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Fantasy camp battles: RB Antonio Gibson vs. JD McKissic

The Washington Football Team have two good running backs on the depth chart. Who will win the camp battle between Antonio Gibson and JD McKissic?

Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (24) catches a pass during training camp at Bon Secours Washington Football Team Training Center.  Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Gibson proved to be a rare bright spot for the Washington Football Team’s offense last season. The third-round pick led all rookies rushers with 11 touchdowns. His 795 yards on 170 touches in 14 games was another solid stat for a first-year player. But his numbers were ultimately held in check thanks to a competing role for his backfield mate J.D. McKissic, who saw plenty of snaps in the passing game. Entering the 2021 season, expectations are high for Gibson, but the presence of McKissic once again begs the question of whether or not the second-year back will see snaps on more than just first and second downs.

Latest camp news

Week 2 preseason recap: Both backs to a backseat to camp riser Jaret Patterson, wo had 16 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown in Washington’s 17-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday. Gibson had seven carries for 28 yards to go along with his two receptions for 19 yards. McKissic didn’t register a single carry but did have a reception for four yards.

Week 1 preseason recap: The first preseason game against New England kind of went as expected, with neither getting too much work. McKissic got just one carry for two yards. Gibson saw a bit more work, with five carries for 15 yards total.

August 10: Without check down machine Alex Smith under center, McKissic’s workload should fall off. But what we need to see to bolster Gibson’s fantasy outlook is an expanded role, the kind of workload that will have him playing on more than the 43 percent of the team’s offensive snaps like he did last year. Good news—Gibson has been working in the hurry-up offense; that was McKissic’s job last season. It’s just a sign, albeit a good one, that Gibson’s role could be expanding this year.

McKissic’s workload won’t just disappear, though. He’s still good at what he does, but if the WFT can find a place for Gibson’s explosiveness in the passing game too, he’ll have real RB1 value.

Next preseason game: vs. Baltimore Ravens

Washington close the preseason this Saturday at 6 p.m. when hosting Baltimore for a DMV showdown. Both Gibson and McKissic should get their fair share of touches as the regular season draws near.

Fantasy football verdict

Heading into Week 3 preseason: Gibson is solidly Washington’s No. 1 running back and is a candidate to be a solid RB1 selection for any league. McKissic should be a good handcuff/mid-round pickup but he has to worry about the rising stock of Patterson, who keeps impressing more and more as the preseason goes on.

Heading into Week 2 preseason: The edge has to go to Gibson here, but barely. He has all the potential in the world and did see slightly more work in limited action during the first preseason contest. Still, putting any sort of stock into performances in the first preseason game is a bit of an exercise in futility. This week and next week should paint a much clearer picture for this battle.