2020 Preview: Washington Football Team


2020 NFL Draft: Washington Redskins team needs, draft picks ...

The 2020 NFL Season is nearly upon us, and in anticipation of the new season we’ll be previewing the action team-by-team, using the draft order from last season. The previews will kick off with the Bengals and run right through the reigning champion Chiefs. Come back each day to check out your favorite team. All ADP and Rankings reflect PPR scoring. 2020 Projections are based on a 12-team league (i.e. WR1 (Top 12), WR2 (13-24), WR3 (25-36)).

It’s been a rough 12 months for the professional football team in Washington. On the field, the team was a disaster in 2019. The team started 0-5, parted with head coach Jay Gruden and finished 3-13, second worst in the league. And they weren’t much fun to watch, either. But all that pales in comparison to the off-season. The team announced officially announced it would change its nickname, bowing to years of pressure as a result of the racially insensitive undertones of the nickname they carried for 87 years. Then came the allegations of a toxic culture in Washington, which painted an unflattering picture of Owner Daniel Snyder and former coach Gruden.

            But off-the-field, the team added Ron Rivera as coach, a promising sign the on-the-field product might improve. That will also likely come down to what improvements we see from second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

Off-Season Changes

            Washington parted ways with a number of veterans on the roster last season. Quarterback Case Keenum moved on to the Cleveland Browns, while quarterback Colt McCoy moved on to the New York Giants. The team also parted ways with veteran receiver Paul Richardson, veteran tight ends Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed, and veteran running back Chris Thompson, who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

            But the team brought in Scott Turner to run the offense after seeing him work with Rivera last season in Carolina. They also traded for quarterback Kyle Allen, offering a little security behind Haskins and familiarity with the system. The team signed veteran running backs Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic, and grabbed veteran tight end Logan Thomas. In the draft, while the Washington defense made the biggest splash by grabbing Chase Young with the second overall pick, the offense picked up versatile Antonio Gibson, who’s expected to play running back, and wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden.

Fantasy Impact

            Washington’s prospects on the field begin and end with Haskins. He was a first-round pick in 2019 but wasn’t favored by former coach Gruden. Once Gruden was gone, Haskins got on the field, but wasn’t great. Haskins started seven games, going 2-5 and throwing for just 1,365 yards, seven TDs and seven INTs. He will get every opportunity to step up in 2020, but with Allen waiting in the wings it wouldn’t seem patience will be infinite. Haskins has upside, and is a decent dynasty pick up, but I’m not relying on him as anything more than a QB3 in 2020. That lines up with his ADP of QB31.

            Running back is a mess for this team. Derrius Guice is entering year three and was a high pick in 2017, but he hasn’t been able to stay health. Adrian Peterson, the aging star who was the team’s top rusher in 2019, is still there, and the team added Gibson, Barber and McKissic to the mix. There’s also second year back Bryce Love, whose own injury kept him off the field last season. Someone will have value, but it’s tough to bet on who. Guice could be great if healthy, but I wouldn’t draft him before RB4. I also like Gibson to have some sneaky value, possibly an RB4, while Peterson is a great end of draft stash who still has something left in the tank.

            Wide receiver has a better player at the top of the heap in Terry McLaurin. McLaurin caught 58 passes for 919 yards to lead the team in 2019 and figures to have a great shot at WR2 value in 2020. He’s currently going as WR25, which feels about right. Behind McLaurin there’s more questions than answers. Second year receiver Kelvin Harmon tore his ACL, and is done for the year. The team has Trey Quinn, Gandy-Golden, Steve Sims, Jr., and veteran Cody Latimer in the mix. I’m not trusting any of them, but if I had to take a bet, I like Sims as a late draft flyer. Tight End is also best avoided. Jeremy Sprinkle started most of 2019, finishing as TE42. Thomas is there, too, but the position is best avoided in fantasy.

Prediction

            Washington will have a lot of work to do on the field to distract from the circus the team has become off the field. This is a young team that has some potential at the skill positions on offense, but they are raw. I think they’ll take some steps forward, but the record won’t necessarily reflect that. It’s going to be a long year in Washington.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.

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