Dwayne Haskins’ time as a starting quarterback is coming to an end, at least for now. The former Ohio State star and Heisman Trophy finalist is going to the bench. Between sloppy play and a lack of sizable development, Ron Rivera pulled the plug on Haskins moving forward. Now, Kyle Allen takes the spotlight, leaving fantasy football managers to scramble as they decide on his impact on the roster. Is Kyle Allen worth rostering in fantasy, and how will he impact players like Terry McLaurin moving forward?
Dwayne Haskins has been benched and Kyle Allen takes over the QB duties
NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported that The Washington Football Team would turn to third-year pro Kyle Allen while Haskins “goes to the bench.”
In four games, Haskins ranked last in the NFL in total QBR at 30.6, 27th in completion percentage (61.0), and 26th in yards per pass attempt (6.43). According to NFL Next Gen Stats, he has the second-worst completion percentage over expectation this season at -6.6%, ahead of only the Denver Broncos’ Jeff Driskel (-8.9%). Even going back to last year, of the 32 quarterbacks who attempted 25 of more passed beyond 25 or more yards, Haskins was 31st ahead of only Allen, his replacement.
Haskins has thrown for 939 yards with four touchdowns to three interceptions through four games, and he’s taken 13 sacks (on pace for 52 over 16 games). NFL Next Gen Stats ranks Haskins as a -27.4 EPA (expected points added) through the first month, fourth-worst among QBs with at least 50 pass attempts.
Seeing the NFC East situation, Ron Rivera says, “I’d be stupid not to take a shot” in trying to stack some wins. In his press conference this afternoon, Rivera also stated that the lack of a preseason did not help Haskins in his development.
“I wish Dwayne had had the offseason. I wish he had the OTAs and the mini camps. I wish he had the preseason games.”
It won’t take much to win the NFC East
As far as the NFC East is concerned, he is absolutely correct. The Philadelphia Eagles are currently leading the division with a 1-2-1 record. It is wide open as far as the Washington Football Team is concerned.
It seemed this was always a possibility coming into the year, and I believe Rivera knew this. That is why he traded for Allen in the offseason after taking over the job. Allen is familiar with this system and the verbiage. We need to remember that Haskins isn’t a Rivera guy. He is not tied to him from a draft standpoint, and Rivera is attempting to do a complete rebuild of the organization as a whole.
It would also be unfair not to point out the raw deal that Haskins has seen to start his NFL career, much like Josh Rosen to a point. He was drafted at 15th overall by a coach who was already on the hot seat. He has also played for three different head coaches in just 13 career games on a team with little to no talent, and only one real receiving threat in Terry McLaurin. I don’t know if anyone can get into a rhythm with this much turmoil surrounding them game in and game out.
I think the part that is being lost in all of this is that Haskins is not the backup now; he is the third-string option and will likely be inactive for Week 5. Alex Smith is now the backup quarterback, and if Allen struggles, he will be the starter. Going from nearly losing his leg, then fighting for his life, Smith’s comeback, determination, and perseverance cannot be understated.
I do want to point out that if the leash was this short on Haskins, it is absolutely absurd that the team chose not to look at Cam Newton in the offseason. I understand there might have been something behind the scenes between him and Rivera, but you have to do your due diligence. You owe that much to the organization to put together the best roster possible on the field every week.
How does the change at QB affect the fantasy value of the surrounding players?
I don’t know if this is a boost but more of a lateral move. Allen started 12 games for Carolina in 2019 and finished with the second-worst total QBR (38.3) among quarterbacks with at least eight starts. Allen threw 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions last season. The Panthers won his first four starts but went 1-7 the rest of the way, including a loss to Washington in Rivera’s final game with Carolina.
As for Kyle Allen’s fantasy impact on players around him, I think this is a step back for McLaurin, who had a solid rapport with his former Ohio State teammate. McLaurin had 26 receptions on 39 targets for 387 yards and one touchdown. I don’t think people understand how good he has been. On a per 16 game basis, that is a pace of 104 catches on 156 targets for 1,548 yards.
McLaurin does not get the respect he deserves, especially in fantasy, somehow. Even last year in his rookie season, he caught 58 of his 93 targets for 919 yards and seven touchdowns in only 14 games. He is a bonified WR1 and was someone who was a weekly must-start. With Allen now under center, we need to wait and see at least a week, maybe two, before giving that title back to McLaurin.
Looking back on how Allen targeted his WR1 last year, DJ Moore, I do have hope for McLaurin. Allen completed 74 passes to Moore on 118 attempts for a 62.7 completion percentage and 1,084 yards with 4 TDs in 13 games.
Will Antonio Gibson continue to succeed with Allen?
The player I will be watching will be RB Antonio Gibson. The dynamic dual-threat rookie has already been making his presence known early into the season. He had his best game of the season last week against Baltimore rushing 13 times for 46 yards and a touchdown, along with four receptions on five targets for 82 yards. On the season, Gibson has 44 rushes for 182 yards, three touchdowns, and 10 receptions on 12 targets for 98 yards.
Now that Rivera has someone under center who is familiar with his system, you have to wonder if this means more passing work for Gibson, essentially as a Christian McCaffrey-lite option out of the backfield. If there were one person I think could benefit from the change, I would look at Gibson to take another step and remain a solid RB2 even behind a relatively poor offensive line.
Is Kyle Allen worth grabbing off waivers in fantasy before Week 5?
Based on Kyle Allen’s fantasy outlook, I’d say yes, but only in deeper leagues or those with 2QB or Superflex spots. There are so many other options for streaming at the position that I would stay away from playing Allen if I didn’t have to do it. If you were rostering Haskins, I would swap players on your lineups as Haskins isn’t likely to see the starting spot anytime soon. Kyle Allen will, at best, be a mid-QB2 in fantasy rankings moving forward.
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