Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
In the fourth installment of a series, we head to our nation's capital to evaluate the Washington Redskins' fantasy-worthy players.
The Redskins' ranked 26th out of 32 teams in scoring at just 16.6 ppg and yielded 21.0 ppg. However the addition of Donovan McNabb at quarterback makes it more difficult to evaluate where this team will be in 2010. One thing is for sure, they'll have to improve the offensive line for either the running game or passing game to succeed. To that end, the team spent their top pick on Oklahoma tackle Trent Williams. Williams' progress throughout summer camp and his rookie season might be the most important factor in any Washington player making a fantasy impact.
Donovan McNabb - We will soon find out whether McNabb or Andy Reid's system was the primary reason for the successful passing game in Philadelphia. For the first time in his career, McNabb will be under another coach and in a new offense. In Mike Shanahan, he has a coach who even when he had Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, emphasized the running game. The good news is that the team has not one, but two, top-quality tight ends and McNabb is very good at using them (he made Chad Lewis, L.J. Smith and Brent Celek into fantasy-worthy players). He's also used to having a mediocre wide receiving corps (earlier versions of the Eagles, not the 2009 edition) which is once again the case in Washington with aging veteran Santana Moss and to date disappointing third-year receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly. With a less-than-average offensive line in front of him, McNabb will be hard-pressed to match last year's passing numbers which were 3,553 yards and 22 touchdown passes in 14 games. He is at best a low-end starter or better yet part of a two-quarterback strategy, who is currently being selected in the eighth round (ADP 92).
Clinton Portis - Shanahan believes he can make almost any back into a 1,000- yard rusher. Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Reuben Droughns, Tatem Bell and Clinton Portis were all 1,000-yard rushers under Shanahan. But that was in Denver where he had a great offensive line. He'll have to improve on the Redskins run blocking if one of the aging running backs on this roster is to become fantasy-worthy. Portis, despite having played eight season, will be just 29-years old when the season starts, but the 2,176 career rushing attempts have taken their toll. He played just eight games last year due to injury and rushed for a career-low 494 yards and one score. Still, he's younger than the other choices and if healthy better than either Larry Johnson or Willie Parker. Fantasy owners apparently don't believe in any of the three, as Portis' ADP of 105.8 (ninth round) is the highest ranked of the group.
Larry Johnson - Johnson brings a lot of baggage with him to Washington, but ran hard enough in his time with Cincinnati for Shanahan to take a shot at the 30- year old running back. However, I think there is just as good a chance he gets frustrated sitting behind Portis as there is that he flourishes in the role. He's not being drafted until the end of the 13th round (ADP 156), so he could have a nice upside if Portis isn't healthy.
Willie Parker - "Fast" Willie Parker isn't fast anymore and that makes him a bad choice for your fantasy roster. Add in the weak offensive line and I see no reason to waste a pick, even a 14th-round selection (current ADP 164) here.
Santana Moss - Moss' scoped knee and how he'll work with McNabb is no longer the most worrying factors for fantasy owners concerning Moss. They have taken a backseat to a possible suspension after he was linked to Dr. Anthony Galea. It's too bad, because he's McNabb's best option at receiver if he can stay on the field. McNabb throws the deep ball well and Moss is the guy to go get it. He's currently the only Redskins' receiver being drafted - around 75th overall.
Devin Thomas - Thomas was a second-round pick in 2008 (34th overall) who has yet to show that he is fantasy-worthy. He's caught 40 passes in two years. Thomas should be the No.2 receive opposite Moss, but unless he starts to show more, the team could use a lot of double tight-end sets which would help their blocking scheme and put their two best pass catchers on the field (Chris Cooley and Fred Davis).
Malcolm Kelly - Like Thomas, Kelly was a second-round selection in the Redskins' 2008 draft (51st overall) and also like Thomas he has yet to show much. He's caught 28 balls in two years. Barring injury, I wouldn't expect much from Kelly in 2010.
Chris Cooley - "The success Houston had last year with Owen Daniels before he got hurt is something that we'd like to do in this offense, as well as what Dallas does with Witten," McNabb said recently. It bodes well for Cooley and Davis. Cooley is a reliable receiver who except for last year's injury-filled season is usually good for around 750 yards and seven scores. He's being drafted around the ninth round which might actually be a little early considering all the talent at the position around the league.
Fred Davis - Despite a below average quarterback and offensive line, Davis showed last year that he can be an effective receiver. Though he didn't start until midway through the year after Cooley got hurt, he hauled in 48 passes for 509 yards and six scores. The key question here is how much playing time will he get with Cooley back from his injured ankle. Our guess is not enough to be fantasy worthy at this time.
Graham Gano - Washington didn't move the ball well in 2009 and it's defense didn't turn the ball over to the offense enough, so the Redskins' kicking game didn't get much of an opportunity. In Gano's four games with the team, he kicked four field goals and six extra points. Four-and-a-half points a game won't get any kicker drafted in fantasy leagues and Gano isn't being selected.
The Redskins' defense finished near the bottom of the league in fantasy points, ranking 30th of 32 teams (57 points). They did have a solid sack total (40), but just 17 turnovers forced (six fumbles, 11 interceptions) won't make it. Neither the defense, nor the special teams scored a touchdown last year. Despite all that, the Redskins' defense is oddly being selected as the 12th team off the board (ADP 162). I can't recommend choosing them based on last year's performance.