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Fantasy focus: Redskins, Cowboys, Ravens oh my

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Fantasy focus: Redskins, Cowboys, Ravens oh my

Earlier this week I posted a few of my pre-preseason fantasy footballtakes on various Redskins with a link to all 15 profiles. In addition to the locals, I wrote up thoughts on theCowboys, Eagles and Ravens.Regardless of one's personal take, beef or sports loathing toward those franchises, they all have star or intriguing players fantasy owners must target or at least monitor. I get that "rooting" for Tony Romo or DeSean Jackson creates an awkward situation for Redskins' fans, put to paraphrase Hyman Roth from Godfather 2,this is the game we've chosen.

Click on each team name for the full monty of profiles, which for each includes quarterbacks (2), running backs (4), wide receivers (4), tight ends (2), a kicker (two in the case of the Redskins) and defensespecial teams. You can also click here for some of my other fantasy football thoughts, podcast style.Since we all love a good sampler course, I served up one profile for each team below...

Washington Redskins-TE Fred Davis.: Based on talent and potential, Davis is a legitmate TE1 with upside rivaling those not named Gronk, Graham and Finley. However he's one failed drug test away from a year-long suspension. Playing on a one-year deal, Davis likely stays on the good behavior path and could easily top the Redskins in receptions. One to watch if you miss out on the high-end options.Dallas Cowboys - RB Felix Jones: Bad news for anyone who typically avoids the Felix Jones hype train: many more people are now on your side. After laboring through the Cowboys' first five games last season, injuries slowed Jones (shocker!) and DeMarco Murray happened. Both are training room regulars so a depth chart is possible, but for now Jones is the other guy and a fantasy reserve.

Philadelphia Eagles-WR Jeremy Maclin: Entered 2011 battling a mystery illness. Ended the season leading the Eagles in receptions. Missed three games or likely would have topped 1,000 yards for the first time as a pro. The safer of the Philly starting receivers and yet his skill set pops. Entering camp healthy should boost Maclin's numbers. Strong second fantasy receiver.

Baltimore Ravens -WR Torrey Smith: The true definition of a home run hitting receiver. Smith blazed onto the scene in Week 3 with five receptions for 152 yards and three touchdowns. Topped the catches and yardage total in Week 10 later. In all other games, went over 80 yards just once. Tremendous potential, especially once he learns how to run routes. Certainly a fun pick and fine as a low-end WR2, better as an all-upside WR3. Ben Standigblogs about the Redskins, Wizards, Hoyas and the D.C.area college basketball scene for CSNwashington. You can reach him by email at bstandig@comcast.net,follow him on Twitter @BenStandigand catch his musingsat the D.C. Sportalist.

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Gruden presser wrapup: Even he's not sure what a catch is

Gruden presser wrapup: Even he's not sure what a catch is

ASHBURN, VA—Here is a look at what Jay Gruden covered in his Monday news conference after the Redskins’ win over the Giants.

—We hit on some of the major injury news but there is the complete list: “DeAngelo [Hall], torn ACL, has surgery – he’ll be out for the season. [Bashaud] Breeland, he got an MRI, he has strained tendons in his ankle – he’ll be week to week. Shawn Lauvao has a moderate ankle sprain, we’re going to evaluate him on a week-to-week basis. [Kory] Lichtensteiger has a moderate calf strain, again, week-to-week. [Josh] Doctson went out to pregame warmup and could not push off the way he wanted to, his Achilles was too sore, so we’ve just got to continue to treat him and figure out the roots of the problem and try to get it fixed. DeSean Jackson aggravated his knee and ankle, came back and finished the game. And [Dashaun] Phillips has a hamstring strain. That is it.”

—Gruden said that the loss of a veteran leader like Hall was a big one. “It’s a lot. He’s a captain, you know? He’s coming along, playing a lot better and better at safety, so it’s pretty significant.”

—He tried to sell the 0-3 Browns as a big threat but he wasn’t very convincing. “It’s a tough opponent, very good coaching staff, and got a lot of work to do.”

—Kirk Cousins was pretty good according to the coach but they need to get touchdowns in the red zone. “We tried a quarterback draw one time and we missed the hole a little bit. Had a couple throws that were covered, just couldn’t get it done. Can’t put a finger on one person in that area. It’s not all on Kirk,”

—Going into it, Gruden was about as confident as a coach could be on the fake punt play in the third quarter. “We did it in practice and Tress Way has a great arm – very accurate. Coaching staff on the special teams side of it saw that it was a possibility. We practiced it. He caught it every time but the first day in the walkthrough.”

—A majority of those in the press box plus the TV broadcast crew all thought that David Bruton had made a spectacular interception when he ripped the ball away from Odell Beckham in the end zone. So did Gruden. “I’ve heard that everybody says it was an interception except for the replay guy. I don’t know what the rule is. We just have got to live by it. I thought his elbow was down, I thought his butt was down, I thought he had control of the ball.” Gruden admitted that, like most of us, he doesn’t know what a catch is.

—The Redskins aren’t thinking about cranking out another winning streak like the one late last year that got them into the playoffs. “Yeah, I think the only thing you can do is… the ultimate clich√© is take it one game at a time. That’s the only thing can do. You can’t look ahead.”

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Why all options are on the table for Redskins' offensive line

Why all options are on the table for Redskins' offensive line

Facing multiple injuries, all options on table for Redskins O-line, including Trent Williams at guard.

For the second year in a row Redskins left guard Shawn Lauvao got injured playing against the New York Giants in Week 3. Lauvao's injury, combined with an injury to center Kory Lichtensteiger, left the Washington offensive line in disrepair. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that both offensive linemen are now on a week to week basis, and it sounds quite possible neither player will go next week against Cleveland. The coach called both injuries "moderate" - ankle sprain for Lauvao and calf strain for Lichtensteiger. 

The injuries mean the 'Skins are likely to bring in new linemen, particularly at center. 

"We're going to have to," Gruden said when asked about new help for the line. 

Once Lauvao and Lichtensteiger were injured in the Giants game, Gruden was forced to try an interesting combination. Veteran left tackle Trent Williams slid down to guard and Ty Nsekhe took over for Williams at tackle.

Importantly for the 'Skins, the results weren't bad.  

"He's so good at tackle but he actually played pretty darn good at guard," Gruden said of Williams. 

"He's a great athlete, probably be a good center too," the coach joked. 

MORE REDSKINS: NEXT MAN UP IS ROOKIE IN WASHINGTON

But Williams playing more guard should not be laughed at. The Redskins showed some of their best run game of the season late in the win against New York with Williams lined up next to Nsekhe.

Further, the coaching staff has repeatedly talked about how much they like Nsekhe as a tackle but that there was no spot for him with Williams and Morgan Moses healthy. As unusual as it sounds, with Williams at guard allows Nsekhe to get on the field at tackle. 

The Redskins do have another option in house: Arie Kouandjio. In his second year out of Alabama, Kouandjio has the size needed to play guard, but he is yet to be active on gameday this season and has been considered more of a development project than a player that is ready to roll. 

If Kouandjio is ready, he can play left guard and Williams stays in his normal spot at left tackle, protecting Kirk Cousins' blind side. 

"We'll just have to evaluate that situation and see how it goes, see how Arie does at left guard," Gruden said. "Ty is an excellent player, there's no question about it, but to move your Pro Bowl left tackle out of the mix to guard is something that's a little unique and hard to do."

Scot McCloughan made some strong moves last season bringing in players as injuries impacted the Redskins. Looks like the GM will again have that opportunity, this time on the offensive line.