Dynasty Dilemma – Jahan Dotson
Written by: Mike Lindberg
If we had seen a full 17 game rookie season from Jahan Dotson, we would be looking at him through the same dynasty lens as Chris Olave and Drake London. A hamstring injury forced Dotson out of 5 games last year making him a really intriguing player to me as the 2023 season kicked off. Dotson was on pace for 49 receptions for 740 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2022. All of this with some of the worst quarterback play in the league. With a heralded new offensive coordinator and a young talented quarterback that has a lot to prove, there is optimism that Jahan Dotson is primed for a 2nd year breakout. With Terry McLaurin still very much relevant, are there enough targets to go around in Washington to make Dotson a value in dynasty? Let’s dive in.
Reasons to Sell
Too many mouths to feed
There is a long list of Commander pass catchers excited about the quarterback change in Washington. Will there be enough targets to go around to feed all of these hungry hogs? Terry McLaurin, a top tier talent at wide receiver, plagued with sub par quarterback play his entire career. McLaurin is surely salivating at the thought of some accurate passes headed his direction until his contract expires in 2025. When healthy, you can pretty much pencil McLaurin in for a top 24 finish. With the upgrade at quarterback, many think McLaurin is set for his best season yet, pushing himself into the WR1 group. It would be a lot to ask of a second year quarterback, starting his first season to sustain 2 top 24 wide receivers. McLaurin, 28, still has a couple seasons left of good fantasy production, positioning himself for another top 24 finish in 2023 and beyond. To add to this, there is another player that is excited about the quarterback change and that’s Curtis Samuel. Samuel being a versatile weapon could be Bienemy’s switch knife, and could emerge with a role in this offense bigger than some expect. Samuel is also under contract through 2025, ensuring this wide receiver room will be full for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, we also cannot forget about Logan Thomas, the often injured tight-end, since 2020 when healthy, Thomas has averaged a 16% target share for the Commanders. Finally, all off season we were hearing buzz that Antonio Gibson would also be more involved as a pass catcher. The game scripts have not been there yet in 2023, however in this tough NFC East we could be seeing the need to get Gibson more involved as a pass catcher. With all this said, there is enough target competition in Washington to make it tough for Dotson to emerge like some are hoping for.
Rookie season, not all roses
Dotson impressed on many levels in his rookie season, however, there are some things that didn’t go Dotson’s way in his rookie season that are worth looking further into. Dotson missed 5 games in 2022 with a hamstring injury, the issue with this is, and he suffered a setback during his recovery. Soft tissue injuries are common injuries and can linger if they aren’t handled properly when recovering. If Dotson turns out to be injury prone his recovery routine with the Commanders will be something worth monitoring. Moreover, Dotson ranked 60th in catch rate (57%)(Player Profiler), a pedestrian number, and an indicator as to why his target share (15.9%) fell short of the mark in his rookie season. To add to this, potentially, the most alarming number was that Dotson ranked 18th in drops in 2022. Quarterback play contributed to this number, however, Dotson shoulders some of this blame and needs to clean this up in order to take the next step. Finally, Dotson will need to improve on all of this while building chemistry with a first year starting quarterback, in a brand new offensive scheme. There is optimism and surely a lot of potential with this new look offense, but chances are it will take time for this offense to get on the same page and gel. If things don’t go in the right direction for Howell early on, with minimal draft capital invested, Howell’s leash could be short, further clouding the future of the Commander pass catchers.
Reasons to Buy
Everything you want to see
We are looking at a first round draft pick heading into his second year, coming off a solid rookie season. These are all great indicators for a huge breakout in 2023. Jahan Dotson was the 16th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft and the 5th receiver off the board. Perhaps, the most underrated 1st round wide receiver picked out of the 2022 rookie draft. Dotson was overshadowed by the flashier names taken ahead of him like Garrett Wilson, Drake London, Chris Olave, and Jameson Williams. Dotson could be the dark horse in this group to emerge as the real steal in this class.
As a rookie, Dotson finished 2022 tied for 14th in wide receiver touchdowns, even though he missed 5 games. This is an incredible stat for a receiver that isn’t necessarily known for his touchdown prowess. Dotson is strong all over the field and the fact he was earning touchdowns at such an incredible rate in his rookie season is worth noting. Furthermore, Dotson is a good separator all over the field, posting impressive success rate numbers vs. man coverage 69 %, vs. zone coverage 80.1%, and vs. press coverage 78.9% (Credit: Perception Reception-Matt Harmon). In addition, Dotson is also a deep threat, posting a very good 13.5 Average Depth of Target (aDOT) ranking 14th in the league. Another nice stat to go along with his impressive aDOT is his 50% contested catch rate where he ranked 19th, meaning he is also catching the ball deep successfully when he isn’t getting great separation. Additionally, Dotson has a great 14.9 Yards After the Catch (YAC) meaning he can make plays once the ball is in his hands. Finally, we haven’t even talked about his most intriguing asset, his speed; Eric Bienemy is surely salivating to use some specialty packages to utilize Dotson’s 4.43 speed. With all this said, Dotson is in a great situation, looking to capitalize in 2023 and beyond!
New faces in key places
The Commanders have been in need of an offensive face-lift for quite some time.
Former Chiefs offensive coordinator, Eric Bienemy has been brought in to do exactly that. Dotson will surely be one of the main beneficiaries of a new offensive game plan. The Commanders were one of the more run heavy teams in the league in 2022 with almost a dead even 50/50 pass/run split. In the four seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs, Bienemy’s offenses averaged a 60/40-split pass/run which averaged 640 pass attempts per season once the league moved to 17 games. I can see the Commanders throwing around 600 times moving towards a more pass friendly offense, opening up more targets for Dotson and this receiving group. In addition, Bienemy is known to like his speedy wide receivers; he did a great job designing plays to utilize Tyreek Hill’s blazing speed in Kansas City. Dotson, although not as fast as Hill, will surely have some special packages designed to get his speed into space, similar to how Bienemy utilized Hill’s. Lastly, under Bienemy, Dotson’s target share should vastly improve over the 15.9% he totalled in 2022. Dotson finished 2022 strong commanding a 24% target share in weeks 13-18, a good sign of things to come for Dotson in 2023. I can see him earning a 20% plus target share in 2023 in this new Bienemy offense.
The Commanders also upgraded their quarterback position this offseason, handing the keys over to Sam Howell, another good turn of events for Dotson. There hasn’t been a quarterback in a Bienemy system to finish worse than the quarterback 7 in fantasy football. I am high on Howell, and think there is the potential for a legitimate breakout for Howell in this Bienemy system. I noted this in my bold prediction article that; https://dynastyprosfootball.com/2023-bold-predictions/
Howell has some traits in his game similar to Mahomes’s that Bienemy is surely excited to work around; great arm strength, poise in the pocket, and sneaky mobility. Howell should emerge as a poor man’s Mahomes with all his similar traits. Dotson and Howell have shown chemistry in their limited time together, as the season goes on I am confident that this chemistry will continue to grow moving Dotson ahead of McLaurin on the pecking order.
I am looking for a step forward for Dotson in 2023, emerging past Terry McLaurin as the #1 target and wide receiver on the Commanders in the second half of 2023. I am projecting the Commanders throw the ball 600 times under this more pass friendly offense. All signs are pointing for Dotson to improve upon his target share and catch rate. With all this said, my aggressive projection for Dotson in 2023 is 70 receptions for 900 yards and 7 touchdowns. Putting him in the top 30 wide receivers for 2023. Dotson is ranked in dynasty as the wide receiver 28, with a top 30 finish in 2023, Dotson would clearly be ranked as a top 24 wide receiver headed into 2024. I’d take Dotson over the following players being ranked in the same range in dynasty Quentin Johnston, Chris Godwin, and Michael Pittman. Dotson has not started 2023 strong and his dynasty stock is dropping, this offense needs more time to gel with their offensive coordinator and quarterback. I see a strong finish for Dotson in 2023 once this offense gets going. The talent and the targets are there. I’d still be willing to buy low on Dotson before he emerges in the second half of this season as a top 24-dynasty wide receiver in 2024 and beyond.
Mike Lindberg has been playing fantasy football since 2008. He specializes in Dynasty, Keeper and Redraft leagues.
He spends a lot of time reading, listening to podcasts, and mock drafting in order to give you the best fantasy advice possible.
His DM’s are open so don’t hesitate to give him a follow on Twitter @FFCanuck99
Let’s go win some championships!