Evan Silva

Offseason Low Down

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Redskins Fantasy Preview

Monday, July 31, 2017


Redskins Offensive Profile Under Jay Gruden

2014-2016 Pass Attempts Rank: 18th, 20th, 7th
2014-2016 Rush Attempts Rank: 21st, 14th, 27th
2014-2016 Play Volume Rank: 22nd, 22nd, 21st
2014-2016 Yards Per Play Rank: 10th, 10th, 2nd
Unaccounted for Targets from 2016 (Rank): 223 (4th)
Unaccounted for Carries from 2016 (Rank): 99 (11th)

Editor's Note: The 2017 Draft Guide provides tiers, projections, ADP reports, mock drafts for many different types of leagues, Sleepers and Busts and much more. Get the NFL Draft Guide now.

Projected Starting Lineup

QB: Kirk Cousins
RB: Rob Kelley
WR: Terrelle Pryor
WR: Jamison Crowder
WR: Josh Doctson
TE: Jordan Reed
LT: Trent Williams
LG: Shawn Lauvao
C: Spencer Long
RG: Brandon Scherff
RT: Morgan Moses

Passing Game Outlook

Kirk Cousins reproved himself as a top-ten NFL passer after leading the league in 2015 completion rate (69.8%), finishing 2016 third in passing yards (4,917) and seventh in passer rating (97.2) en route to his second straight top-eight fantasy finish. Although Washington’s offense has become increasingly efficient and pass oriented over the course of coach Jay Gruden’s three-year tenure, last year’s team struggled mightily in the red zone as Cousins’ touchdown rate dipped to 4.1% from 5.3% the season prior. Washington scored a touchdown on an NFC-low 45.9% of its red-zone trips. So the Redskins added size to their pass-catcher corps, swapping out DeSean Jackson (5’10/169) and Pierre Garcon (6’0/210) for Terrelle Pryor (6’5/240) and returning a healthy Josh Doctson (6’2/202) and Jordan Reed (6’3/236). Again playing for a contract after the Skins slapped him with the franchise tag for the second year in a row, Cousins is now positioned for positive touchdown-pass regression in Gruden’s tried-and-true system surrounded by superior touchdown-scoring threats. Cousins is a no-brainer pick at his QB9 (FF Calculator) and QB10 (MFL10s) ADPs. He deserves to be going ahead of Jameis Winston and Derek Carr.

Terrelle Pryor gave up his quarterback dreams in Cleveland last year and converted to receiver, earning a starting job from the first day of training camp and going on to finish 22nd in the NFL in receiving yards (1,007) despite fielding targets from five different Browns passers. Pryor ran a forty-yard dash in the 4.3s after weighing in at a gargantuan 6-foot-4 ½, 240 at his pre-supplemental draft Pro Day in 2011 and has always been a superlative athlete. He was an exceptionally quick wideout study, instantly becoming a high-level route runner and averaging 2.76 yards of separation at target (Next Gen Stats), a very strong number for receiver who dealt with constant man coverage, playing 84% of his snaps outside. Cousins’ Next Gen Stats profile suggests he prefers to avoid pass catchers who aren’t separating, registering the NFL’s lowest rate of throws to receivers with one yard of separation or less. As the Redskins are missing the league’s fourth-most targets (223) from last year’s roster, Pryor is stepping into a wealth of opportunity on a pass-first team whose quarterback has completed 68.3% of his throws over the past two seasons, an enormous upgrade on last year’s 59.6% combined Browns quarterback mark. Clearly dedicated to his craft, Pryor spent the offseason training with Cousins, then Antonio Brown, then Randy Moss. While it’s fair to wonder whether Pryor and Cousins may need time to get on the same page, I think Pryor’s high ceiling makes him every bit worthy of his WR17 (FF Calc) and WR20 (MFL10s) ADPs.

Jamison Crowder transformed from route decoy to playmaker as a second-year pro, posting WR26 (PPR) and WR31 (non-PPR) finishes as the Redskins’ full-time slot receiver between Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. Crowder ran 74% of his routes inside and dominated there, leading all NFL wide receivers in average yards of separation (3.60) at target and catching all seven of his touchdowns on slot routes. While Pryor and Josh Doctson seem like sexier newcomers, Crowder has an ingrained, established rapport with Cousins that showed up in crucial 2016 situations. Even with Garcon and Jackson in the fold, Crowder led the Skins in red-zone targets (16), red-zone catches (9), touchdowns (7), and passer rating on Cousins’ attempts (105.1). Promoted from three-receiver sets into Washington’s two-wide packages this year, Crowder’s playing time and targets both have significant growth potential in a pass-first, high-efficiency attack. Crowder offers genuine 90-100 catch upside at his affordable WR28 ADP.

A rookie-year washout due to recurring strains in both of his Achilles’ tendons, Josh Doctson logged just 30 snaps in Weeks 1-2 before being shut down for the season. Despite missing their first-round pick, the Redskins ran three-receiver “11 personnel” on 73% of their offensive snaps, the sixth-highest clip in the league. Even with Pryor on board, Washington is left with heavy pass volume to replace, and Doctson’s healthy offseason offers room for optimism he will handle a significant piece of the pie. Doctson did work behind coaches’ pet Ryan Grant in spring practices, although Doctson’s far-superior talent should win out. Doctson (6’2/202) was a record-setting receiver at TCU before testing as a 94th-percentile SPARQ athlete at the Combine, his absurd 41-inch vertical helping to explain Doctson’s contested-catch proficiency. Even as a big believer in Pryor and Crowder, I don’t think it’s entirely out of the question Doctson emerges as the Redskins’ best receiver this year. His college tape, production, and athleticism were/are that good. Doctson is an enticing flier at his WR51 (MFL10s) and WR58 (FF Calculator) ADPs.

Almost quietly the TE1 in PPR points per game in back-to-back seasons, Jordan Reed’s outlook is always tied far more to health than ability. Reed has missed 18 games through four NFL seasons and suffered his sixth known concussion at the college and pro levels last October. Knee, quad, foot, hamstring, and shoulder injuries have also cost Reed time, and he reported to 2017 training camp with a toe/ankle injury. Whether Reed is a difference maker isn’t open for debate, of course, as Cousins has averaged 48 more yards, 1.15 more yards per attempt, and 0.64 more passing touchdowns with Reed in the lineup over the last two seasons. The TE3 in Average Draft Position across formats, Reed offers just as lofty a ceiling as higher-drafted tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce.

Running Game Outlook

Second-year UDFA Rob Kelley and fourth-round pick Samaje Perine will compete for early-down and goal-line work. Kelley supplanted fumbling Matt Jones as the Redskins’ starter last Week 8 and turned in three consecutive games over 20 carries, but fizzled out with a 3.33 YPC average over the final six weeks and was a liability in the passing game, dropping 4-of-18 targets and ranking 41st among 61 qualified backs in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency. At 5-foot-11, 226, “Fat Rob” is a replacement-level two-down grinder who ran 4.68 at Tulane’s 2016 Pro Day. While Kelley is the opposite of a “sexy” fantasy pick, he maintains a reasonable chance of leading the Redskins in 2017 carries. Thus, it’s difficult to quibble with anyone taking a flier on Kelley at his low-cost RB45 (MFL10s) and RB47 (FF Calc) ADPs.

The 114th overall pick in April’s draft, Samaje Perine served as the Thunder to Joe Mixon’s Lightning at Oklahoma, breaking Billy Sims’ school record for career rushing yards (4,122) and averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Mixon hogged the Sooners’ backfield receiving work, but Perine still caught 40 passes in three seasons and offers more passing-game upside than Kelley, even if both early-down candidates’ passing-game usage is capped by the presence of Chris Thompson. Only a 26th-percentile SPARQ athlete with 4.65 speed at 5-foot-11, 233, Perine won with physical tackle breaking on college tape, earning some generous Michael Turner comparisons. Fantasy leaguers are favoring Perine over Kelley, drafting the rookie at ADPs of RB35 (MFL10s) and RB36 (FF Calculator). As whomever wins the job is likely to be touchdown dependent, and an early-down committee is a real possibility, avoiding Perine and Kelley altogether or only drafting one of them if he falls especially far in drafts isn’t a bad approach.

The Redskins showed how much they value passing-down specialist Chris Thompson by tendering him at the second-round, $2.75 million level in restricted free agency when they almost certainly could have retained him at an original-round, $1.8 million rate. Thompson led last year’s Redskins running backs in snaps played (490) and finished as the PPR RB28, ranking 11th among NFL backs in targets (62) and 12th in catches (49). Thompson’s ceiling is curbed by his size (5’7/192) and role-player usage, but he has the most stable role in Washington’s backfield and handles critical duties on a pass-first team. He has no real value in non-PPR leagues, but in PPR Thompson is very likely to outscore his RB68 ADP.

2017 Vegas Win Total

The Redskins have the lowest Vegas Win Total in a wide-open NFC East at 7.5 games with a very slight lean toward the over (-115). Following a six-year run where they beat 7.5 wins just once, the Redskins have done so in back-to-back seasons under Jay Gruden, finishing 9-7 in 2015 and 8-7-1 last year. The 2016 Redskins slightly underachieved relative to their 8.3-8.4 Pythagorean Win Expectation, struggling mightily to score touchdowns in the red zone and disappointing on defense, particularly against the run. While it is concerning that Washington has the NFL’s sixth-toughest schedule in Warren Sharp’s ratings, I expect positive regression in the TD-scoring department and the Skins’ defense to take at least a small step forward. I like the over on 7.5, pegging Washington as a 7-9 win team rather than a 6-8 win one.



Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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