Washington Football Team strikes again! Shortly after bringing in Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead the huddle, Ron Rivera and GM Martin Mayhew sign one of the most dynamic playmakers on the open market, wide receiver Curtis Samuel. So how does this latest signing affect the fantasy football climate?
Coming off his most productive season in the league (over 1,000 all-purpose yards), Samuel’s versatility in both the pass and run game should bolster the Washington attack. Terry McLaurin and Samuel were even teammates together at Ohio State, so the two star weapons should have no trouble getting acclimated to one another on the field.
Excuse me did I say teammates? I meant roommates! Scary Terry is all for this acquisition, and I do believe it will help him fantasy-wise, but this signing may not be good for everyone involved. Let’s take a deeper look at the situation in Washington.
Fantasy Impact of Samuel
In my article earlier this week (linked in the first sentence of this piece), we discussed the players that may be positively impacted by the Fitzpatrick signing. Those names were McLaurin, Logan Thomas, Cam Sims and the Washington D/ST. The Fitz signing didn’t negatively impact any WFT players in my opinion (only a few Miami Dolphins), but this move is a bit different.
And so we begin, TARGET or FADE…
TARGET- Ryan Fitzpatrick
I know, the dynasty guys are probably thinking, “it’s called buy or sell dummy,” but I’m more of a redraft guy personally so I’ll stick to my own version of the concept. There is no possible way this move can be bad for the (current) starting quarterback. It’s another weapon for this offense, and a player with tools that few others in the NFL have.
There was no playmaker like Samuel on the Miami Dolphins last year, and that could pay huge dividends for Fitzmagic. As I mentioned in his article, I see Fitz as a matchup streamer in most standard leagues, but a sleeper-type backup QB in deeper formats (or as a one-year mercenary in dynasty). In an ESPN six-point passing TD format, Fitzpatrick had 19.88 fantasy points per games started in 2020.
FADE- J.D. McKissic
This move shouldn’t hurt Antonio Gibson, I mean it never hurt Christian McCaffrey when Samuel was on the roster, but J.D. McKissic is another story. There are only so many targets to go around, and Fitzpatrick already has a history throwing the ball to his top receivers and tight ends (more than his running backs anyway).
Samuel had 97 targets and 118 total touches in 2020 as a WR/gadget-back. That means McKissic’s 80 receptions off 110 targets will be difficult to emulate in 2021.
TARGET- Terry McLaurin
I won’t go too in-depth on McLaurin, but you still want him. Fitz is known for forcing the ball to his WR1 more often than not throughout his career, and Samuel’s presence on the field should push more teams into using single-coverage on Terry. Besides, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker once had career years together for the New York Jets with Fitzpatrick under center, McLaurin and Samuel may do the same.
FADE- Cam Sims/Kelvin Harmon
Just days after I list Cam Sims as a possible sleeper, his value depreciates again with Samuel joining the squad. To be fair, these two play completely opposite roles, but I’m not sure how much Washington will throw the ball to begin with. Adding a receiver that demands as much usage as Samuel does can’t really be a pro for WFT’s third and fourth options. That goes for Kelvin Harmon, Antonio Gandy-Golden, and the rest of this wide receiver room too.
I will say, based on Fitzpatrick’s deep ball accuracy (second ranked, 2020) and play-action completion percentage (fourth ranked, 2020), Sims still holds the most value as of now. This move just downgrades him to a watch list candidate, rather than a person I might have drafted late in a deep format.
TARGET- Washington D/ST
I was dipping my toes in the water on Washington’s D/ST earlier this week, but now I’m ready to dive in head-first. For starters, if you weren’t watching last season or even the year before, this defense is insanely talented. With Rivera’s system now in place and a front four of Chase Young, Da’Ron Payne, Jonathan Allen and Montez Sweat continuing to develop (didn’t even mention veterans Ryan Kerrigan or Matt Ioannidis), this unit is legitimately TERRIFYING for opposing quarterbacks. I also love the free agent pickup of William Jackson III to play corner alongside Kendall Fuller.
How is any of this related to Curtis Samuel? The main issue for WFT’s defense in recent years has been the offense and it’s lack of consistency (27th ranked first down percentage in 2020). The more this offense moves the ball behind Fitz, Samuel and company, the easier things are for this young, flourishing defense.
FADE- Teddy Bridgewater
Supposedly the Carolina Panthers are ALL-IN on Deshaun Watson, so this fade is for multiple reasons, but losing Samuel doesn’t help. His style of play teamed perfectly with Teddy Bridgewater’s short passing-game style. Bridgewater was one of my favorite QB streamers last year, but thing’s change quickly in the NFL. Even with CMC back, even if Teddy B keeps his job, and even with Joe Brady calling the plays, this one hurts for the Panthers current quarterback.
TARGET- D.J. Moore/Robby Anderson
I mentioned it in my post-franchise tag fantasy WR market piece, but Samuel leaving has to skyrocket the value of D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson. Moore especially was hit-or-miss in 2020, with 10-plus targets in only five games last season. Since he’s more involved in the short-game than Anderson, Moore’s style should benefit most from a Samuel departure. The two traded monster fantasy outings more often than not when they were teammates, and D.J. is already projected for 20 more catches in 2021 (off 25 more targets). A Watson acquisition might tear the cover off this forecast, but even with Bridgewater these two should be due for a bump in 2021.
So while the overall impact of Curtis Samuel to Washington should be incredible for the “Football Team,” the fantasy impact may not be as tremendous for a couple of his new teammates. Follow along with King Fantasy Sports all offseason as we report on the latest free agent signings and trades, which you can track using our updated 2021 Offseason Tracker. And remember, you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram if you want to connect with us. Feel free to slide into those DMs if you need advice on anything fantasy football related!
Image Credit: Denny Medley – USA TODAY Sports