Quarterback: Kirk Cousins
Cousins has quietly put together two straight top-eight finishes among QBs the past two years, peaking at 5th among QBs in 2016. Though he sustained his success over two years and was one of four QBs to finish in the top eight both times, ESPN ranks him as their 9th overall QB.
This drop is most likely due to Cousins losing his top two targets in Desean Jackson (TAM) and Pierre Garcon (SF). This combo combined for 214 targets, 135 receptions, and 2046 yards. Washinton will miss Garcon’s steady hands (third least drops among all WRs) and Jackson’s ability to stretch the field thoroughly.
ESPN’s low confidence in Kirk Cousins is due to these reasons, but the addition of weapons such as returning WR Josh Doctson and former Browns WR Terrelle Pryor will help him to another stellar season.
Another misconception about Cousins is his inability to throw deep passes. In fact, Cousins actually led the NFL in air yards.
Cousins should remain a sure fire top 7 QB this year in fantasy and he deserves to be a QB1 in any league.
The running back position will most likely produce an RBBC, which every fantasy owner despises.
Robert Kelley was serviceable last year and put up solid numbers over the second half of the season. With a YPC of 4.2 and 700 yards rushing in just over a half season of starts, his resume is somewhat promising. On the contrary, in the final two months of the season, his YPC dropped down to 3.47.
The main threat to Kelley’s job is their 4th round draft pick, Samaje Perine. Perine is a hard-nosed runner whose style will translate well to the NFL. If he obtains the starting role, I can see him as a high-end RB2, while I see Kelley peaking at an average RB2 or lower. He also excels as goal line runner, which elevates his fantasy status even further.
Lastly, veteran Chris Thompson has little value in standard scoring leagues. In PPR league he has more value, as he reeled in 49 catches last year and gained an extra 349 yards. Thompson was by far the most effective RB on the roster with a YPC of 5.2.
Overall: Kelley-LRB2 Perine-HRB2 Thompson- Only PPR back
Until we know more, stay away from this backfield.
It is no secret that the Redskins are a pass first team, so naturally WR is a strong position fantasy wise.
Free-agent signee Terrelle Pryor had just over 1000 yards receiving with 5 terrible QBs throwing to him, none of which had a QBR of over 50. Cousins, on the other hand, had a QBR of 71.
Pryor also will be targeted in the end zone with a 6’6 frame, unlike receivers such as Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson. I expect Pryor to be a high WR2 with limitless upside in a new offense that will provide him with countless opportunities.
Josh Doctson poses a lot of potential, but at this point in the offseason, he is practicing with the second team offense. With that said, Doctson has an elite blend of size, speed, athletism, and hands. When healthy last year, Doctson was the team’s primary red zone target. If he obtains the starting position this year and remains healthy, Doctson could turn into a solid flex or low-end WR2.
The only returning starting WR, Jamison Crowder, should see an uptick in targets this season. Last year, as Cousins’ 3rd option, he gained over 800 yards and seven touchdowns. My favorite quality about Crowder is his ability to generate yards after the catch. While his average depth of reception was 6.88 yards, he generated another 5.8 yards after the catch. He ranked 9th among WRs with at least 800 yards in YAC. Crowder is in the perfect position to improve on last season, and I see him as a solid flex/low-end WR2 option with a high floor.
Jordan Reed is far and away the Redskins highest ranked fantasy option positionally. Though injury prone, whenever he is on the field Reed is a top 3 TE. Because Reed is one of Cousins’ few returning targets, expect to see his usage increase. Reed is a sure-fire top TE, and one could easily make the argument that he is the #1 TE in fantasy football.