Washington was 6-3 heading into Week 11 in 2018 and right in the mix at the top of the NFC East. However, the Redskins lost starting QB Alex Smith to a devastating leg injury in Week 11 and finished the year losing six of their last seven games behind poor QB play. The offense was dreadful after Smith’s injury, averaging a paltry 230 total yards per game over their final five games, worse than the league average of 352 yards per team game and a number that would comfortably rank last over a full season. Washington was also banged up in key spots on the offensive line, losing Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff for their final eight games, with Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams also missing three games in the middle of the season.
The lack of production on offense led to a dearth of quality fantasy options. No Washington player finished inside the top 50 overall in fantasy points scored. RB Adrian Peterson was Washington’s most productive fantasy player but finished outside the top 15 in fantasy points at RB.
Key Departures: Jamison Crowder, WR; Maurice Harris, WR
Key Acquisitions: Dwayne Haskins, QB; Case Keenum, QB; Landon Collins, S; Montez Sweat, DE; Terry McLaurin, WR; Kelvin Harmon, WR
With Smith unlikely to return in 2019, the Redskins added two new QBs, spending their first-round pick on Haskins and trading with Denver for Keenum. Haskins will enter training camp with a shot to claim the starting QB role in Week 1, but the veteran Keenum, who is one year removed from a productive 2017 season, will threaten to begin the season as the starting QB.
On the defensive side of the ball, Washington signed Collins away from division rival New York, an in the box safety who should improve their run defense. They also spent a first-round pick on Sweat, who will be a candidate to improve their edge rush.
2019 Fantasy MVP
Derrius Guice, RBWashington does not have many highly appealing or safe fantasy options, so pinpointing a stud on offense is difficult. Guice did not play in 2018 after tearing his ACL, but the 2018 second-round pick has dynamic playmaking ability and was generating buzz during training camp last season before injuring his knee. The downside is that the Redskins brought back RB Adrian Peterson, who may begin the year as the primary ball-carrier, which could limit Guice’s production early in the season. Chris Thompson is also a threat to take away snaps in passing situations. However, Peterson is 34, and both Peterson and Thompson were constantly banged up last season with various injuries. Guice is a candidate to take a strong percentage of the snaps at RB as the season progresses and emerge as the most valuable fantasy piece on Washington’s offense by the end of the season.
2019 Fantasy LVP
Case Keenum, QBKeenum is a candidate to open the year as the Redskins’ starting QB, but will likely have a short leash with Haskins waiting. Keenum played well as the Vikings’ starting QB in 2017, but has been below average in every other season in his career, including 2018, when he posted a poor 81.2 QB rating in 16 starts for the Broncos, worse than the 2018 league average of 92.9. Washington also lacks great options at receiver, further diminishing Keenum’s fantasy value even if he claims the regular starting role to begin the year.
2019 Breakout Player
Dwayne Haskins, QBGuice, picked above to be Washington’s most valuable fantasy player, is the top breakout candidate for the Redskins’ offense, but Haskins, their top pick in the 2019 draft and QB of the future, is also a breakout candidate. Haskins may not start the year behind center, but he will be given a shot to earn the job in camp, and will be a candidate to threaten to take over as the season goes on in the event that he does not win the job from Keenum. Rookie WRs Kelvin Harmon and Terry McLaurin are also breakout candidates.
Final ThoughtsThe Redskins’ offense should be better in 2019 than it was in the second half of 2018. Washington now has depth at the QB position with Haskins and Keenum, and the offensive line will return a healthy Scherff, who missed half of last season. A healthy Guice could add some punch to the backfield in the running game.
Still, Washington’s offense looks like it could be shaky, and relying on fantasy players from their offense carries risk with a lot of unproven players. Their passing game doesn’t look particularly fruitful for fantasy owners, although rookie WRs Harmon and McLaurin have generated positive reviews in practice. Josh Doctson, who currently sits at the top of Washington’s depth chart at WR, is a former first-round pick who fantasy owners have been waiting to breakout, but has been unproductive. TE Jordan Reed is talented but often injured and finished last season on injured reserve again.
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