FanDuel Friday: Trust the Redskins?


FanDuel Friday: Trust the Redskins?

What a time to be alive.

The Washington Redskins suddenly have several trustworthy options in fantasy formats. 

At the beginning of the year, we were laughing when we fielded a question asking if Kirk Cousins had value as a fantasy quarterback. Fast forward nine weeks, and the answer is now a resounding: YES. 

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Going up against a New Orleans Saints defense that literally can't even right now, Cousins and his receivers are solid - and under-the-radar - options in daily fantasy contests.

Check out the rest of our Week 10 DFS picks:

John "The Professor" Paschall


That's how I'm feeling with Rodgers in my fantasy lineup this week. The Packers will snap out of their funk in Lambeau against a bad Lions team and will remind fantasy owners of how good that offense can be. 

Williams' foot injury concerns me a little but the fact that he's going up against a Browns defense that's so bad against the run makes me believe he's still worth the reasonably inexpensive price tag.

I'm on board with the Bengals in my lineup this week because of their matchup at home against Houston. I'm more of a fan of Bernard this week than Hill because he's just been more effective this year with his touches and the Texans aren't great covering backs out of the backfield. That Bengals defense against Brian Hoyer also excites me.

Thomas is my favorite play this week. He's ridiculously low and could be in for an enormous day against the Chiefs. Emmanuel Sanders is banged up and the Chiefs secondary is just a mess and letting teams throw all over them. He could well outperform his price tag this week. 

Aiken and Reed are ideal low cost players that you will need in your lineup. Reed's matchup against the Saints is fantastic (just gave up three touchdowns to Titans tight ends) and Aiken is the No. 1 guy in Baltimore now, going up against a somewhat shaky Jaguars defense. 

Mike Smith

We’ve learned a lot now that we are over half way through the NFL season, and one is that the New Orleans Saints are making quarterbacks look very good.  The Saints are giving up over 300 yards through the air each week, and Las Vegas’ expects this to be one of the highest scoring games of the weekend and also very close with the Saints one point favorites.  I teamed up Kirk Cousins with his tight end, Jordan Reed, who is one of Cousins’ favorite targets when healthy.  The Saints have struggled to stop opposing tight end’s this year, and Reed is arguably Washington’s most talented receiver.

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Todd Gurley has been a fantasy superstar as a rookie, averaging over 20 fantasy points over his last 5 games, and I don’t think an improved Bears defense will be enough to slow him down.  While the Cowboys have been a mess this year, Darren McFadden may be their one silver lining of the 2015 season.  Since taking over full time running back duties three weeks ago McFadden has gotten 20+ carries each game and averaged 132 total yards per game.

I love Allen Robinson taking on the shaky Baltimore Ravens secondary which is 30th in the NFL in passing yards allowed.  The Jaguars should be playing catchup most of the game, and I expect Robinson and the Jaguars to rack up some points in garbage time. Demaryius Thomas will make an interesting play this week if Emmanuel Sanders ends up sitting out.  Sanders was expected to practice some on Friday, so check back on his status as Sanders was more successful against the Chiefs last season.  Stefon Diggs put up some great numbers in his first 4 NFL games, but was held to only 3 catches for 42 yards last week after Teddy Bridgewater was knocked out of the game with a concussion.  With Bridgewater probable to play Sunday, Stefon Diggs should be a good value play in a game against the fantasy friendly Oakland Raiders.  

Tony Andracki

How could you go wrong with Kirk Cousins against a Saints defense that has allowed 10 passing TDs the last two weeks? Cousins is an underrated fantasy option, especially if his receivers actually help him out and catch the ball. I also targeted Cousins's top option - Jordan Reed - for a nice discounted price of $5,800, a full $2,200 below Rob Gronkowski and should put up similar production.

I entered the $1.5 million Sunday Rush tournament, so I'm going bold with my lineup, hence the Eddie Lacy pick. Look, I'm crazy, I get it. I'm not one of those people who doesn't realize they're crazy. I'm stubbornly sticking by Lacy for one simple reason: The potential hasn't gone anywhere. Forget James Starks. Do you think the Packers are really just going to put Lacy on the bench and give Starks touches if Lacy suddenly flashes his 2013 or 2014 running style again? The Packers know they need to get the running game going again to deflect pressure off Aaron Rodgers and they'll give Lacy every chance in the world to regain his form. Against a terrible Lions defense this week, I'm going bold with Lacy.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Right now, you can't go wrong with DeAngelo Williams and Allen Robinson, and they both have fantastic matchups this week. Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant are two guys that I absolutely had to have in my lineup this week given their elite potential, surprisingly low price tags and fantastic matchups.

In a big-money contest such as this, I'm not messing around with kicker and D/ST, either, getting arguably the top option at each spot. No need to find any risk here.

Scott Krinch

Captain Kirk is in all my lineups this weekend. Cousins has a cake matchup against a Saints defense which has allowed 13 total passing touchdowns in the last three games. By grabbing Cousins at his low price of $6500, it allowed me to build my team with a few high-profile receivers. My triumvirate at wideout includes Demaryius Thomas, Allen Robinson and Jarvis Landry. Each No. 1 receiver has one of the three-worst pass defenses on the docket this weekend. SOLD. 

I'm banking on a continued resurgence from DeAngelo Williams. In his three starts in Le'Veon Bell's absence Williams has rushed for 127, 77 and 170 yards, to go along with five touchdowns. A generous Browns defense should only strengthen those numbers. My wildcard play this week is Jeremy Langford. The rookie running back has a tough task ahead in the St. Louis Rams, but in terms of usage he should do enough to warrant his low price of $6200.

My must-play for Week 10 is Rob Gronkowski. His price ($8000) is high, but he should have a field day against a mediocre set of Giants linebackers who have struggled to stay with tight ends all year.

Mark Strotman

I'm betting big on the Packers turning things around Sunday at home against the Lions. And I should be confident, considering the Packers haven't lost in Wisconsin to the Lions since 1991. I also liked Davante Adams getting 11 targets against the Panthers, and with James Jones nursing a quad injury I'm betting on him having another big day (I also like Randall Cobb this week, FWIW). Start your running backs in Cowboys-Buccaneers, and expect another target-heavy afternoon for Julian Edelman against the Giants. Demaryius Thomas should find the end zone sooner than later, and he's a good bet to do it against a porous Chiefs secondary. Jordan Reed is an absolute steal at $5,800 for what should be a shootout in D.C. And the Steelers defense? Against Johnny Manziel? Yes, please.

Paul Roumeliotis

Yes, I know Eli Manning is going up against the Patriots, who have scored at least 27 points in eight games this season. I'm sure the Giants know that, and if they get behind early — or even ahead for that matter, they're going to need Manning — aka Tom Brady's kryptonite — to give the men in blue some scores.

With Ben Roethlisberger out this week, the Steelers should rely on DeAngelo Williams, especially since the Browns are awful at stopping the run game. Side note: in five of Williams' nine games this year, he's put up a combined two points in standard scoring. And he's still a top 10 running back. That's insane.

I'm stacking up on wide receivers this week. Demaryius Thomas has such a favorable price at $7,900 against a terrible Chiefs defense, and I'm not sure why. But I won't question it, I'll just take advantage of it. The Chiefs have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Now is a great time for Thomas to find the end zone since Week 3.

I also like Randall Cobb at home against the Lions. Other than his late touchdown last week against Carolina, he's been pretty quiet since Week 4. Against a division rival, I'm banking on Aaron Rodgers to hook up with Cobb many times in this game, hopefully adding a Lambeau Leap or two.

Gary Barnidge has the fourth-most targets by a tight end this year with 64. With Johnny Manziel at quarterback against a Steelers defense that has a hard time covering tight ends, Barnidge should have a solid game. He'll certainly get the looks.

2017 Bears position grades: Offensive Line

2017 Bears position grades: Offensive Line

2017 grade: C+

Level of need: Medium

Decisions to be made on: Josh Sitton (contract), Eric Kush (contract), Hroniss Grasu (contract), Bobby Massie (contract), Tom Compton (free agent), Bradley Sowell (free agent)

Possible free agent targets: Andrew Norwell, D.J. Fluker, Justin Pugh, Josh Kline, Jonathan Cooper

How the Bears’ offensive line will shape up in 2018 begins with a decision on which the Bears are already on the clock. The team has until March 9 to pick up Josh Sitton’s 2018 option -- or, to put it another way, they have until March 9 to determine if Sitton was/is/will be good enough to justify keeping him and not netting about $8 million in cap savings, per Spotrac. 

For what it’s worth, Bleacher Report ranked Sitton as the league’s sixth-best guard in 2017. If the Bears’ grades of Sitton match those outside ones, then the team probably won’t cut him -- not destabilizing Mitchell Trubisky’s offensive line would be well worth the money in that case. While Sitton turns 32 in June, cutting him would put a lot of pressure on Kyle Long, who hasn’t been fully healthy since 2016. The Bears are hopeful that Long will be back to full strength after multiple offseason surgeries, but releasing Sitton and then signing/drafting his replacement would be a gamble on Long’s health. 

Sitton’s status is the first part of the Bears’ 2018 offensive line equation. There’s also a decision to be made on Bobby Massie, who Bleacher Report ranked as the NFL’s 14th-best right tackle last year but could be cut for about $5.5 million in cap savings, according to Spotrac. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Bears cut or kept both Sitton and Massie for now, then drafted an offensive lineman in the first round (like Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson or Texas tackle Connor Williams) and released one of them. Or they could keep both through the end of the 2018 season. All those options would make sense on some level.

What wouldn’t seem to make sense is the Bears cutting Sitton or Massie and replacing them with a free agent. This year’s offensive line free agent class, without adding any potential cap casualties to it, isn’t particularly strong. By Bleacher Report’s rankings, the best free agent right tackle is Houston’s Breno Giancomi, who’s 27th in that list -- 13 spots behind Massie. At left tackle, New England’s Nate Solder (No. 22) isn’t rated as highly as Charles Leno (No. 20), who we'll talk about in a bit here. 

The only potential upgrade available via free agency would be Carolina Panthers guard Andrew Norwell (No. 2 in B/R’s rankings), who’s 26 and is in line for a big payday this spring -- but that would seemingly be counter-intuitive to releasing Sitton and then potentially paying more money to a different guard, even if he’s younger and has more long-term upside. The Bears could opt for a cheaper guard in free agency who could have some potential working with respected O-line coach Harry Hiestand -- the Giants’ D.J. Fluker (57th in B/R’s rankings) or Justin Pugh (42nd) fit that mold, as would the Titans’ Josh Kline (37th) or Cowboys’ Jonathan Cooper (38th). Or the Bears could keep Sitton and still sign one of those guys as insurance in case Long and/or Eric Kush, who tore his ACL last training camp, isn’t ready to start the season. 

Tom Compton and Bradley Sowell proved to be serviceable backups last year and could be an option to return, even with a new coaching staff in place. The health of Kush, who was missed as a reliable backup in 2017, will be important in figuring out what the Bears' O-line depth looks like. Hroniss Grasu struggled when he was on the field and missed time due to a hand injury, and despite playing for offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich at Oregon could be on the chopping block before/during training camp. 

We’ll finish here with some thoughts on Leno and Cody Whitehair. Could the Bears upgrade at left tackle and displace Leno to the right side of the offensive line? Possibly, especially if Hiestand believes he can make that move work. But it’d be odd if the Bears shifted Leno off left tackle and then signed someone who’s older and, depending on the evaluator, not even as good as him. 

This is all probably a moot point, since the Bears’ internal evaluation of Leno is what matters here. Leno is 26 and the Bears believe he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet, so more than likely, he’s sticking where he is. At the very least, he’ll enter 2018 with a starting job on the Bears’ offensive line. 

One other offseason objective for Hiestand and the new coaching staff: Keeping Whitehair at the same position. Whitehair’s versatility felt like it worked against him at times last year, with the former regime opting to shift him between guard and center quite a bit from the start of training camp through the early part of the season. That instability seemed to affect Whitehair’s play, as he went through a bizarre patch of snapping issues after moving back to center and struggled to be as consistent as he was in 2016. But Whitehair finished 2017 strong, and keeping him at center for the entirety of 2018 could get him back on track to make his first Pro Bowl. 

2017 Bears position grades: Wide receivers

2017 Bears position grades: Wide receivers

2017 grade: D-

Level of need: High

Decisions to be made on: Markus Wheaton (contract), Dontrelle Inman (free agent), Kendall Wright (free agent), Josh Bellamy (free agent), Kevin White (fifth-year option)

Possible free agent targets: All of them? (But more specifically Jarvis Landry, Mike Wallace, Paul Richardson, Marqise Lee, Ryan Grant, Eric Decker, Albert Wilson, Donte Moncrief, Jaron Brown, Taylor Garbriel, Terrelle Pryor, John Brown, Allen Robinson)

The Bears cannot go into 2018 with a wide receiver core as weak as the one with which Mitchell Trubisky had to work in 2017. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have to go out and sign Jarvis Landry for huge money and then draft, say, Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, but adding multiple reliable wide receivers is a massive need for the offseason. A blend of free agents and draft picks seems like the most likely route.

Before we look at this year’s free agent class, a word on Cameron Meredith, who said this on locker cleanout day Jan. 1: “Training camp for sure I’ll be back. Right now it’s staying on pace so that I can do that. Yes, full recovery.”

The Bears shouldn’t count on Meredith to improve off his 66-catch, 888-yard 2016 season by virtue of him coming back from a torn ACL suffered last August. But it’s also not like any production from Meredith will be a bonus; if he’s even close to the player he was two years ago, he’ll be a significant part of the Bears’ offense.

So if the Bears are counting on Meredith to play in 2018, do they absolutely need to go out and splurge for the best receiver on the market in Jarvis Landry? Not necessarily. Landry reportedly wants Davante Adams money (four years, $58 million, with $32 million guaranteed) and might get more than that if a bidding war develops on the open market.

Would Landry be worth it? He followed consecutive 1,100-yard seasons in 2015 and 2016 with a league-leading 112 receptions in 2017, and won’t turn 26 until next November, so yeah, he very well could be. The Bears should have enough cap space to chase Landry, too.

But for a few reasons, Ryan Pace has either never landed nor pursued the priciest free agents in his three cycles as general manager. He splashed $38.75 million for Pernell McPhee in 2015; that was the 10th-largest free agent contract signed that year and has the 13th-highest amount of guaranteed money, per Spotrac. Danny Trevathan got $28 million in 2016 (22nd among free agents), and Mike Glennon’s ill-fated $45 million contract ranked 11th last year (with significantly less guaranteed money).

The other part of Pace’s free agency strategy hasn’t been under his control: The Bears just haven’t been an enticing destination lately. Cornerback A.J. Bouye -- 2017’s highest-paid free agent -- turned down more money from the Bears to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars, for example.

The Bears hope that’s changing, with a promising franchise quarterback, a young and affable head coach and a major renovation to Halas Hall. For all the losing, and for all the gripes outside Lake Forest about John Fox, the Bears did have a good culture in their locker room. Selling the future of this franchise should be a lot easier in 2018 than it was in 2017.

Will that all add up to the Bears signing Landry to a huge contract? Not necessarily. The Bears could make a strong pitch and sizable offer, but he could be lured by another team that’s had more recent success (like the Oakland Raiders). Or Pace could continue to look for bargains in free agency, which hasn’t particularly worked out for him in the past, but then take a receiver with the Bears’ first-round pick.

But perhaps Pace will see his long-term vision coming together, and will see a big-ticket free agent like Landry being the guy who puts the Bears over the hump from winning to losing. He could be the franchise’s Jon Lester, or if you’re a hopeful White Sox fan, Manny Machado.

But here’s a counter to the argument for signing Landry: Kansas City’s offense last year didn’t have a big-time outside target. Tyreek Hill’s versatility and explosive playmaking ability made him the Chiefs’ best wide receiver, but he was able to line up at almost any position on the field. Albert Wilson (who’s a free agent) had the second-most targets of among Chiefs receivers with 62; tight end Travis Kelce was targeted a team-high 122 times.

The Bears don’t have a Hill or a Kelce on their roster. Tarik Cohen and Adam Shaheen could be the “light” versions of both, which may necessitate a need for better “traditional” wide receivers. That doesn’t necessarily mean Landry, to be fair.

Mike Wallace is 31 but showed he still has something in the tank, missing only one game the last two years while racking up 1,765 yards and eight touchdowns for the Baltimore Ravens. Paul Richardson had a breakout 2017 with the Seattle Seahawks, catching 44 passes for 703 yards with six touchdowns as an effective deep threat. Marqise Lee had 119 catches for 1,553 yards in the vertically-challenged Jaguars offense the last two years. Ryan Grant has never missed a game in his four-year career and is coming off a career best 45-catch, 573-yard season with Washington. The aforementioned Wilson caught 42 passes for 554 yards with the Chiefs last year, both career highs.

Perhaps no free agent receivers have as much to prove than Terrelle Pryor and Donte Moncrief. Pryor, like Alshon Jeffery, found the free agent market weak in 2017 and took a one-year prove-it deal, but instead turning it into an extension and Super Bowl ring, he bombed with only 20 catches for 240 yards with Washington. It’d be a risk, but if he can get the stink of 2017 off him and flash the talent that got him 77 receptions and over 1,000 yards with the Cleveland Browns in 2016, he’d be worth it.

Moncrief is another interesting name out there. He was targeted over 100 times in 2015 and caught 64 passes for 733 yards and six touchdowns as the big-bodied complement to T.Y. Hilton in Indianapolis, but struggled to stay healthy the last two years, only playing 21 games and totaling 56 receptions for 698 yards.

One other guy to highlight: Allen Robinson. The Jaguars probably won’t let him get away, but even if they do, would the Bears really want to sign him and then have three wide receivers coming off season-ending injuries (Meredith and Kevin White being the other two; Robinson tore his ACL in Week 1 last year). The Rams’ Sammy Watkins is also an impending free agent, but it’d be a huge surprise if Los Angeles let him hit the open market, so he’s not worth considering for the Bears right now.

We’ll see what direction Pace takes next month with free agency. But expect the Bears to return no more than one receiver from their Week 2 lineup -- Kendall Wright (59 receptions, 614 yards) is probably the only guy who could be back, if the two parties want to re-unite. Wright, as it stands for my grade, was the only guy keeping this unit from an “F,” as in a total failure.

Markus Wheaton, who became only one of nine players since 1992 to be targeted at least 15 times and catch fewer than 20 percent of those targets (he caught two passes), is likely to be cut. It’s unlikely Josh Bellamy or Dontrelle Inman will be re-signed (slight chance for Inman, but he disappeared in December). And the Bears probably will decline Kevin White’s fifth-year option, making 2018 a prove-it year for the former first-round pick.