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Need to Know: Will Matt Jones have a big role for the Redskins?

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Need to Know: Will Matt Jones have a big role for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 8, 82 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.

Three and out

Thoughts on the Redskins as they continue to tinker with their roster in preparation for OTAs starting later this month.

1. Scot McCloughan was quite effusive in his praise of Matt Jones on Thursday, comparing his third-round draft pick to Marshawn Lynch. I don’t know about that, but the high praise does hint at a big role for Jones, at least in relation to the very light role that tailbacks not named Alfred Morris have had in the last three years. I’ll put the top end at 115 carries, 500 yards. If Morris’ production returns to what it was in 2013 (276 carries/1275 yards) the Redskins would have quite the potent running attack.

2. If Adam Hayward, Martrell Spaight, and Will Compton are battling for two jobs as inside linebacker reserves, I’m not so sure I’d write off Hayward’s chances of sticking around. He was the special teams captain before getting injured last year and he was instrumental in getting some of the younger players to buy in to what they were doing. The special teams improved from historically awful to merely bad last year and if they are going to continue to get better I think that Hayward needs to stay. So it could be Spaight against Compton for the remaining reserve spot.

3. Free agency may not be over for the Redskins. You’d have to think that they are looking for a free safety to back up Dashon Goldson after not getting a long-term solution in the draft. Teams are adjusting their rosters now but there doesn’t appear to be anyone out there who they would be comfortable with. Keep an eye on the waiver wire; the backup free safety could arrive on the roster anytime between now and a week before the season starts.

Out: The Redskins already have some of their draft picks under contract (as of this writing, Austin Reiter and Tevin Mitchel) and all of them are likely to be under contract before rookie camp starts on Friday. The lockout of 2011 was a drag but the rookie pay scale is the best thing to come out of it. Rookie training camp holdouts were dumb since most of the time the offers didn’t budge and the draft pick signed for the same money he would have had before missing a week or more of valuable camp time.

Timeline

—It’s been 132 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 127 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 38; Redskins training camp starts 82; Redskins @ Giants 138

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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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.