Depth Chart Battle: Jahan Dotson vs. Curtis Samuel (Fantasy Football)
Washington has been a bit of a wasteland for fantasy production outside of Terry McLaurin during the Ron Rivera era in DC. However, with (sadly) their best quarterback in Carson Wentz and more depth at the wide receiver position, is it possible we could be looking at a viable second option in the receiver room?
Jahan Dotson (Underdog ADP 137.6, WR 63)
The case for Dotson largely rests on draft capital and the way coaches in Washington have been discussing their first-round receiver ever since draft day.
From Scott Turner after OTA’s:
"He's done a nice job. He came in, it looks like it's not too big for him. He's playing fast. He's consistently getting separation, he's catching the ball. He doesn't say a lot. He just kind of comes out here and works, which is good, you know? I think the guys, the guys like him, Carson, I know quarterbacks like throwing the ball to him. So just continue to have him work and get better. And there's a lot of different things we'll be able to do with him."
And from Ron Rivera this week at training camp:
“It is rare. I mean, you have to have special ability, probably one of the really, really good guys at it. I was fortunate enough to watch Steve Smith. You know, I mean, that guy has got, you know, he played bigger than his size and he played above the rim. And when you watch Jahan, he does play bigger than his size, which is great. I mean, you want people underestimating his ability because he has potential to make plays.”
There was speculation that the Commanders had Dotson as high as second in their receiver rankings for this draft class. All of this adds up to the Commanders brass having a ton of faith in their top draft pick. He, along with McLaurin, has a knack for making contested catches which will come in handy playing with Carson Wentz.
Per SportsInfoSolutions, Wentz was 23rd out of 25 quarterbacks with over 400 passing attempts in on-target percentage in 2021 (72.7%) and was 22nd out of 22 quarterbacks in 2020 (70.7%). In fact, Wentz has had two of the bottom-six seasons in on-target rate since 2019. So accuracy will be an issue, but Dotson does have the ability to make plays in the air.
While the hit rate on receivers under 180 pounds isn’t great, his comparables do match up pretty well to other receivers with similar size, breakout age, receiving market share, and more in college.
|Player||Team||Year||Age||Power5||Weight||Forty||Breakout Age||Draft Position||Dominator Rating||Rec Yards Market Share||Projection||Proj. Percentile||Actual|
|Deebo Samuel||South Carolina||2019||22.9||1||214||4.48||21.9||36||0.29||0.29||9.3||76||15.8|
|Tyler Lockett||Kansas State||2015||22.2||1||182||4.40||21.2||69||0.38||0.36||9.3||76||8.8|
|HYPOTHETICAL||BIG STATE UNIVERSITY||2022||21.7||1||178||4.43||20.7||16||0.30||0.28||9.3||76|
|Will Fuller V||Notre Dame||2016||21.7||1||186||4.32||20.7||21||0.37||0.30||9.2||75||11.2|
|DeVier Posey||Ohio State||2012||22.9||1||211||4.39||20.9||68||0.29||0.30||9.1||74||2.1|
|Kenny Golladay||Northern Illinois||2017||23.1||0||218||4.50||22.1||96||0.38||0.39||9.1||74||13.1|
|Tavon Austin||West Virginia||2013||21.8||1||174||4.34||19.8||8||0.25||0.24||9.1||74||9.8|
Comps courtesy of RotoViz
Curtis Samuel (Underdog ADP 197.7, WR 86)
Samuel’s case largely rests on how much he’s being paid and how little he costs while ignoring how upset Ron Rivera gets when he is asked about him. I’ll post the transcript of his presser this week discussing Samuel, but I’m not sure the tone comes across. After missing most of last season and missing most of the voluntary work and minicamps this summer, he was working on the side for most of training camp before practicing earlier this week. Rivera seems… not thrilled.
“Okay, the biggest thing again, just so everybody understands. I talked about this last time I was asked about Curtis we’re ramping Curtis up; we’re ramping Curtis down. It’s all about conditioning him to play football more so than anything else and I think that’s the biggest thing everybody has to understand is that Curtis, you know, didn’t play a lot last year and what we’ve started to do is we’re just trying to ramp him up, get him into football, shaped football conditioning, and then slow it back down, bring him back up. Our ideal plan for him is just to continue with that, get him ready to play the regular season this has nothing to do with last year’s injury. This is all about how we’re gonna maintain him to get him prep prepared and ready to go.”
Rivera stopped short of saying Samuel was on a pitch count but added:
“Not a pitch count, but it’s about, you know, getting as much of the peak performance at him as we can. Okay and then bring it back down and then condition him up again. So again, it’s something that, you know, in talking with Al [Bellamy] and talking with the doctor about the best way to handle his ramp up.”
It isn't great that we’re already talking pitch count even if we aren’t calling it that. Ramping him up and ramping him down and the current injury not being related to the injury that cost him most of last year all seems not ideal.
Surely there have to be some positive reasons to draft him and think he’s Washington’s WR2.
Per SIS, in the four games Samuel had with Scott Turner calling plays in Carolina in 2019, Samuel had the highest number of routes run (158) and the highest number of intended air yards (288) on the team. Samuel also had nine of his 19 carries in the 2019 season in the final four games. Turner used Samuel all over the field at the end of 2019, both as a gadget player and as a deep threat. The quarterback play was atrocious so looking at his per-play data won’t flatter him, but the creativity in the usage is something we should see carry over to 2022.
Who Should You Draft?
Sure, it will need to be done five rounds earlier, but Jahan Dotson would be the pick for Washington’s WR2. He doesn’t profile as an elite receiver, but he does profile as a pretty good one even if he was over-drafted based on the consensus big board. But Dotson should be the pick when considering his draft capital, how his coaches talk about him, his health early in camp, and his ability to fit with Carson Wentz. Kudos to those who got Dotson earlier in the off-season when these ADPs were flipped. Washington’s WR2 hasn’t historically been a goldmine for fantasy, but with Logan Thomas slow to get back and Wentz’s ability to push the ball down the field, there’s a better chance in 2022 that Washington’s WR2 pays off a modest ADP like Dotson.