Heading into this NFL season, Antonio Gibson was being drafted as a fringe RB1 or a very solid RB2. Coming into his second season after being drafted from Memphis as the 66th overall pick in the 3rd round by Washington, he has held up his billing as dynamic. Yet, the start has been slow. Currently, in PPR leagues, he is RB30. Here I will briefly look at the fantasy outlook for the remainder of the season.
Antonio Gibson injury issues
As with most versatile position players, injury issues are ever-present. Gibson, in his short time in the NFL, is demonstrating those same issues. The toe injury he suffered in week 13 against the Steelers simply destroyed many fantasy playoff-bound teams. The injury left him out of weeks 14-15. After he came back for the final two weeks it was nothing to get excited about. The toe injury is of the past but, he is now dealing with a lingering shoulder problem he got before the season started. To me, this seems more like media talk as opposed to an actual impediment.
Why Gibson’s slow start
After watching every snap of both games this season I do not think the shoulder injury is affecting much at all. Gibson is running hard while offering exceptional shiftiness for a 6’2” 220 pound RB. Against the Chargers Gibson was getting the workload and producing with it. 23 touches with 108 total yards. Forfeiting 2 fumbles, not characteristic of him, and not scoring a TD is what hurt his fantasy stats. Week 2, just four days later on TNF, Antonio Gibson was looking great again, when he got the ball. The Washington Football Team came out play-action and pass-happy. Come the second half the WR screen looked like an extension of their running game. Once again, as with all fantasy players, lack of TDs resulted in a less than preferred fantasy performance. Totalling 15 touches with 73 total yards is not an exciting box score either.
Where does Antonio Gibson go from here?
Writing this before a very tough matchup at Buffalo is not the ideal timing for claiming Antonio Gibson’s RB1 legitimacy. However, he is an extreme talent with the ball in his hands. On top of that, he has proven to get much better at pass blocking. The Washington offensive line has also greatly improved, even though Thursday night looked a bit shaky. After Buffalo though, the Football Team has a softer lineup of rush defenses for four weeks. Starting with the Falcons in Atlanta, then both New Orleans and Kansas City at home before heading to Green Bay. From what I have seen throughout his NFL career, even back in Memphis, Gibson is a true competitor and has the ability to be a game-changer. If someone in your fantasy league is feeling a bit on the fence about him do them a favor and push them off of it by taking him off of their hands. If you are not going to do that then at least have them read this article so they feel at ease. Antonio Gibson IS an RB1. Even with the 3 games missed last season, I say 3 cause he was injured on his first carry against Pittsburg, he ended the season as RB12. His snap count this year, currently 63%, is higher than the 50/50 split he was getting before his week 13 injury.
Start Antonio Gibson with confidence. His consistency can be frustrating sometimes. Yet, if you watch him play he is one of the most thrilling NFL players out there. He plays hard and is on a team that will be in more games than we would think because of their defense. For the remainder of the season, I would not be surprised if he finished in the Top 10 of RBs.
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