Combining my roles as contributor on the Redskins Talk blog and Fantasy Football savant (or at least FFToolbox writer and podcast host ), heres my latest look at the Redskins fantasy options. QB: What remains clear at least until the Shanahans take the leash off their prized pupil and open up the playbook is that Robert GriffinIIIis not a fantasy starter but remains one to own. The top 12, from Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady to Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, are (barring injury) still set in stone (the players more than the exact order). While Jay Cutler and Matt Schaub are next up, especially as in case of emergency backup (think Michael Vick or Manning) , Bob Griffins upside is next followed by the true line of QB2 demarcation. Perhaps Andrew Luck makes it a foursome by the time your league drafts, but thats about it. For now, dont draftRG3 to start no matter how deep your burgundy and gold fandom runs, but youre hardly a homer takinghim around theeighth round in 12-team leagues.RB: Wow does this get uglier by the minute. Bad enough, from a clear-cut fantasy perspective, that hes not the Redskins starter, but now Roy Helu is dealing with Achilles tendon issues. For now, the seriousness of the injury remains unclear; this is also how fantasy football owners should view the overall backfield. Assuming he misses no time, Helu (No. 23 RB and pre-injury revelation rank) remains the best bet even with 12-15 touches a game. Based on his elusiveness and the productivity shown last season, he remains around the outer mark of the top 25 runners (discussing Helu plus those RBs above and belowhim on Tuesday's podcast). However, that rank comes not with a bullet but a question mark. Theres the history of Shananigans (i.e. frequently changing primary options). The current starting status of Evan Royster (not blown away by the beefier option, but if he is the short yardage back, worth a late round flyer). The uncertainty of Tim Hightowers health and role (let your other Redskins buddy draft him). In addition, RG3s legs will find the end zone way more than last years QB options. If you feel compelled to have a Redskin on your team, let it be at another positionWR:...like this one. From the physical Pierre Garcon (moving closer to WR2 territory) to the slot target and reshaped Santana Moss (potential steal as a WR4) to the up-and-coming Leonard Hankerson (tons of sleeper buzz for the red zone threat), there are plenty of options here for 12-team leaguers. As for Garcon, Ive been touting his fantasy goodness for weeks and backing up the talk as hes the only player on both of my industry league rosters (June and July mocks). Josh Morgan remains a waiver wire play and while his rise could enhance the Redskins offense, it could muddle the status for Moss.TE: Though currently ranked No. 7 at his position, it would be nice to see Fred Davis and his new QB show more on-field rapport than reports have currently suggested. More to the point, of Garcon is truly RG3s main target, Daviss lofty status could take a minor dip since it factors in the rookie QBs love throwing to their tight end premise is in play. Regardless, draft Davis with confidence -- and just hope hes also on his best off-field behavior.Defense: Personally, Id move this unit (25th overall) up into more the bye-week option range on the strength of the front-7, but the reality is the secondary is kind of scary. If the move inside turns DeAngelo Hall back into a playmaker then combined with the Orakpo-Kerrigan pass rush, this group has some juice. Not draftable, but interesting in Week 2 against the Rams.Kicker: Until we know who wins the job officially, dont take Neil Rackers or Graham Gano. Realistically, you shouldnt draft either booter of the ball regardless.Ben Standig blogs about the Redskins, Wizards, Hoyas and the D.C.area college basketball scene for CSNwashington. You can reach him by email at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter @BenStandig and catch his musings at the D.C. Sportalistand his fantasy football thoughts at FFToolbox.com.
Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 25, 12 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.
—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 4
—NFL Combine (3/2) 5
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 51
—NFL Draft (4/27) 61
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 197
The Redskins week that was
Here is my take on some of the week’s top stories from Real Redskins and CSN Mid Atlantic.
Cousins trade to 49ers could happen at combine, per NFL analyst—The Redskins must decide if they are ever going to sign Kirk Cousins long term. If the answer is no, they must figure out if they are better off having him around for one year prior to losing him without compensation or trying to trade him now. It is possible to simultaneously believe that the Redskins should sign Cousins for the long term but that trading him may be necessary.
RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0
Will McCloughan go defense in 1st round? If the best player available plays defense, he will. If he doesn’t I’m just going to have to shut down Twitter for a while. Or maybe I won’t have to since it will crash.
Under the radar issues for the Redskins—The offseason checklist has more than quarterback, D-line and wide receiver on it. The nine draft picks they have will be critical as they try to build on 2016’s occasionally frustrating results.
Why can't the Redskins sign Garcon and Jackson? That question is easy to answer—with Jamison Crowder due to get an extension next year they will run into cap problems if they bring both of them back. It does look like the numbers will work with one of them coming back, however, and if they do let both walk it will be a head-scratcher.
More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?
Can McCoy produce similar results at less cost than Cousins? With Colt McCoy under contract for $3 million and a potential Cousins tag costing nearly $24 million some at Redskins Park are wondering if Cousins is eight times better than McCoy and if he’s not, why pay him? This is kind of a silly question, like asking if Trent Williams is 15 times better than Ty Nsekhe or if Josh Norman is 20 times better than Kendall Fuller. The question is, does that player at that key position good enough to play his part in getting the team into the playoffs? McCoy hasn’t proven that he is, while Cousins has been to the playoffs once and just missed last year. The proven ability to do something counts for a lot in the form of the number of zeros in a player’s paycheck.
Tandler on Twitter
In case you missed it
- Redskins have cap room for a top free agent addition at safety
- Redskins' Cousins called a 'mercenary' and that's a goo...
- Redskins offseason questions: Can Cousins take the next step in 2017?
- Good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football
- Uncertainty at QB impacts Redskins' pursuit of free agent WRs
The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.
That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.
Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?
Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.
For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016.
In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it.
Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.
I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.
To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.
Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will.
More offseason questions:
Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!