Should You Start Brian Robinson or Antonio Gibson in Fantasy Football Week 1?

Just days until the first NFL Sunday of 2023, who should managers look to start between Washington Commanders’ RBs Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson?

NFL regular season football is finally here! As fantasy football managers, we will rack our brains at who to start, who to bench, and who we should flex in our lineups every single week.

Sometimes, these decisions between players happen within the same team. There are many franchises in the NFL that have more than one talented player in a single position group that we want to start on our teams. With the same opposing team matched up against these players, who has the leg up?

With this in mind, let’s take a look at one of these position groups: the Washington Commanders’ running backs. And let’s try to figure out who fantasy managers should start between Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson in Week 1.

Brian Robinson Fantasy Outlook This Week

Brian Robinson had about as rough a start to an NFL career as you can have. Recovering from an attempted carjacking where the running back was shot in the leg before the regular season, Robinson missed the first four games of the Commanders’ 2022 season.

But when he finally saw the field, Robinson was effective as a back. He was able to amass 857 all-purpose yards on 214 touches. He found the end zone three times in the 12 games of his rookie season.

Now, Robinson enters year two with a full bill of health. He looks to be the lead back in Washington under new assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. The case for Robinson as the lead back is evident from the Commanders 2022 season.

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In Robinson’s first five games, he only reached the 20-carry mark in a game once. But as the season progressed, he became the lead ball carrier, with over 20 attempts in four of his final seven games of the year.

In those seven weeks, Robinson carried the ball 138 times to Gibson’s 60 carries (though Gibson was inactive in the last of these seven games). Gibson out-targeted Robinson and had 15 catches to Robinson’s five, but the backfield was clearly turning over to the rookie.

In Week 1 this season, I fully expect Robinson to be getting the bulk of the Commanders’ carries. And the team just so happens to be going against one of the worst rosters entering 2023 in the Arizona Cardinals. Robinson is a high-upside option with his opportunity this week and favorable matchup.

Antonio Gibson Fantasy Outlook This Week

Antonio Gibson saw less and less of the touches as the year went on for the Commanders last season. But that certainly doesn’t mean he is completely out of the loop in Washington.

Gibson now has Eric Bieniemy calling the plays in the offense. This is a coach who has balanced his offense for years in Kansas City, especially his running backs. Last season, Jerick McKinnon still had 128 touches in the Chiefs offense, even as the second back behind rookie Isiah Pacheco (183 touches). The balance paid dividends for the Chiefs on their road to winning another Super Bowl.

Gibson is the better pass-catching back in Washington, Bieniemy values that. If Washington wants to take advantage of the Cardinals in the screen game or with passes to the backs, Gibson is the guy.

If you are rostering Gibson, he is a strong Flex start for Week One. Just two years ago, Gibson had over 1,300 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns, and he is only 25 years old. The talent is still there. If he is given opportunities against a bad Cardinals defense, he could have a very strong week for managers.

Which of the Commanders’ RBs Should You Start?

When it comes down to it, choosing between these two in Week 1 is not too complicated. My choice is Brian Robinson.

While I think Gibson is still a good start as a Flex in your leagues, Robinson is a player who could very easily finish in the top 20 backs in Week 1. The opportunity for touches favors Robinson in this matchup and if the Commanders take a lead against a bad Cardinals team, they will want to continue to pound the rock.

Anytime the Cardinals show up as the opponent for your players in 2023, it is a great chance to start them. That won’t be any different in Week 1. Take advantage of this favorable matchup if you have any Washington Commanders on your team. But if you happen to own both Robinson and Gibson and you have to choose between them, go with Robinson.

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