If you went into the new year thinking that Antonio Gibson had locked down the clear No. 1 running back role for the Washington Commanders, you were probably a little surprised when the team used a third-round pick on Alabama’s Brian Robinson. Now, with the regular season right around the corner, we could be on the verge of a shift in Washington.
Update — Robinson was the victim of an attempted carjacking on Sunday and is in stable condition after suffering multiple gun shot wounds, per multiple reports. This will likely impact his status for the start of the season. Gibson was already going to be the starting running back. McKissic is dealing with injury as well.
Robinson’s been starting in Washington’s backfield for the team’s first two preseason games. Gibson’s been struggling with fumbles and other issues, even being relegated to practice with the third string at one point during training camp. Perhaps most telling was head coach Ron Rivera’s statement that he intends to make Gibson their primary kick returner, which is not usually a role for No. 1 running backs.
Through two preseason games, there was still now acknowledgement from the team as to which player would be the starter. But it seems like the writing’s on the wall for Gibson.
Fantasy football implications
The lack of clarity is going to make for some tough decisions in fantasy football drafts. Both players are likely to see work, though the rookie, Robinson, certainly has a lot more upside and momentum heading into the season. Gibson could still be an asset in the passing game, even with a reduced role as a rusher.
They’re both worth a roster spot at this point, but we may have to wait through a couple of games before getting some clarity.
Robinson’s having a solid preseason, totaling 57 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries through the first two exhibition contests. He’s caught two passes for 15 yards. Gibson has just five yards, but has caught four passes for 39 yards.