129, REC: 80, YD: 1118, TD: 6
WR Jahan DotsonTAR: 118, REC: 68, YD: 853, TD: 6
WR Curtis SamuelTAR: 84, REC: 58, YD: 575, TD: 3
TE Logan ThomasTAR: 67, REC: 40, YD: 403, TD: 3

2023 NFL Draft class

1. (16) Emmanuel Forbes, CB
2. (47) Jartavius Martin, DB
3. (97) Ricky Stromberg, OL
4. (118) Braeden Daniels, OL
5. (137) K.J. Henry, DE
6. (193) Chris Rodriguez, RB
7. (233) Andre Jones, DE

Strength of Schedule rankings by Dave Richard

  • QB PSoS: 27th easiest
  • RB PSoS: 28th easiest
  • WR PSoS: 27th easiest
  • TE PSoS: 27th easiest
1Sep 10, 2023vsArizona 1:00 pmFOXFedEx Field
2Sep 17, 2023@Denver 4:25 pm
Empower Field at Mile High
3Sep 24, 2023vsBuffalo 1:00 pm
FedEx Field
4Oct 1, 2023@Philadelphia 1:00 pmFOXLincoln Financial Field
5Oct 5, 2023vsChicago 8:15 pmAMZNFedEx Field
6Oct 15, 2023@Atlanta 1:00 pm
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
7Oct 22, 2023@N.Y. Giants 1:00 pm
MetLife Stadium
8Oct 29, 2023vsPhiladelphia 1:00 pmFOXFedEx Field
9Nov 5, 2023@New England 1:00 pmFOXGillette Stadium
10Nov 12, 2023@Seattle 4:25 pmFOXLumen Field
11Nov 19, 2023vsN.Y. Giants 1:00 pmFOXFedEx Field
12Nov 23, 2023@Dallas 4:30 pm
AT&T Stadium
13Dec 3, 2023vsMiami 1:00 pmFOXFedEx Field
15Dec 17, 2023@L.A. Rams 4:05 pm
SoFi Stadium
16Dec 24, 2023@N.Y. Jets 1:00 pm
MetLife Stadium
17Dec 31, 2023vsSan Francisco 1:00 pmFOXFedEx Field
18Jan 7, 2024vsDallas TBAFedEx Field

Commanders 2023 player outlooks

By Jamey Eisenberg unless otherwise noted

QB Sam Howell

Howell will compete with Jacoby Brissett to be the No. 1 quarterback in Washington, and Howell would be worth drafting with a mid- to late-round pick in Superflex and two-quarterback leagues if he wins the job. 

Howell is not worth drafting in one-quarterback leagues, but he could be a waiver-wire addition during the season. He started Week 18 for the Commanders in 2022 and scored 19 Fantasy points with 169 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception, along with 35 rushing yards and a touchdown. Howell could be a surprise rushing quarterback since he ran for 828 yards and 11 touchdowns at North Carolina in 2021, and that would make him appealing for Fantasy. He also has solid weapons in Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel and Logan Thomas. 

We'll see what happens in training camp with Howell and Brissett, but Howell has more upside and hopefully wins the job in 2023.

QB Jacoby Brissett

By Dave Richard

Brissett has never been a quality Fantasy staple, and he's not promised the starting job in Washington, which is why he'll only find a Fantasy home in two-QB formats with a late-round pick. He admirably filled in for Cleveland through its first 11 games, averaging 17.5 Fantasy points per game with 20-plus points in four starts. If given the opportunity to play for the Commanders, his chances at some solid games stem from his penchant for throwing deep, which he did on 13% of his attempts in 2022. It's reasonable to target him late in multi-passer leagues and patiently wait for him to get his chance in D.C. if second-year thrower Sam Howell struggles.

RB Brian Robinson

Robinson is expected to be the No. 1 running back in Washington, and he's worth drafting as a No. 3 Fantasy running back/flex with a mid-round pick. 

Robinson had a quality rookie campaign in 2022, especially after overcoming being the victim of a shooting prior to the start of the season. He missed the first four games, but he scored at least 10 PPR points in six of his final 11 outings. He'll compete with Antonio Gibson for playing time, but Robinson should lead the Commanders in carries, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns if he stays healthy. Where Robinson could struggle is the passing game, as he only had nine catches for 60 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets in his rookie campaign. Still, Robinson has the potential for 250 carries, and he could end up as a weekly Fantasy starter in all leagues based on his rushing prowess alone. 

Don't be surprised if Robinson ends up as a top 20 Fantasy running back in 2023.

RB Antonio Gibson

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.

WR Terry McLaurin

McLaurin closed the 2022 campaign on a high note, and hopefully that carries over to this season. 

He's worth drafting as a low-end No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues as early as Round 4. Last season, McLaurin scored at least 13 PPR points in four of his final five games. The last outing of that stretch in Week 18 against Dallas was with Sam Howell making his first NFL start, and Howell targeted McLaurin six times for three catches, 74 yards and a touchdown. We'll see how the two connect over a full season, and McLaurin has to contend with second-year receiver Jahan Dotson competing for targets. There's still the chance McLaurin can be a top-15 Fantasy option in all leagues, but we'll be a little conservative with our projection given the limited sample size with Howell. And Howell also has to prove he's better than Jacoby Brissett in training camp.

But McLaurin is a definite starter in three-receiver leagues and should hopefully start in all formats in 2023.

WR Jahan Dotson

Dotson quietly had a standout rookie campaign in 2022, and hopefully that carries over to his sophomore season in 2023. 

He's worth drafting as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in all leagues as early as Round 6. Dotson played in 12 games in his rookie season and scored seven touchdowns. He had six games with at least 13 PPR points. In his lone start with Sam Howell in Week 18 against Dallas, Dotson had four targets for three catches and 72 yards. Hopefully, Howell and Dotson continue to connect on a high level this year, and Dotson should be considered the 1A receiver in Washington behind Terry McLaurin. The two will hopefully coexist and produce plenty of standout stats, and Dotson might even outperform the veteran if Howell leans toward the younger receiver. 

Dotson has breakout potential in 2023, and he could emerge as a weekly starter in all leagues.

WR Curtis Samuel

Samuel got off to a hot start in 2022, but he cooled off down the stretch. 

This season, Samuel has minimal Fantasy value coming into the season, and he's only worth drafting with a late-round pick in all leagues. Last year, Samuel scored at least 12 PPR points in six of his first nine games, but he was at nine PPR points or less in six of his final eight outings. And in his lone start with Sam Howell in Week 18 against Dallas, Samuel had one catch for minus-2 yards on one target. There is a chance Samuel could be a gadget weapon for new offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, but that doesn't mean Samuel will post consistent production. 

The best-case scenario for Samuel is he starts off playing well like he did in 2022, and then you can add him off the waiver wire.

TE Logan Thomas

Thomas will again be the starting tight end for the Commanders to open the season, but he has minimal Fantasy value in that role.

Thomas is not worth drafting in the majority of Fantasy leagues. He was a breakout tight end in 2020 when he averaged 11.0 PPR points per game. But injuries and inconsistent play have been a problem the past two seasons, and he only averaged 5.5 PPR points per game in 2022. We'll see how he does this year with new quarterback Sam Howell or Jacoby Brissett, but if Thomas starts off the season playing well, just add him off the waiver wire.

In tight end premium leagues, you can take a late-round flier on Thomas in deeper formats.

K Joey Slye

Slye will open the season as the starting kicker for the Commanders, but he should not be drafted in the majority of leagues. At best, you can add Slye off the waiver wire during the season. In 2022, Slye made 25 of 30 field goals, including four of six from 50 yards, and 24 of 28 PATs. He averaged 6.3 Fantasy points per game, which was the lowest of his career. If the Commanders offense can improve this season under new quarterback Sam Howell or Jacoby Brissett, Slye will hopefully benefit with more scoring chances. But let him prove himself first before using him in the majority of Fantasy leagues.

Commanders DST

The Commanders DST should be considered a No. 2 Fantasy option coming into the season, and the unit is not worth drafting in the majority of leagues. In 2022, the Commanders defense did a good job of limiting opponents from scoring, as Washington was one of 10 teams to allow fewer than 20 points per game (19.4). But the Commanders struggled in sacks (43), interceptions (nine) and fumble recoveries (nine). A healthy Chase Young should help the pass rush, and Washington committed to improving the secondary with rookie cornerbacks Emmanuel Forbes in the first round of the NFL Draft and Jartavius Martin in Round 2. At best, let the Commanders DST start off the season playing well, and then you can add it during the year.