Massive improvements in the offensive coaching department will pay immediate dividends for Washington this year. Per Sharp Football’s Strength of Schedule metrics listed below, 2nd-year QB Dwayne Haskins has a wonderfully malleable slate of pass defenses on tap in 2020. Alpha dog Terry McLaurin is a screaming deal and should be rostered as much as possible. Tight end Logan Thomas could be a sneaky late round value. RB Antonio Gibson may be looking at a bounty of passing game usage. He’s an outstanding selection at his current ADP.
- 8th toughest overall schedule
- 12 softest in terms of the opponent’s overall defensive efficiency
- 9th softest blend of pass defenses
- 6th softest in terms of the opponent’s pass defense efficiency
- 12 softest blend of rush defenses
- 9th toughest in terms of the opponent’s rush defense efficiency
- 9th toughest in terms of the opponent’s overall offensive efficiency
- 14th softest in terms of the opponent’s offensive pass efficiency
- The toughest in terms of the opponent’s offensive rush efficiency
Both QB Dwayne Haskins and WR Terry McLaurin were rookies in 2019. The duo flashed a strong rapport that began the year before, in 2018, as the duo played out a 13-1 season together at the Ohio State University. Washington HC Jay Gruden was fired in-season and Haskins was promoted from backup to starter a few weeks later. It took some time for the rookie signal caller to find his footing but he eventually did and showed well in the process. Evan Silva and Ian Hartitz joined the PFF Forecast podcast to discuss a number of players but most notably for our purposes, the Washington passing game. On the show, Dwayne Haskins was heralded for turning the corner in his late season performances, garnering a Top 10 PFF grade at quarterback between Weeks 11-17. With his 2020 pass defense schedule looking so smooth, and the opposing offenses expected to be above par, it’s reasonable to assume that Haskins could be a savvy mid-season add for fantasy managers in need of a starting quarterback. Having stout offenses get up on the scoreboard will push the pace for Washington’s offense as well, getting Haskins more action than he otherwise might receive.
Should Haskins miss time, Kyle Allen would be the next man up. It’s possible Allen could be spot-started as a fantasy option given his familiarity with OC Scott Turner from their time together in Carolina last year.
As the Carolina Panthers’ QB coach in 2019, new Washington OC Scott Turner made serious lemonade out of some QB-lemons. After losing former All Pro and NFL MVP QB Cam Newton to a foot injury in Week 2, Turner helped guide backup Kyle Allen (and a one-game showing of Will Grier) to better than expected results. A key to Allen’s success was featuring running back Christian McCaffrey as a pass catcher. Washington does not have anyone close to CMC’s caliber but rookie back Antonio Gibson has a shot to see serious passing game work. Gibson was a RB/WR hybrid player in college and racked up impressive numbers in the process.
35-year old Adrian Peterson will undoubtedly get some rushing work but his brick-handed nature has always kept him from producing in the passing game. Likewise, journeyman Peyton Barber has never been an exceptional pass catcher either. Newly signed J.D. McKissic is the only pass catching back on the roster but is a severely limited rusher. Although young Gibson is far and away the most complete back on the team.
Given Gibson’s potential for roughly six targets and six rushes per game, his .5PPR 13.12, RB51 ADP is must draft territory. If he’s able to further separate in-season, it’s likely Gibson could suddenly become an 18+ touch running back. Finding that in the 14th Round is the stuff that wins leagues.
The Washington pass catcher corps shows a steep dropoff in talent after star-in-the-making Scary Terry McLaurin. McLaurin lit up the 2019 NFL combine with outstanding speed and change of direction times with hops to boot. Posting a 58 catch, 919-yard, 7 touchdown stat line with a carousel at QB and poor offensive coaching—as a rookie—is quite the feat. Now assertively the top option in the passing game, and only facing “competition” from the likes of Dontrell Inman, Steven Sims Jr.,Trey Quinn, and rookie Antonio Gandy-Golden, McLaurin can be expected to blow his 2019 target total of 98 out of the water—likely into the 140-150 range. Should that occur, McLaurin would almost assuredly return value as a top 12 fantasy receiver. The gorgeously soft pass defense schedule, as mentioned above, helps reinforce the possibility. Draft McLaurin aggressively at his .5PPR 5.10, WR24 ADP.
Dontrelle Inman is expected to operate as the team’s downfield WR. He’ll be a deep flex option in the right matchup. Steven Sims and Trey Quinn are likely to be duking it out for slot responsibilities. Given the safety blanket nature that often comes with slot route running it is a worthwhile battle to keep an eye on. Sims played well at the end of 2019. Rookie Antonio Gandy-Golden is a high-potential player but has to earn his way onto the field first.
6-foot-6, 250 pound TE Logan Thomas appears to have sewn up the TE1 job in Washington. TE Greg Olsen was a featured player in Carolina during tenures of HC Ron Rivera and OC Scott Turner. The Washington TE1 role will be valuable for fantasy purposes. Thomas is a reasonable late round dart throw at tight end.
Given the cake walk of a defensive schedule, Dustin Hopkins is a quietly solid option at kicker.
Washington’s D/ST features one of the league’s most dominant defensive lines. In the right matchup, opposing quarterbacks will be sacked frequently and forced into throwing interceptions.