Curtis Samuel is coming off a career season where he finished with 1,051 scrimmage yards (851 receiving, 200 rushing). Despite seeing fewer targets in 2020 than in 2019, he upped his production by converting more of his targets into receptions, setting a career-high with 77 catches. This offseason he joined Washington where he’ll reunite with OC Scott Turner and HC Ron Rivera. He gets an upgrade at quarterback, going from Teddy Bridgewater to Ryan Fitzpatrick. We’d expect Washington to continue to use Samuel as an offensive weapon, giving him carries in addition to receptions, which will boost his floor.
Samuel reuniting with Turner and Rivera may actually not be great as the receiver’s numbers were worse when being in that offense. Samuel had a 51.4 catch percentage in 2019, and that jumped to 79.4% in 2020 as he was used in a more efficient way in Joe Brady’s system. Plus, Washington has other playmakers in Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic who can eat up those shorter passes that Samuel excelled at in his 2020 role, which led to his breakout season. Samuel also began training camp on the physically unable to perform list AND the COVID-19/Reserve list. So he’ll be off to a slower start in his new environment.
2021 Bottom Line
Expect a much different role for Samuel in 2021 than we saw in 2020. Last year Samuel saw a lot of volume, finishing with 118 total touches which ranked second among all wideouts behind only Stefon Diggs. We’d expect him to be used more as a deep threat in Washington, which would pair well with Fitzpatrick’s deep throw accuracy, but will certainly affect Samuel in half or full PPR formats. We like Samuel as a strong WR3 this year and expect him to finish in the top 40 WRs.