|By Shawn Childs, Thursday, July 9, 2015|
I wonder if Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder will ever bring glory back to the once-mighty Redskins. The last two years have been just brutal. They have gone 7-25 while being outscored by 281 points. Their offense finished 13th in total yards (358.6), but they only scored 301 points (26th). Head coach Jay Gruden returns for his second year, but his window will be short. He is battling a fine line between starting QB Robert Griffin and the owner. Sean McVay is the offensive coordinator for the second season. McVay has been with the Redskins since 2010. Joe Barry will take over as the defensive coordinator. He has been a coach in the NFL for 14 years. Joe has two years of experience running a defense. Washington allowed the 29th-most points (438) with their defense allowing 357 yards per game. The Redskins have only made the playoffs four times in the last 22 years after winning three Super Bowls from 1982 to 1991 with Joe Gibbs as the head coach.
Starting G Chris Chester signed with the Falcons. His value has been on the decline over the last couple of years. Chester played poorly in run blocking while allowing five sacks, three QB hits, and 16 QB hurries. T Tyler Polumbus also left to play with Atlanta. He allowed eight sacks and 13 QB hurries last year.
Washington's defense lost CB E.J. Biggers and LB Brian Orakpo. Biggers struggled in pass coverage over the last two years as a part-time player. Orakpo missed the last nine games of 2014 with a torn right pectoral muscle. He's been a plus pass-rusher in his career with occasional value against the run.
They added CB Chris Culliver, S Dashon Goldson, DE Stephen Paea, NT Terrance Knighton, and DE Ricky Jean-Francois. In essence, the Redskins gained four possible starting players. Culliver had his best season in pass coverage in 2014. He allowed 37 catches for 468 yards with four TDs and four INTs on 73 passing attempts. Goldson is coming off a brutal season against the run and pass (23/33 for 371 yards and two TDs). Paea could be a nice upgrade to the pass rush. Last year he has five sacks, 11 QB hits, and 31 QB hurries. His success was a huge step up from 2013. Stephen tends to be a liability against the run. Knighton was a plus defender over the last two years for the Broncos. Last year his value in the pass rush was minimal (two sacks, six QB hits, and 10 QB hurries). Jean-Francois is nothing more than a league average player with more downside than upside.
Backup RB Roy Helu left to play with the Raiders. His value came in the passing game.
In the first round, Washington drafted G Brandon Scherff. Scherff should be an exceptional run blocker with value in pass protection. Brandon plays with power with surprising speed for his position.
DE Preston Smith was added with their second pick. Smith has speed and athleticism with his best value will come against the run. His lack of first step and strength limit his upside.
With Washington's third pick, they decided on RB Matt Jones. He'll offer a similar skill set to RB Alfred Morris as the Redskins give you the feeling that they want to pound the ball. Jones runs with power with limited experience in the passing game. Matt should be an asset on pass protection.
Fourth round pick WR Jamison Crowder is an undersized (5'8"and 185 lbs.) receiver with questionable top-end speed and a need for more strength. His best asset is his quickness and he has value as a route runner. Crowder may have future value in the return game.
With their second pick in the fourth round, Washington added another option to their offensive line – G Arie Kouandjio. His draft value was somewhat rewarded by the company he played with in Alabama. Arie has limited upside with his only possible value coming in the run game.
In the fifth, LB Martrell Spaight will add value in run defense, but his lack of speed limits his upside. S Kyshoen Jarrett and CB Tevin Mitchel were both drafted in the sixth round. Jarrett will only have value attacking the line of scrimmage against the run. His game has weakness in pass coverage. Mitchel has average CB speed with solid quickness. He'll compete for backup role.
With their last two picks, the Redskins selected WR Evan Spencer and C Austin Reiter. Spencer doesn't have one defining edge with his only chance of playing time coming as a slot option. Reiter looks like a project with possible upside down the road.
Washington Redskins OT Brandon Scherff
The Redskins finished 19th in rushing yards (1,691) with 1,453 yards coming for the RB position. They averaged 4.2 yards per rush with 15 rushing TDs.
LG Trent Williams was drafted in the first round in 2010. He was an exceptional as a run and pass blocker in 2013. Last year, he allowed four sacks, seven QB hits, and 14 QB hurries with a slight edge as a run blocker. Trent battled a knee injury over the last three months of 2014.
LG Shawn Lauvao was nothing more than league average last year. He allowed two sack, three QB hits, and 20 QB hurries.
C Kory Lichtensteiger hasn't been an impact player in his seven seasons in the league. Last year he was a slight edge in the running game. Kory allowed one sack, one QB hit, and 14 QB hurries.
RG Spencer Long was selected in the third round in 2014. He was only the field for 18 plays last year. He appears to be the frontrunner for the starting right tackle job.
RT Brandon Scherff was the Redskins first round draft pick this season. He has upside as a power run blocker with his pass blocking a step behind.
Washington allowed 58 sacks in 2014. They finished 11th in passing yards (4,047). They gained 8.2 yards per pass, but only managed 18 passing TDs while throwing 18 INTs.
This line has two talented players with one needing to prove himself in his rookie season. The massive sack total in 2014 was a huge problem and one that needs to be corrected immediately. The run blocking projects to be only league average.
The above data shows the strength of schedule as far as rushing attempts (RATT), rushing yards (YDS), yards per attempt rushing (YA), rushing TDs touchdowns (TDs), completions (COMP), passing attempts (PATT), passing yards (YDS), yards per attempt passing (YA), and passing TDs (TDS).
This information is based on 2014, which will work as our starting point for 2015. We'll look at all the changes on offense on each team in the NFL plus the upgrades and downgrades on each team on the defensive side. We'll update this table when we finish the research on all 32 teams.
2014 Average: The league average of all stats from all 32 teams in 2014.
2014 Results: This is the results for each team in the NFL.
2015 Adjustment: Based on the 2014 league average and the 2014 results for each team, this number will show if each team is above or below the league average in each stat and the basis for strength of schedule.
The Redskins have three favorable games against the run – NO and NYG (X 2). They'll face only one team with a tough run defense – Jets. Washington has 13 teams matchups against teams with a below average pass defense. Their two bad games against the pass are Buffalo and Miami.
QB Kirk Cousins - Deep-league Only
UPDATE (10/3): Despite earning the starting job in Washington, Kirk Cousins remains a tenuous Fantasy option. He only has value in 2QB leagues. The NFC East isn't known for their defense so Cousins will occasionally shine. That said, this offense has a long way to go before you should consider adding him to your bench.
I know many Washington fans and possibly the Redskins staff are pining for Cousin to start. Kirk is pocket passer with a quicker release and better decision making pre-snap. When compared to Griffin, Cousin was sacked only eight times in his 204 pass attempts (Griffin was sacked 33 times on his 214 pass attempts). This stat alone will give Washington a better chance of avoiding negative plays. In his five starts, Kirk threw for 2,780 yards (292 yards per game) with three games with two TDs or more. Unfortunately, Cousins has committed too many mistakes (19 INTs in 16 games) while struggling to win games (2-7). His arm has upside and his game is strong enough to steal the starting job from RGIII if he falters. Last year, Kirk averaged 8.4 yards per pass attempts, which is an attractive number, while competing 61.8 percent of his passes. Cousins is a player to keep an eye on with QB2 value when starting.
QB Robert Griffin III - Gamble (high risk)
UPDATE (10/3): Barring an injury to Kirk Cousins, RG3's career appears to be over in Washington. Look for him to land on his feet somewhere else in 2016. There are plenty of teams who need help at the position.
The lack of success by Griffin was real frustrating to fantasy owners and even more to coach Gruden in 2014. When given time to throw, Robert completed a career high 68.7 percent of his passes while gaining a solid 7.9 yards per pass attempt. His lack of success was due to a huge onslaught of pressure from the opposing defense (33 sacks). In his last six starts, Griffin was sacked 28 times. He never threw more than one TD in any game and his value as a runner was a career-low (4.6 yards per rush). Many of his failures against the pass rush were a result of him not getting the ball out quickly. The coaching staff lost faith in him, but he has the owner in his court. With a full offseason to get his legs back in shape and a possible upgrade in the offensive line, Robert could be in position to reach his upside potential. The Redskins have two strong WRs and an above average TE if Jordan Reed stays healthy. In the early draft season, he had an ADP of 154 as the 27th QB off the table. He seems like a misplaced asset. Washington will throw the ball and any yards gained on the ground count double in most formats. I like him as an upside gamble as a backup fantasy QB, but I would also roster a third option for insurance. With a full-time job for 16 games, Griffin should throw for 3,500-plus yards with 600-plus yards rushing. With improved play, 25-plus combined TDs are well within reach.
Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III
RB Alfred Morris - Solid/Safe Pick
UPDATE (10/3): Alfred Morris held down this starting job since he came into the league four years ago. After a great Week 1, Morris took a backseat to Matt Jones. This looks like a split backfield and for the time being, Morris still is the team leader in carries and rushing yards. The rookie runner is on his heels though so Fantasy owners need to be aware of the fluidity of this situation.
Morris has started all 48 games in his career. His yards per rush have declined in each season. Alfred has three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons with 280-plus touches in each year. He has scored 21 TDs in his career. His value in the passing game has been minimal in his career (37 catches for 310 yards), but he did have a career high 17 catches last year for 155 yards. His lack of success in the run game was a team problem due poor QB-play from Griffin and the porous offensive line. His value in TDs is limited if Griffin starts. In 2014, Morris only had one game with 100-plus yards and seven games with 20 touches or more. Alfred is a steady RB2 with a 1,300-yard opportunity with 300 touches and a possible 10 TDs.
Washington Redskins RB Alfred Morris
RB Matt Jones - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
UPDATE (10/3): The preseason praise directed at Matt Jones was legit. The rookie went off in Week 2, carrying the ball 19 times for 123 yards and two TDs. He also added three catches for 23 yards. This backfield though remains divided with Alfred Morris still leading the team in carries and rushing yardage. Jones is a solid flex play when the matchup is right, but he doesn't quite have the role to merit him becoming an automatic starter. If Morris goes down, Jones would be a great RB2. Until then, owners should hold and stash the former Florida Gators running back.
Jones will bring a pounding style to the Redskins offense. His resume isn't anything special over three seasons at Florida. Matt ran for 1,431 yards on 297 carries with 11 TDs. He also caught 19 passes for 100 yards with one TD. His best season was 2014 when he gained 882 combined yards with seven TDs. Jones will backup Morris this year with minimal upside depending on injury. His game has similar qualities as Alfred so he'll help wear down the defense when he is on the field.
The third-down back for the Redskins may emerge from the battle between RBs Silas Redd & Chris Thompson. Redd only had 16 carries in 2014 for 75 yards with one TD plus he caught eight passes for 107 yards on 10 targets. In his four-year college career, Silas ran for 2,959 yards on 569 carries with 19 rushing TDs. He caught 32 passes for 225 yards and two TDs. His resume isn't elite, but Washington will need to use someone as the change-of-pace back with possible value in the passing game. Thompson is an undersized back (5'7" and 193 lbs.) with only nine touches in his six games over two years in the league. At Florida State over four years, Chris ran for 1,735 yards on 277 carries with 14 TDs. He caught 45 passes for 430 yards with one TD. I would place my bet on Redd if I was looking for a deep flier.
WR DeSean Jackson - Solid/Safe Pick
There is no denying the electric playmaking of Mr. Jackson. For the second time in his career, DeSean has averaged over 20 yards per catch, which has led to the league-high in both seasons. He has four 1,000-yard receiving years with 38 career TDs in his 102 career games. Early in 2014, Jackson battled a shoulder injury and later in the year a shin issues that cost him a game. DeSean had six 100-yard games with only two games with more than 10 targets. As electric as his game is when he finds the open field, Jackson had seven games with three catches or less. His success last season led to him finishing as the 23rd-highest scoring WR in PPR leagues despite three short games due to injuries while only receiving the 49th-most targets at the WR position. In addition, the deep passing window was extremely limited due to 58 sacks allowed by the Redskins. DeSean has impact value, but his highs and lows make him a better WR3 in fantasy leagues. Unfortunately, his value will be a mid-tier WR2. With a full season of health, Jackson should be line for a 70-plus catch season for 1,200-plus yards and about a half dozen TDs. His early ADP is 61 as the 27th WR off the board. I see him as a possible value with right team structure.
Washington Redskins WR DeSean Jackson
WR Pierre Garcon - Quality Backup
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WR Andre Roberts - Low Potential
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WR Ryan Grant - Not Draft Worthy
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TE Jordan Reed - Gamble (high risk)
Reed is a talented tight end, but he continues to battle injuries over his two seasons in the league. Last year, Jordan caught 50 of his 65 targets (76.9 percent), although he averaged only 9.3 yards per catch while only starting in just two contests. Reed had four games with seven catches or more and three games with 10 targets or more. His best game came in Week 13 when he caught nine passes for 123 yards on 11 targets. Jordan had minor knee surgery this spring. He is expected to be ready for training camp. All of his missed time last year was due a hamstring injury. In 2013, Reed battled a couple of concussion issues. Last year, Reed was only on the field for 377 out of a possible 1,092 plays, which was a similar number to 2013 (384 snaps). With better blocking of the offensive line, Jordan will have a much better to be involved in the passing game. In 2014, Washington completed 102 passes to the TE position for 1,052 yards and two TDs. With 2/3 of the TE action, Reed would have an excellent chance of being a top 12 TE. It wouldn't surprise me to see him catch 65-plus passes for 750-plus yards with some value in TDs. With an ADP of 146 as the 18th TE drafted, Reed is solid gamble as a TE2 with TE1 upside.
Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed
PK Kai Forbath - Low Potential
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Washington - Low Potential
Washington will have three games against teams with high volume rushing attacks – NYJ and Dal (X 2). They face three bottom tier teams in the run game – Atl, TB, and Chi. The Redskins have six games against teams with upside passing games – NYG (x 2), Phi (X 2), NO, and Atl. Their only favorable matchups against the pass are the Rams, Bucs, and Jets.
The Redskins ended up 12th in rushing yards allowed (1,722) in 2014. They allowed 4.1 yards per rush, which is a slight edge over league average and Washington gave up 11 rushing TDs.
DE Jason Hatcher returns as their best pass rusher (eight sacks, six QB hits, and 26 QB hurries). Jason tends to be only league average against the run. He played his best ball in 2013 when he recorded 11 sacks. His downside is that he'll start the year at 33. DT Terrance Knighton will hopefully stabilize the middle of the line against the run. Knighton has been strong edge against the run in the last two years with serviceable value in the pass rush. He is a clear upgrade from the 2014 roster. DE Stephen Paea is coming off his best season in the league (five sacks, 11 QB hits, and 31 QB hurries) after being selected in the second round in 2011. His game has been a liability against the run as this point of his career, but he was much improved in this area over the last 11 games in 2014 with the Bears.
LB Ryan Kerrigan is the only impact player left on the Redskin roster with LB Brian Orakpo no longer on the team. Ryan is a great edge in the pass rush (13 sacks, nine QB hits, and 51 QB hurries) while being a below league average player against the run. Kerrigan was drafted in the first round in 2011. LB Keenan Robinson struggled against the run with weak value in the pass rush in his first season as starter. Keenan was drafted in the fourth round in 2012. LB Perry Riley had just about no value in the pass rush in 2014 while delivering only league average value against the run. LB Preston Smith is expected to move into the starting lineup after being selected in the second round in this year's draft. Smith should add to the run defense with speed being his biggest asset.
Washington Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan
CB DeAngelo Hall missed most of 2014 with a torn Achilles. Hall is long time NFL veteran with over 10 years of experience, but he is reaching the end of his career. DeAngelo hasn't been anything but a league average player over his last couple of years and his recent injuries will drops his game down a notch further. CB Chris Culliver has a short NFL resume of being a starter while playing well in pass coverage in 2014 as a starter for the 49ers. S Dashon Goldson has really been a train wreck in his last two seasons in the league with high risk in the passing game. In 2012, Dashon played above the league average against the run and pass. S Duke Ihenacho is expected to have the inside track on the other starting safety job. He missed most of last season with a broken bone in his heel. In 2013 with the Broncos, Duke had no value in pass coverage.
Washington finished with 36 sacks last year while allowing the 24th most passing yards (249.4). They only had seven interceptions with opposing QBs tossing 35 TDs.
This defense really lacks playmakers in the secondary with risk across the board against the pass. The Redskins will need growth in their pass rush to limit the window in the passing game. I expect reasonable play against the run. Overall, Washington has much more risk than reward on defense. At best, they will be an occasional matchup play against a weak offense.