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Rookie QB Sam Howell to start in Week 18 vs. Cowboys

The Commanders go with their rookie QB in Week 18.

Sam Howell #14 of the Washington Commanders warms up before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 14, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Wednesday update: The Commanders will give rookie Sam Howell the start in Week 18, per Tom Pelissero. This makes more sense than splitting the game between Howell and Heinicke.

The Washington Commanders have been eliminated from playoff contention and were helped in that elimination by Carson Wentz, who looked dreadful in their Week 17 loss to the Browns. Now, with nothing to play for in Week 18, Ron Rivera will go back to Taylor Heinicke with some of rookie Sam Howell sprinkled in, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Last week was likely Wentz’s last game with the Commanders, as he helped end two team’s playoff hopes two years in a row.

The Commanders will take on the Cowboys, who still have something to play for, as a loss by the Eagles to the Giants would give them a chance to take the NFC East and a home game in the playoffs.

Fantasy football analysis

This situation is of course no good for the fantasy quarterback position, as Heinicke and Howell will split snaps, making neither viable for fantasy. This likely keeps the running backs and wide receivers in play as they usually have been this season. Start Terry McLaurin as you always would, while Jahan Dotson has some deeper league appeal.