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Curtis Samuel’s re-emergence has been an unexpected bright spot for Washington Commanders this season

Andrew Buller-Russ
Curtis Samuel
Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Back in April, the Washington Commanders were seemingly one significant step away from having arguably zero starting receivers on the roster. Terry McLaurin was due for a contract extension when we’d heard rumors of trades for other receivers circulating. Curtis Samuel battled various injuries, catching just six targets for 27 receiving yards, putting his future with the team in serious question. Of course, Jahan Dotson had not yet been selected until the end of April, when the Commanders made him the 16th pick.

While McLaurin later signed a three-year, $68.3 million contract, and Dotson has emerged as a complementary weapon who’s still developing, it’s actually Samuel who currently leads the team in targets and receiving yards (tied with McLaurin) through two contests. Clearly, Carson Wentz has been able to quickly get on the same page as the sixth-year pro, who’s already blown past last year’s production in less than half the games.

But what should we think of Samuel’s production so far? Are Samuel’s numbers just a flash in the pan, or can he be counted on, not only for the Commanders but also as a fantasy option?

Related: NFL QB Rankings: See where Carson Wentz ranks in 2022

Curtis Samuel’s presence boosts Washington’s offensive ceiling

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders
Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

By all appearances, Samuel is back. Finally feeling healthy again, we’re only now getting a glimpse of what general manager Martin Mayhew saw when Ron Rivera likely recommended Samuel to be signed based on their days together in Carolina. Samuel signed a three-year, $34.5 million contract at the outset of the 2021 offseason and has one year left on his contract after the 2022 season.

It’s such a small sample size, but Samuel’s numbers likely aren’t sustainable, certainly not the catches or touchdowns. Depending on how much the Commanders rely on the passing attack, it’s possible he gets close to 1,000 yards, which should be enough to keep him on the fantasy radar. The biggest thing to watch is how much more Dotson gets involved as he gains experience. Sometimes we see rookie receivers go off once the game slows down. If so, that could pose trouble for Samuel.

ReceptionsYardsTDs
Curtis Samuel’s 2022 pace1271,13017
Curtis Samuel’s career highs778516
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

Who knows how his role will ultimately play out? It’s clear McLaurin is the likely No. 1 receiver, Dotson was drafted to be the team’s No. 2, yet it’s Samuel who leads the way so far. Still, the future is with the younger receivers in Washington, but for now, the 26-year-old Samuel and his solid production are here to stay.

No matter what, suddenly having three wideouts who pose a threat makes Washington a much more potent passing attack than anyone originally envisioned. Once they get Brian Robinson back, perhaps their running game can take the next step forward too. Either way, Washington has to be happy with the production they’ve gotten by adding Wentz to their offense so far.

Related: 2022 NFL Power Rankings: How do the Washington Commanders compare?