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Second-Year Scouting Report: Jahan Dotson

NFL Fantasy



It’s now July, and we’re getting closer and closer to the 2023 regular season. Best ball leagues have been drafting for months now and they are getting more popular now that we understand landing spots for veteran free agents and rookies.


Every year, rookie fever emerges and the previous class gets pushed aside by the shiny new NFL toys. This usually results in a rookie surge of ADP, which opens up pockets of value, especially with players from the previous class who may not be as established as some long-time veterans in the league. This happens even though most fantasy analysts (and players) understand the largest leap occurs from year 1 to year 2.

Throughout the summer, FTN will be releasing second-year scouting reports to keep these players fresh in fantasy managers’ minds. The series shifts today to Jahan Dotson, the receiver for the Washington Commanders.

Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders

The Commanders selected Jahan Dotson 16th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, making for an exciting, talented duo alongside Terry McLaurin. Dotson’s rookie campaign featured a hot start, an injury-plagued middle and a strong finish, which has many (including myself) very excited entering his sophomore season. 

What Went Right

Simply put, when Dotson was on the field last year, he made a ton of plays. Through the first four weeks, he scored four touchdowns, seeing four end zone targets. He suffered an injury after that, though, and didn’t play until Week 10. Dotson closed the season with three games of 70-plus yards over his final five, scoring three times during that stretch. And in that span, Dotson actually had the same target share as McLaurin, right around 21%. According to FTN Data, Dotson led all wideouts with at least 50 routes against man coverage in fantasy points per target against man coverage (2.5), as he caught 50% of his contested targets. Despite projecting as more of a slot wideout during his time at Penn State, we saw Dotson play (and win) on the perimeter during his first NFL season. He lined up out wide about 74% of the time last year and according to FTN Data, Dotson averaged nearly 9.0 yards per target, posting 420 yards and four touchdowns when lined up out wide. Dotson saw a ton of high-upside fantasy targets, either coming deep down the field or in the end zone. In fact, 25 of Dotson’s 61 targets from last season came either 20 yards downfield or in the end zone (42.6%). Going from Scott Turner’s downfield passing attack to Eric Bieniemy’s West Coast scheme could lead to a larger variety of routes from Dotson, who ran go routes nearly 17% of the time last year, a top-20 rate in the league. 

What Went Wrong

Dotson hardly played during the middle of the season. He missed Weeks 5-9 with an injury, playing less than half of the snaps in Week 10. And because he was recovering from a hamstring injury, Washington was cautious with Dotson upon his return. Meanwhile, his 11.5% touchdown rate is obviously unsustainable and is going to come down quite a bit, though the volume is clearly going to climb. 


Prognosis Entering 2023

As a rookie last year, Dotson showed flashes of greatness. He won on the outside, making contested catches both down the field and in the end zone. His 15.4-yard average depth of target was the seventh-highest mark among qualified wide receivers, and while the shot plays should still be there with Sam Howell under center, we should also see more intermediate routes. With Scott Turner, the Commanders were prioritizing the deep pass, although the underwhelming play at quarterback certainly held that back a bit. But last season, Taylor Heinicke posted an average depth of target of 9.2 yards (10th), while his 4.2 completed air yards per pass attempt ranked seventh. His average time to throw was 2.79 seconds, the seventh-highest mark in the league, as 36% of Washington’s dropbacks were deep drops, the fourth-highest rate in football. 65.5% of Heinicke’s dropbacks resulted in him taking 2.5 or more seconds to throw the football, the fifth-highest rate.

That should change with Bieniemy, who will implement more of a West Coast-style offense. I expect Washington to get the ball out much faster, allowing their skill position players to make plays. We should also see the Commanders utilize Howell’s athleticism but getting him outside of the pocket, which is something Washington rarely did last year. In fact, Heinicke and Carson Wentz combined for just 43 total pass attempts from outside the pocket. Patrick Mahomes led the NFL with 112 pass attempts from outside the pocket this past season, and with Bieniemy bringing more overall movement to Washington’s offense, expect Howell to roll out and make throws outside of the pocket in his first full season as the starting quarterback.

If Howell is truly the answer at quarterback for Washington, Dotson is easily going to have a breakout sophomore season.

Dynasty Outlook

I am very high on Dotson, as he comes in as my WR23 in my dynasty rankings. Still just 23 years old, Dotson can win at all levels of the field and is going to be in a faster, more aggressive offense this season. If the Commanders had absolutely zero question marks at the quarterback position, he’d be an unquestioned top-25 dynasty wideout. Because Dotson entered the NFL the same year as Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Drake London and Christian Watson, no one is really talking about him, which makes him a wide receiver I’d love to trade for in dynasty leagues right now. 

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