Washington last won a Super Bowl in 1991 under the legendary Joe Gibbs (154-94 with three Super Bowl titles). Jay Gruden has 28-35-1 career record with one playoff appearance in four seasons. He has three years of experience as an offensive coordinator for the Bengals while being a coach in the NFL for 14 seasons.
The Redskins lost their way offensively in 2017 leading to a drop to 16th in offensive yards from third in 2016. They scored 54 fewer points (342 – 16th) than the previous season (342). Matt Cavanaugh was promoted from quarterback’s coach to offensive coordinator in 2017. Matt has 13 years of experience running the offense for three other franchises highlighted by a Super Bowl win with the Ravens in 2000. Also, Cavanaugh has nine seasons of experience in the league as a quarterback’s coach.
The defense in Washington has been a problem for the last six years. Last year they finished 27th in points allowed (388) and 21st in yards allowed. Over the last three seasons, the Redskins gave up almost 24 points per game. Greg Manusky gets a second chance as the defensive coordinator after being the linebackers coach in 2016. Greg has ten seasons in the NFL as a defensive coordinator.
The biggest lost in D.C. over the winter was QB Kirk Cousins. He signed a big contract for the Vikings after the Redskins failed to get a deal done. Washington went to the trade market to find a stable veteran option at QB with Alex Smith. He has a winning resume with the Chiefs while showing growth in his game in 2017.
Washington signed WR Paul Richardson to replace WR Terrelle Pryor and WR Ryan Grant who found other jobs in the NFL. Pryor was a bust in 2017 after shining the previous year for the Browns. Richardson only has WR3 upside.
The Redskins released C Spencer Long, LB Trent Murphy, and TE Niles Paul. Long has never been an asset in his four seasons in the NFL. Last year he missed most of the last nine games with knee injury. Murphy set a career high in sacks (9) and tackles (47) in his third year in the NFL after being selected in the second in 2015. Paul was only a low-level backup option at TE in his career.
They signed P Sam Irwin-Hill, LB Pernell McPhee, and CB Orlando Scandrick. McPhee projects as a rotational player with some value in sacks. Scandrick is at the tail end of his career while expecting to work as CB3.
The only other player of value that remains unsigned is CB Bashaud Breeland.
With the 13th overall pick, Washington invested in DT Da’Ron Payne. His game is built on power and strength leading to a huge edge against the run. His follow through in the pass rush tends to be boring if stalemated at the line of scrimmage. Da’Ron has more speed than initial quickness off the snap. Washington had the worst defense vs. the run in 2017, so he’s natural upgrade to the defense.
The quest for a dynamic runner came in the second round with RB Derrius Guice. He comes to the NFL with a fighter feel, which gives him a chip on his shoulder. His size (5’11” and 224 Lbs.) suggests a power, north/south runner, but his vision and overall speed (4.49) point to a complete back. Guice runs with patience with a knack of finishing his runs. His physical style invites injury risk. Derrius should be able to handle his pass blocking responsibilities, but his game as a receiver doesn’t project high enough to be a three-down back early in his career. In given space at the second level of the defense, Guice can finish a long run for a TD.
To help upgrade the run game, Washington took a dance with OT Geron Christian in the third round. He needs to add more strength in his upper body to improve his success in run blocking on quick hitting plays. His foot speed grades well in pass protection while showing the ability to be a move blocker. Christian comes with good base techniques except for his hands, which may come with more fire in his guns. His next step in his development comes from deciding when to attack or let the defender come to him.
The next four draft picks were dictated toward the defensive side of the ball – S Troy Apke, DT Tim Settle, LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, and CB Greg Stroman.
Apke offers dynamic speed (4.34) from the safety positions with great short area quickness. He plays with vision, but his strength and finishing ability aren’t where it needs to be an edge in the NFL. Troy tends to be a thinker while learning the safety position, which puts him behind the play at times. His instincts when the ball is in the air tends to be late vs. top WR talent.
Settle projects as a big-bodied run stopper with surprising agility and quickness for a man his size (6’3” and 329 lbs.). He’ll continue to battle his weight, but he has the mentality to work hard with a high motor on the field. Tim will become a better player with a leaner waistline, which will help his conditioning and balance in the heat of the battle.
Mr. Hamilton struggled with two injuries (torn right ACL and broken knee cap) over his last two seasons at Alabama. When healthy, Shaun should be an edge against the run while playing with a high football intellect. His lack of size (6’0” and 228 lbs.) hurts his upside in the pass rush while also taking a hit if he lacks a clean run to the ball carrier.
Stroman has playmaking skills along with a high level in technique in his off the ball footwork in the backpedal and reaction skills on his breaks. His downside comes with a small frame (5’11” and 182 lbs.) leading to risk in his tackling skills. Greg needs to add more bulk and strength to earn more playing time at the next level.
With their last draft selection in the seventh round, Washington added WR Trey Quinn. In the NFL, Quinn will need to earn his keep out the slot where his quickness and route running will offer the most value. Trey comes with good hands while needing to add more strength. Scouts question his value in the deep passing game, which is using an old-school mentality. Quinn has a short resume of success, and he’ll have to prove he can beat better defenders in the NFL.
The Redskins ranked 28th in rushing yards (1,448) in 2017 with ten TDs. Their runners gained over 20 yards on three plays, which was 16 lower than the top teams in the league.
Washington finished 12th in passing yards (3,751) with 27 TDs and 13 Ints. Their offensive line allowed 41 sacks and 98 QB hits.
LT Trent Williams missed six games in 2017 with a knee injury that required surgery in late December. While on the field, Trent played below his best years while still being an asset in run and pass blocking. He did miss four games in 2016 due to a suspension for failing a drug test. Washington drafted him fourth overall in 2010. When healthy, Williams is one of the better left tackles in the league.
LG Shaun Lauvao is penciled in to start, but his career resume points to job loss risk. Only twice in his seven years in the league has Shaun delivered league average value with each losing season turning into a disaster.
C Chase Roullier started seven of the last ten games for Washington last year while missing three games with a broken right hand. It was his first season with playing time in the NFL after being drafted the sixth round in 2015.
RG Brandon Scherff has been an asset in each year in the league after getting drafted in the first round in 2015. He’s improved each season while developing into a top player for his position in run blocking.
RT Morgan Moses played at a high level in 2016 and 2017 after struggling in his rookie year, but he had regression last season. His best value tends to be in run blocking. Washington rewarded him with a five-year extension in April of 2017. Morgan is a former third-round pick.
I expect Washington to get rookie T Geron Christian in the starting line up in some way, which will force Shaun Lauvao to a bench role. Christian probably doesn’t have the strength to move to guard, which may force Scherff and Moses to switch positions as well.
Without Lauvao in the starting lineup, the Redskins have two strong options on their offensive line with a chance to have two other players that offer league average value. The center position is going to be a problem. Overall, I give this line a chance to rank above the 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 touchdowns (TDs), completions (COMP), passing attempts (PATT), passing yards (YDS), yards per attempt passing (YA), and passing touchdowns (TDS).
This information is based on 2017, which will work as our starting point for 2018. 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.
2017 LG Average = the league average of all stats from all 32 teams in 2017.
2017 Results = this is the results for each team in the NFL.
2017 Adjustment is based on the 2017 league average and the 2017 results for each team, this number will show if each team is above or below the league average in each stat category and the basis for the strength of schedule.
The Redskins have five games (ARI, CAR, TEN, and PHI) against teams that played well defending the run last seasons. Three of those games come over the last five weeks of the season. They don’t have one game vs. a team that struggled against the run. The best two match-ups look to be against the Giants on the ground.
Washington only has one game (JAX) against a team with strength defending the pass. They have three favorable games (TB and NYG X 2) for their passing attack plus three other mid-tier match-ups (TEN, IND, and GB).
Washington would like to be a balanced team, but they need better talent at RB. Last year they threw the ball 57.4 percent of the time, but they still ranked just below the league average in passing attempts per game (33.9). The change in QB will lead to a ball control type offensive with Alex Smith owning a similar skill set as Kirk Cousins.
QB Alex Smith – From 2011 to 2017, Smith was one of the best QBs in the league winning games. He went 69-31-1 over this span with a winning record each year. Despite only passing for 4,000 yards (4,042 in 2017) once in his career and never throwing over 26 TDs, Alex won games by not making mistakes (43 Ints over his 102 games). His completion rate has been exceptional in 2016 (67.1) and 2017 (67.5) while setting a career high in yards per pass attempts (8.6) last year. He led the NFL in QB rating (104.7) in 2017. Some of his growth last year can be attributed to more willingness to throw the ball downfield thanks to a hotshot QB sitting behind him on the bench. Over his last 76 games, Alex rushed for 1,672 yards with ten rushing TDs. Last year the Redskins’ QBs passed for 4,093 yards with 26 TDs while also rushing the ball 49 times for 179 yards and four TDs. I do believe Kirk Cousins has more talent, but Smith should fit this offense like a glove. In essence, Washington added a winning QB who produced almost identical stats in 2017 as their production at QB. The big difference in this equation is that the Chiefs had an elite TE and developing speedy WR. I view Alex as backup Fantasy QB with game management skills. He should pass for 4,000 yards with some value in the run game and about league average TDs. His key to his success is a healthy season from Jordan Reed and growth in Josh Doctson.
Other Options: Colt McCoy, Kevin Hogan
RB Derrius Guice – Over his last two seasons at LSU, Guice rushed for 2,638 yards with 29 TDs plus 27 catches for 230 yards. His yards per rush (7.6) and yards per catch (11.8) were much more impressive in 2016. Those two stats fell to 5.3 and 6.9 last year. The difference in his last two seasons in college came down to more long runs in 2016. Derrius will attack the line of scrimmage if the play calls for him to be a north/south runner plus run with vision and acceleration to the outside. His burst upfield is sneaky leading to defenders being left in the dust if they fail to take the correct angle on a tackle. Guice creates space and separation with his quick cut and the ability to downshift and up-shift in a matter of a couple of steps. He’ll break many tackles while also taking some unnecessary hits in his quest to finish runs. Derrius has a talent for breaking out of tight quarters when a play looks dead in the water. Last season Washington’s RB ran the ball 352 times for 1,269 yards and seven TDs. Their RBs gained only 3.6 yards per rush with only three runs over 20 yards. Guice is a player who will upgrade the Redskins rushing attack and prove to be a factor at the goal line. His passing catching upside will be limited with Chris Thompson scheduled to be the third-down back. Derrius will handle his responsibilities in pass protection while still adding some value in the passing game. He has relatively low mileage in college. I full expect 275+ touches for 1,300+ yards with a chance at double-digit TDs and more than 20 catches. He projects as RB2 with his best value possible coming late in the season.
Update: 8/3/2018 > Maybe I’m being naive or ignorant of the rising draft value of Guice, but the lack of health of Chris Thompson is real. A Fantasy owner needs to keep an open mind when reviewing the backfield in Washington.
Update: 8/11/18 > Unfortunately for Redskins’ fans, Derrius Guice will miss 2018 with a torn ACL.
RB Chris Thompson – Thompson played well in 2016 (705 combined yards with 49 catches and five TDs) while being on a higher path last year (704 combined yards with 39 catches and six TDs). A broken leg in Week 11 led to six missed games. Chris doesn’t have the skill to be an early down back, but he can hit on a long run while being electric in the passing game. His best success in the passing game in 2017 came in Week 3 (6/150/1), Week 6 (4/105), and Week 8 (8/76) with each game coming at home. He even hit on a long run in Week 2 vs. the Rams, which led to 106 combined yards with two TDs and three catches. The Redskins’ RBs caught 86 passes for 885 yards and six TDs on 111 targets in 2017. Thompson will see between five to seven touches per game on early downs while having a chance at about four catches per game. Possible 900 combined yards with a handful of TDs and about 65 catches with a full season of games.
8/3/2018 > Thompson isn’t health heading into August, which paints a lower than expected opportunity over the early part of the season. My sense is that Chris a player to avoid in 2018 adding fuel to the rising value of Derrius Guice.
Update: 8/14/2018 > There still hasn’t been a positive report about Thompson in mid-August. He’s an easy name to be drawn to with Guice out for the season, but he looks like a trap.
RB Samaje Perine – Over three seasons at Oklahoma, Perine rushed for 4,122 yards on 685 carries with 51 TDs. His best year came in his freshman year (1,821 combined yards with 21 TDs and 15 catches) due to splitting touches with Joe Mixon over the last two years. Samaje runs in a similar way as Maurice Jones-Drew where he breaks and sheds tackles at the first and second levels of the defense with an uncanny feel to keep his balance. His best success will come from power while showing sneaky separation speed at the linebacker level when tacklers are trying to get a hand on him. His top gear is well below the top RBs in the league. I don’t think he’ll be dead in the water in the passing game. He caught 40 passes for 321 yards and two TDs in his college career. Most scouts don’t believe in his value on the outside, but I see a player that will win many one-on-one battles in the open field due to his ability to beat up his opponents. In his rookie season, Perine gained 785 combined yards with two TDs and 22 catches on 197 touches. His lack of explosiveness led to one run over 20 yards in his 175 carries. As bad as he may look, Samaje did flash in Week 11 (126 combined yards with one TD and one catch) and Week 12 (130 combined with three catches). In these two games, Perine had 51 combined touches. He’s a must-handcuff to Derrius Guice.
Update: 8/11/18 > Perine should have a great opportunity for touches with Guice out of the year. For now, he’ll compete for Rob Kelley for touches. Over the next three weeks, this situation should be less cloudy.
Update: 8/17/2018 > Samaje Perine flashed on his first and only carry (30 yards) in the Redsskins’ second preseason game, but he suffered an ankle injury. When watching the play again, it appears to be a high-ankle sprain, which tends to kill RBs for multiple weeks. On the positive side, he’ll have 3+ weeks to recover. At this point of the Fantasy draft season, it would tough to commit an early draft pick on Perine even if he does have sneaky upside after the Derrius Guice injury. More a stash player in mid-August.
Rob Kelley (RB) – In 2017, Kelley ended up being a Fantasy bust after a nice season in 2016 (786 combined yards with seven TDs and 12 catches on 180 touches). Last year Rob gained 3.1 yards per rush and 4.5 yards per catch leading to a trip to the IR over the second half of the year. His only game of value in rushing yards came in Week 2 (12/78), but he did score a pair of TDs with short production (14/18/2) in Week 9. In his defense, Kelley suffered a high ankle sprain early in the year plus a rib and knee issue. He came into camp in better shape an effort to gain more playing time. His resume in college is rather boring (1,997 combined yards with 12 TDs and 86 catches on 394 touches) over four seasons at Tulane with short yards per rush (4.0) while flashing more upside than in the passing game (8.5 yards per catch).
Update; 8/14/18 > With Derrius Guice out for the season and Chris Thompson recovering slower than expected for his leg injury in 2017, Kelley has a shot of earning early-down touches or even being a sneaky pass-catching option. His game is built on power, but he has a lot to prove to keep the job all season. Only a late-round flier for me until we have more information for the Redskins coaching staff.
Update: 8/17/2018 > Rob Kelley now becomes the front-runner for early down action for the Redskins, but he didn’t play well this week (seven rushes for 17 yards). Kapri Bibbs didn’t look any better running the ball (five runs for six yards), but he did add value in the passing game (seven catches for 47 yards). For now, I would think of Bibbs as the Chris Thompson insurance.
Martez Carter (RB) – The best runner in Washington in the second preseason game was Martez Carter (45 yards on seven carries). Carter is an undersized back (5’7” and 193 lbs.) with change of pace value in a similar way as Chris Thompson. Over his last three seasons at Grambling State, he rushed for 2,621 yards on 394 carries (6.7 yards per rush) with 29 rushing TDs plus 73 catches for 959 yards and another nine TDs. He gained over 13.0 yards per catch in his college career. If he can handle his pass protection responsibilities, Carter could be a dark horse to be the third down/change of pace back for Washington if Chris Thompson is out longer than expected.
Other Options: Kapri Bibbs, Byron Marshall, Keith Marshall
WR Jamison Crowder – 2017 was a frustrating season for Fantasy owner who drafted Crowder. He looked poised for a breakout season after catching 67 balls for 847 yards and seven TDs on 99 targets in 2016. Terrelle Pryor ended up being a bust last year, which was another plus for Jamison to have success. In the end, Crowder finished with 66 catches for 789 yards and three TDs in 103 targets to rank 33rd in WR scoring in PPR leagues. Jamison did flash in two games at home midseason (9/123 and 7/141/1). Over his nine games, he caught 47 passes for 640 yards and three TDs on 73 targets, which projected over 16 games would have delivered 84 catches for 1,138 yards and five TDs. He missed one game last year with a hamstring injury. Crowder isn’t a big WR (5’9” and 177 lbs.), so a heavy workload may lead to some injury risk. I expect him to be the top receiving option in this offense, and Alex Smith likes to get the ball out quickly if a play breaks down, which works in Jamison’s favor. Excellent value WR3 with a chance to catch 90+ balls for 1,100+ yards with five to seven TDs. His offseason reports have been positive, and Crowder looks motivated to become a better player.
WR Josh Doctson – Over his last two seasons at TCU, Doctson caught 143 passes for 2,344 yards and 15 TDs. His best season came in his senior year when he caught 78 balls for 1,326 yards and 14 TDs over ten games. Josh did miss three games in 2015 due to a wrist injury. Doctson has excellent quickness with an edge in his route running. He needs to add some strength to help his release in press coverage. His hands have a chance to offer upside while owning plus athletic ability. Josh should add big play and scoring ability in his third year in the league. After watching Doctson in action last year, I didn’t get the feeling he was ready to be an impact player. He showed the ability to get behind a defense and make some tough catches. In 2017, there were too many times where he didn’t create separation downfield while coming up short when asked to win jump balls. On the year, Josh caught 35 passes for 502 yards and six TDs on 78 targets. His catch rate (44.9) needs a huge step forward to become a relevant Fantasy option. Last year he never had over four catches in a game while gaining over 65 yards just once. Washington tried to let him shine over the last two games of the season (23 combined targets), but he couldn’t beat the Broncos (2/61/1) or the Giants (4/37) secondaries on enough plays. Doctson has the making of a 65-catch guy for 1,000 yards with some value in TDs. His price in the early draft season (ADP of 121 in the Fantasy Football World Championships) looks to be a buying opportunity. Buy the talent while expecting an improved opportunity and better success catching the ball.
Update: 8/3/2018 > Only a week into training camp and Doctson already has heel and shoulder injuries. His lack of health may lead to disaster risk on draft day with any more negative news.
WR Paul Richardson – The Redskins thought enough of Richardson after two short seasons in the NFL (21/288/1 and 44/703/6) to sign him to a five-year deal worth $40 million. Last season he scored five TDs over his first seven games highlighted by his success in Week 8 (6/105/2). Paul had four catches or fewer in 14 of his 16 games while averaging only five targets per game. His best value came in the deep passing game (13 catches of 20 yards or more and three catches of 40 yards or longer). His skill set does overlap Josh Doctson while offering lower scoring value in the red zone. More of a coin flip for me while expecting him to fall short of being a starting Fantasy WR in PPR leagues. Possible 50 catches for 750 yards and about five TDs while starting as an outside WR for the Redskins.
Other Options: Maurice Harris, Brian Quick, Trey Quinn, Robert Davis, Shay Fields, Simmie Cobbs
TE Jordan Reed – Reed missed the last nine games of 2017 with a hamstring injury. His season started relatively quiet in Week 1 (5/36) and Week 2 (6/48), but a chest injury cost him Week 3. Over his six games played, Jordan only had success in Week 7 (8/64/2) against the Eagles. The only real positive out of last year was that he didn’t success another concussion injury. Over 26 games in 2015 and 2016, Reed caught 153 passes for 1,538 yards and 17 TDs on 203 targets. His success broken down comes to 5.9 catches for 59 yards and 0.65 TDs per game. Jordan is a top TE when healthy, but he carries the threat of having a career-ending concussion. His injury-riddled season in 2017 knocks his draft value into a much favorable area where a Fantasy owner can buy him as an upside TE2. Alex Smith will throw the ball to the TE highlighted by Travis Kelce’s 307 catches over the last four seasons, and the Redskins will look Reed’s way when he’s on the field. 80-type catch TE who may deliver a couple of short games to Fantasy owners after early exits. I’m interested in him for sure if I’m buying at a discount as Jordan has top-five TE talent. Reed had toes surgery as well in the offseason.
TE Vernon Davis – Some wise guy Fantasy owners believed than a Reed/Davis handcuff should still deliver high value in the Fantasy market in 2017. From Week 3 to Week 10, that theory held true as Vernon caught 29 passes for 447 yards and one TD on 40 targets over seven games. Unfortunately, Davis lost his way over the last six games of the season (ten catches for 121 yards and two TDs on 21 targets) thus leaving Fantasy owners with an empty feeling at TE. Vernon failed to catch over two passes in any of his last six games. Last season the Redskins’ TEs caught 85 passes for 966 yards and six TDs on 120 targets. At age 34, the days of trusting Davis as a playable TE are over.
Other Options: Jeremy Sprinkle, Manasseh Garner, Matt Flanagan, Garrett Hudson
K Dustin Hopkins – Over the last two and half seasons with Washington, Hopkins made 83.9 percent of his 87 field goal chances over 39 games. In 2016, he led the NFL with 42 FG tries with four of his eight misses coming from 50 yards or longer (3-for-7). In his career, Dustin made five of his 13 chances from long range while making 93 of his 98 extra point chances. He missed nine games last year with a hip injury. Washington scored 39 TDs in 2017 with only 28 field goal chances. Hopkins isn’t a viable starting Fantasy kicker, but he may develop into a match-up option with better success offensively by the Redskins. Just remember, Alex Smith led the Chiefs to a league-high 45 field goal tries last year.
The Redskins’ run defense will have its hands full in 2018. They have seven games (NO, CAR, DAL X 2, PHI X 2, and JAX) vs. teams that ran the ball well last year. Their best match-ups based on last year’s data come against TB, ARI, and NYG (2), but three of those games having much stronger talent at RB with David Johnson and Saquon Barley added to the lineup this year.
The positive from facing one of the toughest run schedules in the league is a weak schedule for their pass defense. Washington has five games (IND, CAR, DAL X 2, and TEN) against teams that had below par success passing the ball last year plus five games (GB, NYG X 2, HOU, and JAC) that grade as favorable. The Packers, the Colts, the Texans, and the two games vs. the Giants will be much tougher tests in 2018.
The Redskins allowed the most rushing yards (2,146) in the NFL in 2017. Ball carriers gained 4.5 yards per rush with 13 TDs plus 14 runs over 20 yards.
Washington finished 9th in passing yards allowed (3,420) with 23 TDs and 16 Ints. QBs beat them for ten plays for 40 yards or more while their defense picked up 42 sacks.
Rookie DT Da’Ron Payne will start his NFL career at age 21 while having the responsibility of correcting the failure against the run. I expect success in 2018 while questioning his upside early in his career in the pass rush. His best asset is his strength, but his quickness isn’t an edge of the speed. Washington hopes to get something out of DT Phil Taylor who missed the last three seasons with various injuries after getting drafted in the first round in 2011. DT Tim Settle may work his way into rotational value against the run.
DE Jonathan Allen only played in five games in his rookie season after getting drafted in the first round. Allen has the tools to be a very good pass rusher at the next level with enough vision to help vs. the run. Even with talent, quickness, and athletic ability, he does come up short in his size (6’3” and 286 Lbs.) for an interior lineman while lacking the speed to be an impact option on the edge. Jonathan has upside for sure, but Washington needs to get him into favorable match-ups as he can lose his value when doubled or facing size.
LB Ryan Kerrigan is the best pass rusher on the Redskins. He had 13 sacks and 46 tackles in 2017 and 47 sacks over his last 64 games. Kerrigan tends to be a neutral run defender.
After posting 124 tackles for Washington in 2016, LB Mason Foster only played in five games last year due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Foster tends to be a weak option on defense. LB Zack Brown picked 127 tackles and 2.5 sacks in his first year with the Redskins. He plays well against the run with risk in coverage. LB Preston Smith chipped in eight sacks and 42 tackles, but he did struggle in the run game. Smith is a former second-round draft pick (2015).
LB Ryan Anderson saw minimal playing time in his rookie season after getting drafted in the second round. Anderson is more of a team player than a difference maker. His speed and quickness are below par, but Ryan will add value to the pass rush with a clean run. His understanding and vision will help offset some of his physical shortfalls.
S D.J. Swearinger had the best season of his career in 2017. He set career highs in tackles (79), defended passes (10), and Ints (4). He’s been a good player at his position over the last two seasons. S Deshazor Everett grew into a starting player over the last six games leading to 44 tackles and four defended passes. Overall, his game does have downside risk in all areas. The Redskins hopes rookie Troy Apke develops into a playable option at safety where his speed will offer an edge.
CB Josh Norman is paid like a top player at his position, but his game fade for the second straight year. His regression came in coverage while adding value in run support. Josh had only nine defended passes and no Ints compared to 37 defended passes and seven Ints over his previous two seasons. CB Quinton Dunbar showed growth in coverage in his third year in the league, but he remains a part-time player. CB Fabian Morneau may offer the most upside after getting drafted in the third round in 2017. Morneau has an excellent combination of speed, quickness, and athletic ability, but he’s still a looker which hurts his reaction time and vision in play development. Plenty of tools to make an impact once he lets the game come to him.
This defense will be improved in 2018 against the run even with a tough schedule. The defensive line won’t generate a high level of sacks forcing the Redskins to pressure QB at linebacker with Kerrigan and Smith. They have one top CB and one strong safety, which puts half of the secondary at risk against a good passing team. I don’t get a winning Fantasy feeling from Washington’s defense. Only a backup option when facing a team that has a low-level QB and weaker run game.
2018 NFL Team Outlooks