Considering the defense was at best ordinary most of last season and the running game non-existent after Week 2, it's no stretch saying the Redskins' passing attack carried Washington to its first NFC East title since 2012. Looking at the pieces in place now, including quarterback Kirk Cousins entering his first-ever offseason as a starter, it's fair to imagine even better days are ahead. That's saying something considering Cousins set a franchise record with 4,166 passing yards last season and tossed 29 touchdown passes.
Yet when it comes to projecting stats among the receivers, pondering who emerges with the starry numbers, things get complicated. Too many mouths to feed isn't a problem for the coaching staff, but sure makes for some interesting debates among fans and fantasy football players.
Tight end Jordan Reed led the Redskins in the major receiving categories last season. He'll be a top 5 fantasy option at his position on draft day. Based on how he shredded defenders late last season with his combination of strong hands and separation speed, a top 5 label might be underselling his potential.
DeSean Jackson, who missed a chunk of 2015 with a hamstring injury, is one the NFL's elite big play options. Assuming his absence from various offseason workouts doesn't lead to more sitting on the sideline, he should return to the 1,000 yard club.
The yards per catch average declined for a third straight season, but tough guy Pierre Garcon had 72 receptions and six touchdowns last season. When Cousins needed yards in traffic, he often looked Garcon's way.
Another player the QB targeted plenty, rookie Jamison Crowder, who emerged as a go-to target from the slot. Now add first round pick and possible red-zone dynamo Josh Doctson to the mix. Now remember Rashad Ross and Ryan Grant can make the roster at wide receiver
None of this factors in that last season the Redskins had Alfred Morris, a total non-factor in the passing game, receiving lots of work at running back. For now that role shifts to second-year back Matt Jones, a viable pass-catching threat and then some, with third-down back Chris Thompson serving as the primary backup.
Reed is the closest thing to a high-production lock among this group, but there should be more options at tight end compared to last season with Niles Paul, Vernon Davis and Logan Paulsen. Some expect big things from upcoming free agents Jackson and Garcon especially since it's no lock either returns in 2017. Others see Crowder not just building upon his 59-604-2 rookie season, but topping a 1,000 yards. Clearly expectations are large for the high-rising Doctson once he gets over these early nagging injuries.
All of these players can shine over a 16-game season. From a pure Redskins angle, that's ideal, but they can't all become reliable weekly fantasy football options. Figuring out who to trust and who will emerge will be a fun parlor game throughout the entire offseason.
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