NFL Splits Tool, Week 13: Taylor Heincke’s Impact in Washington


We’re heading into Week 12 of the regular season. Over the offseason, I did an “NFL Splits” series, looking at historical trends to help predict the outlook of the 2022 season. I will be continuing the series during the season by using the FTN Splits Tool and looking at actionable takeaways from the previous weeks.


The Splits Tool allows me to experiment with different situations, such as active/inactive players, spreads, locations, and more, to get a better understanding of the rest of the season. Users can sign up for an FTN Fantasy subscription and gain access to all the tools needed to dominate their fantasy leagues.

Pretender to Contender

One year removed from a Wild Card berth in 2020, the Commanders (then the Football Team) went 7-10 last season, missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years. Things went downhill for Washington from Week 1 after starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick exited early with a hip injury. Taylor Heinicke checked in for Fitzpatrick and would go on to start 15 of the next 16 games. Although Heinicke was serviceable as a starter, head coach Ron Rivera and the Washington front office decided to move in a new direction in 2022. As a result, they swapped second-round picks in the upcoming draft with the Indianapolis Colts while adding a third-round pick and a conditional 2023 pick in exchange for Carson Wentz

The trade for Wentz came as a surprise, considering he wasn’t great in Indianapolis and was a potential cut candidate. However, Washington was willing to roll the dice on Wentz, hoping to revitalize his career with a change of scenery. In Week 1, Wentz looked like the first-round pick drafted in 2016, tossing four touchdown passes and leading a game-winning against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Unfortunately, things plummeted downhill from there as the Commanders went on a four-game losing streak. Their next win didn’t come until Week 5 in an ugly 12-7 victory against the Bears in prime time. Later that week, Wentz was placed on the injured reserve after reportedly fracturing his right ring finger in the first half. With Wentz sidelined, the Commanders have won six of their last seven games with Heinicke back in the starting role. Despite Wentz being eligible to return, Rivera has stated that Heinicke will remain the starter with the Commanders firmly in the playoff picture. In this article, I’m going to look at how the change at quarterback has impacted the Commanders’ pass catchers by comparing the first six weeks of the season with Wentz and the last six with Heinicke.

Terry McLaurin, WR

Terry McLaurin Week 13 Fantasy Football Splits Tool

Often regarded as “quarterback proof,” there was little concern for Terry McLaurin‘s outlook entering the season, no matter who was under center. Although McLaurin’s first six games with Carson Wentz were not terrible, he only had one game with 15-plus PPR points and finished as a top-24 wide receiver just once. Since the Commanders made the transition to Taylor Heinicke, McLaurin’s targets, receptions and receiving yards have received a significant boost, and so has his fantasy production. In the last six games with Heinicke, McLaurin has finished as a WR1 twice after logging zero top-12 finishes in Weeks 1-6. From Week 7 on, McLaurin’s 473 receiving yards are fifth best in the league. Although he’s been held under double-digit PPR points in back-to-back weeks, better days are ahead for McLaurin in more competitive games to close the season.


Curtis Samuel, WR

Curtis Samuel Week 13 Fantasy Football Splits Tool

After playing just 84 snaps through five games last season, Curtis Samuel had the best start to his career in the first six games with Wentz. He averaged a team-high 8.33 targets per game and 5.67 receptions in Weeks 1-6 while finishing as a top-15 wide receiver in two out of six games (33.33%). The change from Went to Heinicke has not been great for Samuel, who has dropped off in every receiving metric across the board. He’s finished as a top-15 wide receiver once in the last six games and was completely shut out in the receiving department in Week 12. It’s hard to trust Samuel going forward, and he’s OK to drop in most leagues.

Jahan Dotson, WR

Jahan Dotson Week 13 Fantasy Football Splits Tool

The Commanders’ first-round rookie out of Penn State, Jahan Dotson hit the ground running, catching three passes for 40 yards and two touchdowns in his debut. Although he wasn’t necessarily lighting up the box score, Dotson was thriving off finding the end zone, scoring four touchdowns in his first four games. Unfortunately, Dotson missed the next five games after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 4. Since returning in Week 10, Dotson has been a non-factor with Carson Wentz, averaging less than a single reception and nine receiving yards in his last three games. On a positive note, Dotson should see an uptick in snaps as the Commanders continue to ease him back to a full-time player. From Weeks 1-3, Dotson played 87%-plus offensive snaps in all three games before exiting early in Week 4. He’s averaged 56% of offensive snaps in his last three games, yet to eclipse 70%. 

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