• Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Dan Quinn: Washington Commanders New Head Coach: 3 Fantasy Impacts

The changes don't stop for the Washington Commanders. They have new owners and with that came a change at the head coaching position. Out is Ron Rivera and in a somewhat shocking move they did not promote Eric Beienemy but instead hired Dan Quinn. What will the former Atlanta Falcons coach bring to the nation's capital and the franchise looking to form their identity? What will it mean for the fantasy assets we all have on our rosters?

 

The Quarterbacks

The biggest question the Commanders have to answer is who will be under center Week 1. Sam Howell played well in his second professional season but first as a starter. He was benched late in the year by the old regime once it seemed the season was lost in Week 15 but injuries pushed him back into the starting role. The Commanders hold the second overall pick in the upcoming draft so there is a ton of smoke that they will be selecting a quarterback and maybe even moving up to secure the hometown hero Caleb Williams.

 

If the Commanders decide to keep Howell, an option I think is unlikely, I’m selling him. The Commanders in 2023 threw the ball more often than anyone else and Howell had more attempts than anyone else despite not playing two full games. Howell is young enough that another team could take a shot on him but the Supply and Demand for quarterbacks this and next offseason doesn't present a ton of opportunities. I’m selling right now for a late 2nd if I can get it.

 

When the Commanders draft a quarterback early in the draft they will instantly be considered on the other top rookies for dynasty drafts. The issue I have is what type of offense will Dan Quinn implement. Taking a look back at his previous head coaching stop in Atlanta we can gain an insight. During Dan Quinn's time there the Falcons had the most success when they were a balanced offense. During the first three years of his tenure there, they never threw the ball more than 60% of the time and never higher than 14th in the league in pass play percentage. They had a combined record of 29-19 and a trip to the Super Bowl. In the last two and a half years under Dan Quinn, the Falcons were always top 10 in the league in passing percent and never dipped below 62%. The combined record was 14-23 and got Quinn let go five games into the 2020 season. Lets also not forget that Matt Ryan had an MVP season when passing wasn't the focal point.

 

So how does this impact a rookie signal caller? I would expect given the inexperience and the past success he had with a more run-first team Dan Quinn will try to limit the attempts of his field general and be more run-heavy. For fantasy volume is king. You don't have to look far to see that. Sam Howell finished as QB12 despite having a lackluster season. If I’m in my rookie drafts and have the option to draft that quarterback I might be looking to move back and acquire more picks and assets. If I do end up holding that quarterback I would see their selling price as an early 1st to those who don’t know and only buy him for an early 2nd. The disparity in price might make buying hard to do. 

 

Running Backs

If we believe that running the ball will be the first option for the Commander's offense under Dan Quinn then we want that piece. Brian Robinson jr had a down year. Despite playing in more games than the previous year. A year later he was coming back from being shot in the leg, he had fewer carries. His yards per carry did increase to a solid 4.12 and he had five touchdowns. He also saw an increase in targets in the passing game which adds more value for fantasy football. Antonio Gibson is a free agent so that should open up more work for Robinson. The Commanders have holes to fill especially in the trenches on both sides of the ball so drafting or signing a big name free agent rusher seems unlikely. I expect Robinson to have well over 200 carries in 2024 and still see 45+ targets. He is a solid buy right now as his value is down due to unknown and lack of national media attention. I’m buying him for anywhere up to the 2.03. He should easily return on that value and provide you with added value in trades down the road if needed.

 

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

The Washington Commanders got ahead of things and signed wide receiver Terry McLaurin to a contract extension. This sets up a very good wide receiver for whoever is throwing the ball. McLaurin had a letdown of a year. Despite seeing the second-most targets in his five seasons he had tied for the fewest touchdowns and had the fewest yards since his rookie season where he only played 14 games. Given that we don’t know who will be the quarterback for Dan Quinn and his offense but also that running will be more of a focal point I’m selling McLaurin. His value right now can net you an early second. I’m waiting till after the draft when the buzz around the new quarterback and the news of Dan Quinn fades. You will be able to get a mid to late first for him. 

 

Dan Quinn
LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 31: Terry McLaurin #17 of the Washington Commanders reacts against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of the game at FedExField on December 31, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

 

The Jahan Dotson train is either stalled out or completely derailed at this point. After a massively successful rookie season back in 2022, the 2023 campaign was less than. He failed to beat out Curtis Samuel for targets and at times snaps. I’m selling both right now if I can. Samuel is a free agent and 28 years old. He hasn't been a dominant wideout and is more of a gadget player who now doesn't have Ron Rivera stumping for him to be on the team. Dotson looks to be nothing more than a third wideout on the team. Dan Quinn and the commanders probably bring in someone to be the steady two and push Dotson to a part-time role. If you can get an early 3rd for him you should pull the trigger. 

 

The tight end position for the Commanders has never been a solid fantasy option. Logan Thomas has played well enough to keep the likes of Cole Turner and John Bates from getting a shot. Thomas is now 33 years old and the Commanders can save $7 million by letting him go with only a $1.75 dead cap hit. Dan Quinn and the Commanders will probably be looking to replace him in the lineup. It may be one of the men on the roster or it could be a free agent. Unless it's a bigger name I don’t see anyone having a ton of value. 

 

SUGGESTIONS

 

Sell the future rookie QB for an early 1st plus

Buy Brian Robinson for an early 2nd

Sell Terry McLaurin, Post-Draft for a late 1st