If it weren't already apparent before Saturday's preseason game, Washington Commanders running back Antonio Gibson essentially solidified his place on the do-not-draft list for fantasy football in 2022.
Gibson was on special teams to field the opening kickoff against the Kansas City Chiefs. Rookie Brian Robinson was on the field for the first drive of the game with the first-team offense.
Head coach Ron Rivera used his starting offense for the Commanders' first three possessions. Robinson had eight carries for 31 yards. Gibson lost one yard on his only carry on those drives.
Al Galdi @AlGaldi
Six of Brian Robinson Jr.'s eight carries at the Chiefs each resulted in either a run of at least five yards or a first down. He's physical, runs and falls forward and doesn't fumble. Add in what's happening with Antonio Gibson, and Robinson clearly is the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Commanders?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Commanders</a>' new RB1.
If you're trying to find any reason to select Gibson in your fantasy league, Rivera did use him as the third-down back on the team's first two possessions.
Of course, Gibson wasn't targeted on either of those plays. He could end up being used in a blocking role on obvious passing downs, based on this small sample size.
There were some hints of how Gibson can be a meaningful contributor to the Commanders this season. He did have a team-high four targets, three receptions and 37 yards in the first half against the Chiefs.
Big pickup through the air for <a href="https://twitter.com/AntonioGibson14?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AntonioGibson14</a>. 😤<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WASvsKC?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WASvsKC</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a><br>📱: Stream on NFL+ <a href="https://t.co/tpy3uNZRe7">https://t.co/tpy3uNZRe7</a> <a href="https://t.co/i2fhbc9otM">pic.twitter.com/i2fhbc9otM</a>
But the vibes around Gibson have been so bad throughout training camp and the preseason. The 24-year-old led all non-quarterbacks with six fumbles and four fumbles lost in 2021.
In Washington's preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers on Aug. 13, Gibson lost a fumble on his second carry of the game.
"Antonio's got to run harder," Rivera told reporters after the Commanders' 23-21 loss. "When he starts to shuffle and go sideways, that's when he struggles."
It's hard to completely dismiss Gibson as a fantasy option because he has had more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage in each of his first two seasons. The University of Memphis alum has 21 total touchdowns during that span.
Per FantasyPros, Gibson is still being drafted as RB20, sandwiched between Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders and Travis Etienne of the Jacksonville Jaguars. His current average draft position of 42.3 suggests he is a high-level starter in a 12-team league. Nothing about his usage this preseason suggests that will be the case.
Robinson's average draft position of 157.7 is almost certain to change based on how he was used in this game. He was a third-round pick by the Commanders in April's draft and appears to have the inside track to be their primary ball-carrier when the regular season begins. The Alabama alum is a much safer bet to be a fantasy producer than Gibson in 2022.