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Sam Howell flashes potential in Week 1 NFL preseason

Commanders QB Sam Howell had a strong showing in Week 1 of the NFL preseason. We recap his performance.

NFL: Washington Commanders OTA
Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell passes the ball during drills as part of OTAs at The Park in Ashburn.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Commanders are seemingly set with Carson Wentz as the team’s starting quarterback, but Sam Howell will be worth monitoring for the backup job. Howell comes in as a rookie who may have underachieved relative to lofty expectations in college but can develop behind Wentz in this system.

Week 1 preseason stats

Howell finished Week 1 8/15 with 129 passing yards. He added 19 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns on three carries.


Howell didn’t have much success finding the end zone through the air but his rushing ability makes him different from Wentz and provides some upside for the Commanders going forward. If Wentz struggles or shows he’s not “the guy”, Howell could see bigger opportunities late in the season.

Fantasy implications

We know Wentz has a history of knee injuries, so there’s always a chance Howell gets more playing time than expected. For this season, Howell is likely to be backing up Wentz unless the starter really struggles. Howell is best left for dynasty formats and is only likely to get playing time if the Commanders are out of the playoff race with a few games left.