The Washington Redskins underwent major changes during this offseason. Departures by two 1,000 yard receivers – DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon – in free agency could hurt a strong passing game, while offensive coordinator Sean McCoy is now the Los Angeles Rams head coach. The decision to hold onto quarterback Kirk Cousins was highly publicized, as trade rumors were flying around the draft. Cousins is not hurting for weapons though, with Jordan Reed still one of the game’s most dynamic tight ends and the addition of Terrelle Pryor potentially cancelling out the loss of Jackson and Garcon.
Cousins is someone to target on draft day this season. His ADP has him at QB11 which is understandable due to losing two receivers. This means you can get a quarterback with top five upside in the middle rounds. Cousins finished as the fifth highest scoring quarterback in ESPN standard scoring last season. Trailing only Drew Brees and Matt Ryan in passing yards.
Losing Jackson and Garcon will have scare off other owners but he still has weapons and is motivated to earn a massive contract extension. Another factor in choosing your fantasy quarterback is their defense. The Redskins made some improvements on defense but will still struggle to stop anyone. This offers Cousins more opportunity to throw the ball late in games and rack up garbage time points.
So, now let’s take a look at the guys Cousins will be throwing to this season. Pryor joined the Redskins after a breakout season is Cleveland. After a 1,000 yards in his first full season as a wide receiver, the ceiling is the roof for Pryor in Washington. On a one-year deal, Pryor is incentivized to put up big numbers and will see a massive upgrade in quarterback play.
Sounds like you should be targeting Pryor right? Not so fast. Pryor is being drafted as WR19, coming off the board before Keenan Allen, Tyreek Hill and Kelvin Benjamin. That is too high for someone with one season of production and a team filled with multiple receiving threats. With so much depth at wide receiver, let someone else find out if Pryor is for real while you draft someone guaranteed targets.
One of those other pass catchers is tight end Jordan Reed. Reed has dealt with injuries during his career but when healthy is an elite tight end. He may see even more targets without Jackson and Garcon, so feel safe taking him early on draft day.
The biggest winner of the offseason in Washington was Jamison Crowder. The second-year receiver out of Duke, found the end zone seven times last year and saw increases in catches and receiving yards. Crowder will dominate the slot this year and see more even more targets, with potential to catch 90-100 passes this season.
Crowder is being drafted as WR33 which is way too low for his potential. Jarvis Landry is being drafted as WR23 but is essentially the same player. Crowder will have more targets and has better quarterback play, he offers the same floor as Landry with much higher upside.
Josh Doctson is someone to watch this season. The 2016 first round pick was injured for most of last season but is someone to target late in drafts. Don’t count on him to be in your lineup every week, but stash him on your bench in hopes he has a breakout season.
The Redskins backfield is one to avoid if possible. Last season it seemed Matt Jones was poised for a breakout season, but that quickly nose dived. “Fat Rob” Kelley took over, and held his own. The Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round, the leading rusher in the history of Oklahoma University.
Kelley and Perine will compete for early down and goal line work. Chris Thompson will handle passing downs, making this backfield difficult to value. The running back in this offense is valuable so if by draft day the Redskins have declared a clear starter, they will be someone to draft as an RB2.