One of the biggest headlines over the offseason was Washington changing their mast to the "Washington Football Team." Washington was one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2019 as the finished 3-13. The only teams Washington beat were the Lions, Dolphins, and Jets. Their 3-13 record was not only because of a terrible offense but a below-average defense as well. Washington finished with the 27th ranked total defense, 18th ranked pass defense, 31st ranked rush defense, and the 27th ranked scoring defense. Washington also had a positive turnover margin at +1 and were in the middle of the NFL in giveaways and takeaways. Washington had the second pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and selected Chase Young, a defensive end from Ohio State. He should help revitalize a defense that already has some good pieces in Ryan Kerrigan, Landon Collins, and Da'Ron Payne. Expect Washington to improve in Ron Rivera's first season, but they should make the playoffs.
Projected Depth Chart:
Quarterback: 1. Dwayne Haskins 2. Alex Smith
Running back: 1. Adrian Peterson 2. Antonio Gibson
Wide receiver: 1. Terry McLaurin 2. Steven Sims 3. Trey Quinn 4. Dontrelle Inman
Slot receiver: 1. Antonio Gandy-Golden 2. Cam Sims
Tight end: 1. Logan Thomas 2. Jeremy Sprinkle
Quarterbacks - Case Keenum started the year as the starting quarterback for Washington. He played in 7 games from weeks 1-8, but only finished 5 of those due to injury. In those 5 games, he averaged 14.85 fantasy points. Overall, Kenny was pretty up and down as he finished 1 game with 27 fantasy points and 4 games with under 10. After his second injury in Week 8, he was replaced by rookie Dwayne Haskins.
Dwayne Haskins started 7 games from Weeks 9-16 and finished 6 of those. In those 6 games, he averaged 10.58 fantasy points per game. Haskins was very up and down as a rookie and the ups weren't even that high. He finished with under 10 points in 4 games and from 17-20 fantasy points in 2 games. These mistakes were dismissed by the front office as Washington was one of the worst offenses in the league and Haskins was an unpolished rookie.
Dwayne Haskins added a decent amount of muscle over the offseason which should help his year 2 leap even more. Right now, ESPN has him ranked as their 29th quarterback. Last year's QB29 was Matthew Stafford who had 166.56 fantasy points. If you take Dwayne Haskins' average from the 6 games he played and assume he kept that for a 16 game season it would've been 169.28 points. Haskins is a fantastic deep sleeper as there is no way he will finish below his QB29 ranking.
Running backs - In 2019, Washington mainly used 2 running backs. Chris Thompson was used mostly in the passing game as he had 37 carries for 138 yards on the ground and 42 receptions for 378 yards through the air in 11 games. This was good for 93.6 fantasy points. Thompson's 2 best games were where he scored 14.8 fantasy points. He did it in Week 1 with 10 rushing yards, 7 receptions, and 68 receiving yards. He did it again in Week 3 with 29 rushing yards, 5 receptions, and 79 receiving yards.
Adrian Peterson received the most usage on the team. Peterson had 211 carries for 898 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground, and 17 receptions on 23 targets for 142 yards through the air in 15 games. Peterson finished as the RB33 with 147 fantasy points. When he received 15 or more touches, he averaged 13.3 fantasy points per game, which is a decent amount higher than his 9.8 fantasy points per game over the whole season.
The presumed starter at running back in 2020 was Derrius Guice. Guice just got kicked off the football team leaving a full committee behind him. It seems Washington is going to be a running back by committee this year and you should avoid them at all costs. The only player I am targeting is 3rd round pick, Antonio Gibson, because of his upside as a receiver. Gibson is going to have to prove he's a running back as he only ran the ball 33 times in college and caught the ball 38 times. If you can get Gibson as a late-round flier, that is good value for him.
Wide receivers - The wide receivers on Washington were not that spectacular last year. The #2 receiver, Steven Sims caught 34 passes for 310 yards and 5 total touchdowns. Sims only scored 103.5 fantasy points. He never really emerged until the end of the year, where he had 7 or more targets in every game. Sims averaged 16.8 fantasy points at that time period, which would've ranked him 8th in the league in points per game.
Terry McLaurin was the #1 receiver and already had a rapport with Haskins because they played together in college. He played in 14 games and caught 58 passes on 92 targets for 919 yards and 7 touchdowns in 14 games. This was good for 191.9 fantasy points and the WR27. McLaurin was at his best in his first 5 and last 3 games of the season as he averaged 18.6 fantasy points per game over that stretch.
Even though they spent a 4th round pick on Antonio Gandy-Golden, Terry McLaurin and Steven Sims will be the only 2 fantasy-relevant receivers on Washington. McLaurin is going in the 4th-5th round and he will have a breakout season due to the improvement of Dwayne Haskins. He should be in line for even more targets this year. Another player who will break out is Steven Sims. Sims started playing very well at the end of the 2019 season, where he had 7 or more targets in every game. Sims averaged more targets per game than McLaurin at the end of the year when they were both going off. You can get Sims for free in almost any league and he should not be on waiver wires after Week 1.
Tight ends - The tight ends on Washington were pretty bad in 2019. Jeremy Sprinkle was the top tight end on the roster despite only catching 26 passes on 40 targets for 241 yards and 1 touchdown. He never caught more than 3 passes or scored over 10 fantasy points. His best game came in Week 11 against the Giants where he had 2 receptions for 16 yards and 1 touchdown.
Logan Thomas is the starting tight end in 2020 and should not be owned in any leagues. By the time I'm writing this, Thomas was not even drafted in the 20 team fantasy football league in a draft where 42 tight ends were drafted. If that doesn't say something about his value, I don't know what does. Avoid all Washington tight ends at all costs in 2020.
Deep sleeper: Dwayne Haskins
Good value: Antonio Gibson
Breakouts: Terry McLaurin, Steven Sims
Players to avoid: All other Washington RBs, WRs, and TEs
Handcuffs: Alex Smith, Bryce Love, Trey Quinn, Jeremy Sprinkle
I hope you liked 2020 Fantasy Previews Part 32: Washington Football Team. This was the last article in my Fantasy Team Previews series. More fantasy football articles will come in the future. Feel free to comment your thoughts on Washington's offense for 2020 and how you liked the series.