By Jacob Troxell, special to Breaking Burgundy
The Washington Redskins have some fantasy football superstars on their roster once again this season, but it has them at just a 4-3-1 record halfway through the season. However, your fantasy team does not care about the ladder, so which Redskins should you look to grab, or deal at your fantasy football trade deadline?
Robert Kelley - A 21-carry, 87-yard performance against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8 was enough for coach Jay Gruden to announce Kelley will get most of the work in Week 10 against a stout Minnesota front. While the Vikings are eighth in run-defense allowing 93.1 yards per game and the Redskins have four other top-10 rush defenses remaining on their schedule (Green Bay, Carolina, Dallas, New York Giants), Kelley is still worth taking a shot on.
Owners will only be able to start him on a week-to-week basis in favorable matchups, but there remains a chance Kelley puts together a great second half if Matt Jones is completely out of the picture and becomes the third-string running back permanently.
Note: Kelley is only owned in 26.4 percent of ESPN leagues, so most will not have to trade for him if they make a move for him this week.
Kirk Cousins - As mentioned before, five of the eight remaining defenses on the Redskins’ schedule are unforgiving against the run, and seeing that the Redskins are not the most committed to the run anyway (24.8 rush attempts per game, 21st in NFL) they are going to resort to moving the ball through the air like they did down the stretch last season.
Despite being fourth in passing yards per game (307), Cousins is the 14th ranked quarterback in ESPN standard scoring leagues. Cousins’ early season red zone struggles are a large reason why he is not a top-10 fantasy quarterback, but those will come, along with the consistent yardage he is putting up. Cousins logged over 17 fantasy points in six of his eight games this season and only threw for multiple touchdowns in half of those games. Cousins is not reliant on touchdowns for fantasy points, and that is something that can put a lot of owners at ease when starting him. Four of the eight remaining opponents the Redskins have rank 15th or worse is passing defense (Dallas, Green Bay, New York Giants, Carolina).
Jamison Crowder - Second on the team in receptions (40) and first in reception yards (498) and reception touchdowns (4), Crowder has emerged as part of the Redskins’ offense every week. Crowder is a top-20 receiver in standard scoring leagues and benefits from opposing defenses focusing on stopping Desean Jackson or Jordan Reed, but even with Reed out against the Detroit Lions, Crowder rung up 108 yards on seven catches. Crowder is a solid WR2 moving forward.
Dustin Hopkins - How could we not include Washington’s third-highest fantasy scorer this season on the list? Yes, he has struggled recently, going 6/10 on kicks in the last four games after making his first 12 field goals, but Hopkins is primed for a better second half. Five of the top 11 red zone defenses (New York Giants, Philadelphia, Arizona, Carolina, Chicago) remain on the Redskins’ schedule, and if Washington continues to struggle in the red zone (40.62 touchdown percent, 30th) then Hopkins will get plenty of chances to redeem himself.
Hopkins’ 34-yard miss in overtime against the Bengals was his first miss inside of 40 yards in his career. In his career, Hopkins is 40/43 on field-goal attempts inside 50-yards. The kicker has been free-falling in many leagues. He is now only owned in 19.7 percent of ESPN leagues. Do not trade for a kicker, but Hopkins should be owned in any league larger than eight teams.
Matt Jones - After more fumbling issues arose this year for Jones and a solid showing by Kelley against the Bengals, Jones now has to earn his job back. Jones did have a few 100-yard performances against the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles, averaging 4.6 yards per carry on this season, but was still an inconsistent fantasy option even when he did start. Jones had three starts where he totaled less than four points in standard scoring leagues, and only ever got into double digits in games where he found the end zone.
DeSean Jackson - Jackson has played in every game this season -- though maybe not by Sunday --, still takes the top off opposing defenses and leads the team in yards per reception (13.9), but has only found the end zone once this season. Further, he has had just one 100-yard game (Week 1 against Pittsburgh) and only two games of 60 yards or more.
More weapons in the Redskins’ aerial attack this season (the emergence of Crowder and Running Back Chris Thompson, plus the free agency signing of Tight End Vernon Davis) has taken some of Jackson’s targets away, although he has only three targets less (56) than the team leader Reed (59). What is concerning in terms of targets is that Jackson has only gotten five looks in the red zone this season.
Jackson is a boom-or-bust flex play that can be traded to someone in desperate need of wide receiver depth. Jackson has not necessarily regressed as an individual talent, but has become more of a role player on an evolving offense.