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Need to Know: Will DeSean Jackson be 100-percent for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Will DeSean Jackson be 100-percent for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 15, the day the Washington Redskins host the New Orleans Saints.

PSA: If you’re attending the game today be sure that you take a look at the NFL’s statement on stadium security issued yesterday.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Saints

—Despite pronouncements by Jay Gruden and Sean McVay that DeSean Jackson is 100 percent, or very close to it, I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m not a fantasy football player but I think that if you have a reasonable alternative and can’t afford to gamble you might want to consider leaving Jackson on the bench. There is the possibility you could miss out on 110 yards and a touchdown from Jackson but you could also see another five-point performance from him as well.

—The defense is going to be shaken up in an effort to be able to stop the decline that has seen the unit go from being ranked in the top 10 earlier this season into the 21st ranked in terms of yards per game. Will Compton will start at inside linebacker. If Keenan Robinson is healthy, Compton will start in place of Perry Riley. If Robinson is inactive it will be Compton in his place. And Trenton Robinson, who has been playing almost 100 percent of the plays at strong safety, will yield many of his snaps to some combination of Jeron Johnson and Kyshoen Jarrett. Those aren’t huge upgrades but they re improvements.

—Here’s a not-so-bold prediction—the Redskins’ status as one of three NFL teams that has not allowed an opposing quarterback to throw for over 300 yards this year will come to an end. Drew Brees will throw for something around 325. The key to slowing him down will be getting him on the ground (he has taken 22 sacks, a rate of 5.5 percent, 19th in the NFL) and making tackles to limit yards after the catch.

—For yet another game the No. 1 question going in from the standpoint of the Redskins offense is can they get their running game going. They are in the worst four-game rushing stretch in team history, with just 172 yards. Can they break out of it in a big way? Just about any way you want to measure it, the Saints have one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL. Look for Matt Jones to possibly start at running back and for the Redskins to get things rolling, at least to a respectable extent.

—The Redskins are 3-1 at home and the Saints are 1-3 on the road. New Orleans’ only road win came in the retractable dome in Indianapolis. As I noted in a post earlier this week, Brees does not play as well outdoors as he does in a dome. If Kirk Cousins can protect the ball—in the last nine quarters he has one interception and that pass that bounced out of Pierre Garçon’s hands—the Redskins should put up enough points to win this one and go into the last seven games of the season with four wins under their belts for the first time since 2010.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Saints 1 p.m., FOX

Days until: Redskins @ Panthers 7; Giants @ Redskins 14; Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 22

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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.