2019 Washington Redskins
Head Coach- Jay Gruden
Offensive Coaching Philosophy- Somewhat Aggressive
What to Expect- Jay Gruden likes to pass. His team has ranked in the top dozen in passing most years. Losing veteran QB Alex Smith really crippled this team in 2018. Gruden also likes his QB to take deep shots down the field. He’s got a rookie QB with a rocket for an arm in Dwayne Haskins who can do that. The defense is pretty good. A wiser course of action might be to play conservatively to avoid turnovers. Whatever Gruden decides the pressure is on. Dan Snyder expects to win. If Washington struggles Jay might be joining his brother Jon out in Las Vegas next year. Place your bets.
Quarterback- Alex Smith’s horrific injury really derailed Washington’s season last year. The club signed free agent Case Keenum who only made it one year in Denver before having GM John Elway ship him out of town. In April Washington let the draft come to them and selected Ohio state QB Dwayne Haskins. Haskins only has one year of experience, but it was a good year. He threw 50 TDs in only 14 games! Word is not everyone in Washington’s draft room was on board with this pick. This was owner Daniel Snyder using his veto power. My best guess is that Haskins probably starts the year as a backup, but one lousy outing by Keenum and Haskins will get the call. Haskins is a big guy and has a gun for an arm. One of his weaknesses is his lack of mobility. He’s a pocket passer- so don’t expect a lot of rushing stats to pad those fantasy scores. Scouting comps I’ve seen are Drew Bledsoe and Joe Flacco.
Running Back-The highest ranked fantasy RB in D.C. is Derrius Guice. Guice was a star at LSU- some scouts had him ranked higher than Leonard Fournette which is telling. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn ACL last summer which ended his 2018 before it started. His offseason has been tough. He’s had several surgeries because of complications- not a good sign and it usually takes two years for most athletes to feel close to 100% from a torn ACL. It sounds like Washington will manage Guice’s workload and keep him on a play count. He’s a power back. A 1st and 2nd down guy. He doesn’t catch the ball much. Last year Washington signed Adrian Peterson and he delivered for them. He’s clearly not the same elite RB he was with Minnesota, but he can be serviceable. Chris Thompson returns and should be healthier this year. He was never healthy in 2018. It was a mistake for Washington to play him to start the year instead of letting him heal. Thompson is a receiving back, not a workhorse. Expecting a repeat of 2017 stats is unrealistic. The club drafted Bryce Love from Stanford. Love is coming off his own torn ACL in December 2018. He shouldn’t be a factor in 2018. Best guess is a RBBC involving Guice, AP, and Thompson.
Wide Receiver/Tight Ends- Washington’s best receiving weapon is tight end, Jordan Reed. Reed is a matchup nightmare who is too big for cornerbacks and too fast for linebackers to cover. He’s also injury prone. Last year was a down year for him. You should be able to draft him late so the price is right. He’s worth a shot on his talent alone. The other tight end is Vernon Davis. Davis is 35- expecting much at this stage is unrealistic. At WR are:: Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, and rookie Terry “I am” McLaurin (that’s a McLovin reference from the movie Superbad folks) . Doctson has been a 1st round bust for Washington. Injuries have sidelined him. Washington didn’t pick up his 5th year option- he has a lot to prove to the staff this year. McLaurin is a speedster. He’ll have no problem developing chemistry with Haskins who was his college teammate at Ohio St. Paul Richardson is a shorter WR who can fly as well. The dicey QB situation and Doctson’s health make this group risky to invest in.
Offensive Line- OK- UPDATE Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff are the anchors. They’re very good when healthy. This line has been decimated with injuries in the past. Note that recent news is that Trent Williams is demanding to be released or traded over the way the team handled his medical issues. This is big news and needs to be monitored closely. Ereck Flowers is a former 1st round cast off from the Giants and Jacksonville. I mean how bad are things when you’re taking retreads from the Giants & Jaguars lines? Washington can ill afford to lose their best lineman. If Williams leaves the grade drops from OK down to poor.
Schedule- Tough The schedule makers did Washington no favors this year. They have the Bears, @Vikings, New England, not to mention division rivals Philadelphia and Dallas twice.
Bye- Week 10
Playoff Schedule- weeks 14-17- OK - it’s not awful but it’s not great either @ Green Bay, vs Philadelphia, vs NY Giants, @ Dallas. @Green Bay is do able if they can handle the cold weather. The NY Giants D is nowhere close to posing a threat. Philadelphia and Dallas, however, could be problematic. Their defensive lines are daunting. Good thing Washington signed Erick Flowers from free agency to be a starter- ugh!
Undervalued- TE Jordan Reed (Fantasy Pros #17 ranked TE) He’s worth a shot late. The problem with Reed is injuries not talent. However, a rookie QB most likely getting the call limits his upside. Most QBs struggle their first year.
Bust- Derrius Guice (Fantasy Pros #26 ranked RB)
Bottom Line- Despite Jay Gruden’s offensive mind (remember Sean McVay learned under him before going to the LA Rams) it doesn’t seem like he has the pieces to succeed this year. Injuries to the line and key playmakers like Alex Smith, Derrius Guice, Josh Doctson, and Jordan Reed have derailed the offensive firepower. Word is Gruden is on the hot seat this year. Add in the pressure to start rookie QB Dwayne Haskins with one year of college experience and things could go south quickly. Guice’s offseason recovery from knee surgery had complications. Consider drafting him in 2020, but not in 2019. He needs a healthy offseason to prepare and more volume to warrant his current mid round price tag. Jordan Reed is worth a shot because of the cheap price. If the offensive line gets decimated with injuries again- it will be a long year. Even if they manage to stay healthy. Ereck Flowers remains a weak link. Mobility is not Haskins strength. He needs a clean pocket to be successful.