The microscope returns! I’m a week late, for which I apologize to my loyal readers, but late is better than never, and Vegas has a way of sucking the life out of you in only two short nights. As I write this, our draft in Vegas was 12 days ago, and I’m still broke and sleepwalking through my days. But man oh man, did we have a blast at the Spearamint Rhino. (Highly recommended for your bachelor parties and other man-centric events.) I also finally got to meet Tony Holm in person, and seriously folks, what a nice guy. He bought me lunch, we chatted about football and the website, and it was just like hanging out with an old buddy. Thanks Tony, it was a pleasure.I’ve had quite an off-season. Between having a kid, moving to a new house, taking a few trips that were definitely NOT vacations, and just working my butt off the whole time, I’m exhausted. But my favorite time of the year is finally here, and I’m doing my best to recover so I can keep this article going each and every week, and hopefully write some other meaningful content for the best fantasy football community on the planet! Thanks for reading, I hope I’ve made it worth the wait.
So, without further ado, let’s get on to the subject of this week’s microscope … The Washington Redskins.
As usual, the Redskins were busy this off-season, handing out huge contracts to big-name free agents. The biggest story of the off-season was, of course, the Clinton Portis-Champ Bailey trade. But another key acquisition by this team, coach Joe Gibbs, was absolutely necessary in order to turn things around for Washington. Portis’ talents would have been wasted under Steve Spurrier. Stephen Davis’ certainly were a few years back. With a marquee runner, an experienced quarterback in Mark Brunell, and Lavernues Coles as the go-to receiver, the Redskins now have the total package on offense. Will the Dan Snyder spending spree finally land this team in the playoffs? I hope you’ve calibrated your microscopes after a long off-season, let’s take a look.
|Team Stats (numbers in parentheses are NFL Ranking)
Keep in mind, before week 5, these numbers are nearly meaningless. The teams need to get a few games under their belts before we can start to gauge relative performance.
|Rushing Offense||166.0 (9)||1 (t10)|
|Passing Offense||125.0 (31)||0 (t24)|
|Rushing Defense||30.0 (1)||0 (t1)|
|Passing Defense||139.0 (6)||0 (t1)|
|Turnover Stats||Upcoming Schedule|
|2 takeaways (t10)
1 giveaways (t7)
+1 overall (t10)
Upcoming division games against the Giants and Cowboys will give Washington the chance to establish themselves in the NFC East. Overall, the first half of the schedule isn’t that bad – almost every game is winnable. This could set up two very important games against the Eagles in weeks 11 and 14. The Redskins certainly don’t have anything to complain about here.
Mark Brunell, QB – I think Brunell will be a perfect fit for this team. Brunell on this team reminds me of Trent Dilfer on the Ravens the year they won the Super Bowl. He just needs to hand off a lot, make good decisions, and not lose the game for them with stupid plays. Unfortunately, his fantasy value could also be similar to Dilfer’s that year … virtually nil. We’ve only seen this team play one game, so no snap judgements yet. But if you can, I would sit Brunell for the time being until we can get a better read on his potential.
Clinton Portis, RB – Portis gave Mr. Snyder and the ‘Skins fans their money’s worth in week 1. Certainly, he looked very good and you should be starting him every week. But did you see him on the last drive when Washington was trying to run out the clock? He took two steps toward the line, and fell to the ground without being tackled. Granted, at that point in the game, the coaches probably told him to do exactly that. But why wasn’t Ladell Betts in the game, running out the clock? Portis isn’t used to getting 30 carries a game, and hopefully Gibbs will realize that before his meal ticket breaks down.
Ladell Betts, RB – Betts did get a few carries throughout the day while Portis was taking a rest. Betts is certainly capable of toting the rock, and he will be called upon if anything happens to Clinton. Portis owners should really look at getting Betts on their roster, if the space is available.
Lavernues Coles, WR – I have Coles on two of my teams, so I felt the sting like the rest of you in week one when he only caught 3 passes for 27 yards. However, thanks to Great White Shark Tank member Choo, I know that Coles was thrown to 8 times during the game. (The same as Randy Moss!) All this really tells us is that Tampa Bay covered him well, which they have a tendency to do with your top receiver. He may have been a little overrated on my cheat sheet, but there is no reason to hit the panic button and bench this guy … yet.
Rod Gardner, WR – Gardner had the better game in week one, posting 4 catches for 61 yards. Coles and Gardner may turn out to be one of the better one-two receiver combos in the league, or they may knock each others’ stats down just enough to make it really frustrating for fantasy owners. At the moment, my line is “Start Coles, Bench Gardner” … but keep your eye on the situation if you have either one of these capable receivers.
Chris Cooley, TE/FB/??? – On the official NFL.com site, Cooley is listed as a fullback on the team roster, but as a tight end on his player profile. MyFantasyLeague.com has him listed as a tight end. He wears #47 which is a fullback number. The team’s other tight ends are Walter Rasby and Robert Royal. At any rate, Cooley was the only one to catch a pass in week one. Basically what I’m saying here is there is no value at TE for the Redskins. Like you didn’t already know that.
Defense/Special Teams – This unit was the surprise of the game on Sunday. With all the hype surrounding Gibbs, Portis, and Brunell, the Redskins brought in new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams virtually unnoticed, but the difference was clear on the field in week one. The Bucs will never be accused of having an explosive offense, but when you get four sacks and two turnovers, while holding the opposition to just 30 rushing yards on 15 carries and 199 total yards, your defense had a great day against any team. Champ who? It’s just amazing what some quality coaching has done for this team. Chad Morton is also dangerous as a kickoff and punt returner. This defense/special teams is an excellent fantasy pickup right now.
The Bottom Line
For once, I feel the Redskins have spent their money wisely in the off-season. While the week one returns are promising, a lot can change, and quickly, in the “Not For Long” league. I think the offense will certainly continue to produce some big fantasy performances throughout the season. But the ‘Skins are probably not good enough yet to overcome the Eagles in their division. If they continue to play well, a wild card might be in their future.
Next Week… NFL Football Sundays get into full swing and we turn the microscope to the Jacksonville Jaguars.