The Washington Redskins head into the 2020-21 NFL season, breathing a breath of fresh air, many longtime fans would say.
2019 started like most common horror films do. The monster behind the mask/mic, dominates the script. He has his way with the townspeople, wreaking havoc and misery. The incurable, hopelessness of the pandemonium, lingers through the air, as days turn into months. Questions swirl throughout the township, ” If it’s gone on this long, will we be able to stop him in TIME???!!! before seasons end, and the rookie QB misses snaps….”
Dark times are heavy in the nations capital….
Then as the first frost hits the brown, wilted foliage, a shadow emerges from his slumber upon his new, $100 million boat. The figure grabs a carton of KOOL 100s, then proceeds to grab a button out of his pocket… Wait. He HAD THAT BUTTON THIS WHOLE TIME!!!!!??
The magic button was pushed… Jay Gruden is OUT as Head Coach of Washington after an 0-5 start and dead last in most offensive categories and a defense with no real identity.
A town now has a shred of hope. That button, they have heard of for so long, isn’t an urban legend handed down from family to family for generations, it can be pushed.
Let us not forget about General Manager Bruce Allen, who had put Gruden in the position to coach for his job. Allen was let go in December, ending his decade of being Snyder’s most trusted advisor. Is that button stuck? Or is it possible, just maybe, Dan the Boatman, is trying to do right for the Washington fans? Well…
The New Hope
Less than a month after Allen was let go, Washington and owner Dan Snyder wasted no time naming Ron Rivera, the 30th head coach in team history.
With the season already in the dumps, focus now moves to the new kid in town. The 15th overall pick in the first round of the 2019 draft quarterback Dwyane Haskins from Ohio State.
Former Head Coach Jay Gruden was not enamored with the pick of Haskins and dedicated his time to getting any other quarterback on the roster ready to play. Pressed into the game week four Haskins was an unorepared 9/17 with 107 yards and 3 interceptions.
Once Gruden was dismissed and Haskins was better prepared his game started to pick up. While still inconsistent, Haskins put up a 7/3 TD/int ration the last 7 games.
The jury is still out on Haskins but there is hope. He has looked like a hard worker this offseason and seems to be connecting with new OC Scott Turner. If Turner can put Haskins big arm to work down field he could develop into a mid QB2 moving forward and have QB1 upside.
The running back room is a mix of old and new.
The old – Adrian Peterson. The ageless wonder says he wants to play 3-4 more years. And while his burst and long speed only occasionally show up, his will, determination, and ability to execute the play remain. At this point, Peterson is likely just a handcuff.
The new – Derrius Guice. It would seem after a couple of years of injuries Guice may be running out of time. Still, when he has been healthy, Guice has run with power and excitement. A rock-solid specimen, if Guice can stay healthy, he will be a force to be reckoned with. Though, if I am rostering him, I will be looking for a sell-high opportunity.
The very new – Antonio Gibson. Gibson was drafted in the 3rd round of this year’s NFL draft. The Memphis Tigers standout played primarily at wide receiver but knows his way around the backfield as well.
Standing 6′ 0″ 220 pounds, running the 40-yard dash in, 4.39 seconds, Gibson averaged 8.4 ypc and 13.1 yards per target at Memphis. This kid is electric. Can turn a game in the blink of an eye. With speedsters like Scary Terry lined up, Kelvin Harmon on outside, Gibson could be the missing link for opening up more of the playbook. The same way Christian McCaffery and DJ Moore opened up the Carolina Panthers playbook, while Rivera was there.
“Scary” Terry, put up one of the most impressive rookie seasons you will see. On a team rife with disfunction all McLaurin did was put his 4.35 speed to work for 58 catches on 93 targets for 919 yards and 7 touchdowns.
McLaurin was the 25th ranked ppr fantasy wide receiver from weeks 1-16 his rookie year in 2019. With Haskins getting a year of seasoning and a coach willing to give him a legitimate shot, McLaurin is primed to challenge for a WR1 spot. I am looking to grab McLaurin ahead of his ADP 82 overall and WR28 in startup drafts.
All You Others
The rest of the wide receiver room is up for grabs, with the likes of Kelvin Harmon, Steven Sims, Trey Quinn, and rookie Antonio Gandy-Golden vying for snaps.
Sims and Quinn are going to battle for the slot role. Sims looks to be the favorite to win the job after coming on in 2019. The outside spot is Harmon’s right now, but AGG is a highly regarded rookie out of Liberty University.
Kelvin Harmon– The second-year wideout hardly sniffed the field his rookie season in 2019. As mentioned above, with quick off the line and shifty slot wide receivers, this should bring opportunity to the wide catch radius, and ability to get by cornerbacks to stretch the field.
The tight end position is entirely up for grabs. With the retirement of Vernon Davis and the release of Jordan Reed, who should retire due to multiple concussions, there is a lot of unknown. Jeremy Sprinkle is a popular late-round flyer at the tight end position. Unfortunately, with speedy, shifty receivers such as Scary Terry, Steven Sims, Trey Quinn, the tight end position could end up being too late to get in on those targets. Avoid…
New Head Coach Ron Rivera brings with him a more fantasy-friendly base defense. Washington has been known for its 3-4 defense over the past decade, not allowing us to use outside rushing linebackers as a defensive end on our IDP fantasy rosters. IDP owners rejoice!!! The switch to 4-3 base defense by Head Coach Ron will open a whole new plethora of IDP goodness!!!
Chase Young DE
The number two overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Young will step in and make an immediate impact. Young had 16.5 sacks as a senior and 30 sacks in three years at the Ohio State University. I’d temper my expectations in year one, but I am not opposed to grabbing him a little early to provide depth for 2020 and a stud going forward.
Ryan Kerrigan DE
Although we get to see Kerrigan come strictly off the edge for the first time in his career, the young talent now in town could push the vet to sub package plays. After drafting Montez Sweat in 2019 and Young in 2020 the Redskins are flush with edge talent. Kerrigan may lose some snaps now that there is an abundance of talent in D.C.
Montez Sweat DE
Second-year man Sweat looks to be a bit of a bargain when compared N. Bosa, J. Allen, M. Crosby, but comes with an equally high ceiling. If you are unable to snare one of the “name” edge rushers, Sweat make a nice consolation prize. But, don’t wait too long as many are aware of his talent.
DaRon Payne DT
Payne looks to benefit from the talent coming off the edges of the Washinton defense. With the opposing offensive line having so many quick, agile, edge rushers to double team the former All-American DT should EAAAATTTT this year and foreseeable future.
Thomas Davis won’t be the best dynasty option as he has been in the NFL for many moons. He does have familiarity with the new head coach’s defensive system. If the veteran stays healthy, he could be in line for a ton of cleanup tackles. If you are making a playoff run, Davis is the kind of asset that may be had cheaply.
Cole Holecomb looks to man the OLB spot in the new 4-3 alignment. After racking up 105 total tackles the is hope for continued production.
Landon Collins signed in 2019 as a free agent and laid down 117 total tackles, including tying his career-high 9 TFL. If you have to start a DB, the 6th year man should be on your radar.
That’s a Wrap
The Redskins have some young players that need to prove they can produce consistently (McLaurin, Sweat) or stay healthy (Guice). I will be looking for these players to fall to a value point where I can not pass on them for the most part.
I’m looking for Haskins, McLaurin, and Guice to step up and move this team forward under the calm hand of Riverboat Ron.
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