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Fantasy Alert: Commanders Want to Find 'More Ways' to Use Antonio Gibson in Space

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 12, 2022

Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There will be major question marks regarding the Washington Commanders backfield once Brian Robinson is able to return to the field, namely for fantasy players. The rookie appeared to be the favorite to earn the starting job ahead of Antonio Gibson before he was shot multiple times in August in an attempted robbery against him.

But Gibson may retain fantasy value even upon Robinson's return. Head coach Ron Rivera told reporters Monday he wants to find ways to utilize him in space:

John Keim @john_keim

Rivera said when Brian Robinson returns, they'd like to find more ways to use Antonio Gibson in space. Was highly effective running routes out of the backfield Sunday

Gibson had an excellent season debut against the Jacksonville Jaguars, rushing 14 times for 58 yards while adding seven receptions for 72 yards on eight targets.

Grant Paulsen @granthpaulsen

Really strong game for Antonio Gibson after losing his job and getting a chance yesterday.<br><br>🏈 14 rushes, 58 yds<br>🏈 7 catches, 72 yds<br>🏈 48 yds after contact (3.43 per)<br>🏈 Forced 4 misses tckls<br>🏈 12 rush yds over expected<br>🏈 Ran vs 8 man fronts 43% of time, 4th most in NFL.

Dave Kluge @DaveKluge

Antonio Gibson's <a href="https://twitter.com/PFF?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PFF</a> receiving grade (85.6) ranked best among all running backs in Week 1.

Chris Towers Is In Training Camp @CTowersCBS

Antonio Gibson finally got the passing game usage we've wanted basically his whole career. Led all non-WRs in routes run, had multiple down-field targets, super productive ... that was really impressive.

It was the most single-game targets of his career, tied his previous mark for the most receptions in a game and was the third-most receiving yards he's ever accumulated in a contest.

And it wasn't all on dump-downs out of the backfield, either—Gibson had some impressive nabs:

NFL @NFL

.<a href="https://twitter.com/cj_wentz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cj_wentz</a> to <a href="https://twitter.com/AntonioGibson14?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AntonioGibson14</a> to enter the REDZONE! 🚨<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JAXvsWAS?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#JAXvsWAS</a> on FOX<br>📱: Stream on NFL+ <a href="https://t.co/mY4ew2vyFN">https://t.co/mY4ew2vyFN</a> <a href="https://t.co/MrOk3ly3eM">pic.twitter.com/MrOk3ly3eM</a>

Traditionally, Gibson has been more of a between-the-tackles runner for the Commanders in his three-year career. As a rookie, he had 36 catches for 247 yards on 44 targets. Last season, he bumped it up slightly to 42 catches for 294 yards and three scores.

That limited role was always a bigger surprise than Gibson's strong receiving day was Sunday in the team's 28-22 home victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was a wide receiver in college, after all.

If Washington is indeed serious about giving him more looks as a receiver—and it should be—it could keep him fantasy-relevant upon Robinson's return. Backfield committees are always tricky for fantasy players to navigate, but committees with defined roles make it a bit easier to project upside going forward.

Gibson proved he could be effective as a receiving weapon out of the backfield on Sunday. He'll remain a high-end flex pick until Robinson's return, and if his receiving role remains intact, he should offer you a decent flex option the rest of the way, especially come the bye weeks.

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