Antonio Gibson hasn’t touched the football in live game action all that much over the last few years. In college, he was a hybrid running back/receiver. In his two years at Memphis, he had 44 receptions and 33 rushing attempts and still was drafted in the third round by the Washington Football Team. That’s because he turned those 77 touches into 1,203 yards and 14 touchdowns. He averaged 19.3 yards per reception and 11.2 yards per rushing attempt.
Now, with Adrian Peterson’s release, Gibson is in line to see more touches in the first half of his rookie season than he had in his college career. Washington’s backfield consists of Peyton Barber, Bryce Love and J.D. McKissic, all of which who have had good camps. So there is plenty of competition for Gibson, but Peterson’s parting words to Josina Anderson about the team give us hope for Gibson’s workload.
Rivera just said this is always tough, but yes we’re gonna release you & go with this offensive style. I respect coach. Look (Antonio) Gibson is a hell of a talent. This system really fits him. I feel like I can do that pony style too, more as a receiving back. We were all working on it, but they really want one main guy to do it & they drafted Gibson for it.
Coach Ron Rivera is coming from an offense that used the versatile Christian McCaffrey as a high volume receiver and runner, and when they drafted Gibson, that kind of versatility was what they were hoping for. It seems like they’ve found enough in Gibson to give him a shot early on.
Gibson isn’t McCaffrey, but he could be. It’s a long leap from his 77 touches in college to a McCaffrey-like NFL career, but sometimes it just takes opportunity and Gibson should find it this season. Bryce Love is the other upside back in their backfield, while Barber and McKissic aren’t players Washington wants to build around if they can help it.
In fantasy, Gibson is a high risk, high reward pick and should move up on all of your draft boards, especially in PPR leagues. We could see Barber get some of those between the tackles looks while Gibson gets rolling, but it makes sense to go all in on the rookie and see what he’s got in a season where the team has little hope of making the playoffs.