With the South rounded out, we head to our nation’s capital to kick off the NFC East with Washington Redskins.
Quarterback: : Kirk Cousins: Captain Kirk is heading into another year under the franchise tag, but it has not seemed to bother the Michigan State product as he is set for another big year. Going into every fantasy season, people seem to severely underrate Kirk Cousins. It makes sense, he is not the “sexy” pick, but there is something to be said for consistency in fantasy. In 2016 for example, Cousins finished the year with just over 4900 yards and 25 touchdowns. Add in his five rushing touchdowns and Cousins was a top five fantasy QB. While it is hard to expect five rushing touchdowns again, there is no reason that Cousins will not be able to repeat his impressive year through the air in a high volume passing offense. Cousins should finish the year in the top ten again and is the perfect QB if you plan to wait until the later rounds to fill out the position.
Running backs: Rob Kelley: “Fat Rob” sprung onto the scene last year as a rookie following the downfall of Matt Jones. Kelley had a solid campaign finishing with 704 yards and six touchdowns on 168 carries. Heading into the season, Kelley is slated to be the opening day starter despite the Redskins selection of Oklahoma rookie, Samaje Perine. In many leagues, Kelly is slipping due to the belief that Perine will eventually become the man. While this may be true, Kelley is an excellent bench option that has RB2 upside if he can lockdown sole possession of early down duties.
Samaje Perine: As stated earler, Perine has become a very common sleeper pick. While this is not to knock him or his talent, the hype should slow down a bit. Unless Kelley relinquishes the job, Perine will not receive a large enough workload to fantasy relevant. Perine is best suited to be drafted with Kelley so that you have the Redskins backfield locked down. Perine is a good gamble in dynasty or keeper formats.
Chris Thompson: He probably will not be drafted, but he always ends up as a bye week fill in for deep leagues. Thompson, the Redskins passing down back caught 49 balls for 349 yards and two touchdowns, along with 356 rushing yards and three touchdowns. While not eye popping numbers, Thompson will be involved in the Redskins offense and there is something to be said for that. However, Thompson should not be drafted, but do not be surprised if you see yourself or someone in your league own him at some point during the season.
Wide receivers: Terrelle Pryor Jr.: Pryor may be one of the players with the most hype heading into 2017, and for good reason. The former Ohio State QB turned receiver has ideal receiver size at 6’6 240. Add in his speed and route running ability and all signs point towards a big year. For reference, Pryor caught 77 balls for just over 1000 yards and four touchdowns… on the Browns. Now with Kirk Cousins as his QB, Pryor has nowhere to go but up. Pryor is a high end WR2 with massive upside. Pryor has the potential to be a top ten receiver that can win you your league.
Jamison Crowder: After a promising rookie campaign, Crowder improved further in 2016 by catching 67 passes for 847 yards and seven touchdowns. Crowder has a good connection with Cousins and should play a large part of the offense coming out of the slot. Crowder should put up a flex or high-end bench worthy campaign.
Josh Doctson: After an injury plagued rookie year, the first round pick out of TCU hopes to have an impact in 2017. While his role and effectiveness are a question mark, Doctson is definitely worth keeping an eye on. He is not worth a draft selection in re-draft leagues, but would be a great investment in keeper or dynasty formats.
Tight End: Jordan Reed: When healthy, Reed has been an elite fantasy option. The key word however is when, as Reed has not played a full season in his four-year career. In the season in which he played the most games, 14, two years ago, Reed put up 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. This elite production is what can be expected from Reed when he is on the field. However, drafting Reed at his price of a third or fourth rounder is risky with his injury history, especially considering he has already struggled with a toe injury during training camp. Reed could pay huge dividends, but buyer beware.
Defense: Despite having one of the best corners in the game, the Redskins defense is not worth drafting. They may prove to be capable enough to be a streamer if they can manufacture more turnovers.