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Need to Know: Cousins' strong game vs. 49ers goes under the radar

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: Cousins' strong game vs. 49ers goes under the radar

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 17, six days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 12
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 19
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 37

Last look at Redskins vs. 49ers

—It’s gotten to a point where a Kirk Cousins game where he completes 67 percent of his passes for 330 yards, 8.9 yards per attempt, and two touchdowns as he did against the 49ers and it’s just another day, not worthy of any special note. But since 1990, a Redskins quarterback has had a line of at least 67 percent completions for 330 yards or more, 8.9 yards or more per attempt, and two or more touchdown passes just four times. Cousins did it earlier this year against the Raiders and he did it against the Packers last year. Brad Johnson also did it in 1999 against the 49ers. Add in the fact that Cousins led a fourth-quarter rally with two drives that produced 10 fourth-quarter points and that he scored the touchdown himself on a seven-yard read option run and you have a very good game that flew under the radar.

—The 49ers came into the game ranked 31st in third-down conversions on offense and on defense. The Redskins ensured that they will stay near the bottom. Washington hit on 50 percent of its third downs, converting seven of 14. Opponents had success on 47.4 percent coming into the game. Defensively the Redskins allowed six of 17, a 35.3 percent success rate, a little better than the 29.7 percent the Niners offense had going in. The 49ers converted just one of their first eight but after C.J. Beathard came in at quarterback they got rolling, converting five of their last nine.

I thought that Mack Brown might be more of a chance to run the ball with Rob Kelley out but that was before we knew that Chris Thompson was going to be the featured back. In fact, Thompson said that he didn’t know that his workload would go up until the night before the game. Back to Brown, he got two yards on two carries. He came in for a handoff on third and one in the second quarter. Perhaps he would have had a chance to do something but he got no blocking on the right side, particularly from tight ends Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed. His chance will have to wait for another day.

—Reed had a quiet day receiving with four catches for 37 yards. He confessed to not being 100 percent last week and his average of 7.9 yards per catch on the season speaks to something not being quite right. He did make a couple of key catches, though. After Thompson got tackled for a loss of nine yards on first down, Reed kept the drive alive with receptions good for 10 and 14 yards. That drive ended with Samaje Perine scoring on a three-yard pass reception for a touchdown to put the Redskins up 14-0. Still, it would be good to see Reed have a breakout game with something like seven receptions for 95 yards and a couple of touchdowns.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

The Week 12 fantasy football rankings are out -- but when it comes to Thanksgiving Day, everyone wants some player regardless of where they slot overall. Don't overthink it and take a lesser player, but for those on the fence or simply looking for Thursday action, here are some recommendations for all three games.

Vikings @ Lions

Obvious: Vikings -- Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs... running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon are in the RB2/Flex discussion for most, but good luck picking between them; Lions -- Wide receiver Golden Tate and ... wide receiver Marvin Jones works in three-WR formats while quarterback Matthew Stafford is No. 14 among passers this week.

Start: Case Keenum averaged 19.3 points over the last four games while the Lions have allowed ample points to fantasy quarterbacks in that stretch, though only three touchdown passes. Having Thielen and Diggs up the potential for Keenum, who is QB17 in the Week 12 rankings. That's comparable with Matthew Stafford (QB14), Andy Dalton, Jacoby Brissett and ahead of Derek Carr.

Add: Not sure there's any fringe skill player worth taking a flyer on so take a look at Vikings kicker Kai Forbath. He's attempted at least three field goals in four of his last five games and he kicked five extra points in the lone exception. ... Some will start Ameer Abdullah based on their options, but just know the Vikings allow the second fewest points to fantasy tight ends this season.

Chargers @ Cowboys

Obvious: Chargers -- running back Melvin Gordon and wide receiver Keenan Allen; Cowboys -- Wide receiver Dez Bryant, running back Alfred Morris and... quarterback Dak Prescott, though his production is down without running back Ezekiel Elliott and left tackle Tyron Smith.

Start: This hasn't been a vintage Philip Rivers season, but he's coming off his best performance (251 yards, two touchdown passes) since Week 5. The Cowboys aren't that special in the secondary and have surrendered two touchdown passes in three consecutive games. At QB13, he's on the cusp of QB1 status in 12-team leagues. 

Add: Kickers Nick Novak (Chargers) and Mike Nugent (Cowboys) are 15th and 16th respectively. So, there's that. 

Giants @ Redskins

The obvious: Giants -- tight end Evan Engram and... running back Orleans Darkwa is a viable RB2 option against a Redskins defense giving up gobs of yards on the ground; Redskins -- quarterback Kirk Cousins, tight Vernon Davis and...running back Samaje Perine is RB12 this week, though listed as questionable on the injury report with a finger issue.

Start: Jordan Reed is out for a fourth consecutive game, meaning Vernon Davis once again is Washington's main tight end. While he hasn't provided wow performances like Reed at his Pro Bowl best, Davis has been good for a solid 8-11 since taking on a larger role starting in Week 3. This could be his best statistical week of the season. The Giants allow the most points to fantasy tight ends on the season. Opposing tight ends scored a touchdown in each of the first 10 games before the streak snapped Sunday.

RELATED: NEW AND IMPROVED WEEK 12 FANTASY RANKINGS

Add: Josh Doctson is only owned in 55 percent of leagues on CBS even though he's moved into the role of Washington's top outside receiver. The second-year player had four receptions for 81 yards in Sunday's overtime loss, though all the production came in the first half. Consistency is the next step, but Kirk Cousins is showing more and more confidence in the 6'3" target especially on 50-50 balls. Doctson is WR36 in my Week 12 rankings, meaning he's worth starting consideration in three-WR formats regardless.