Redskins

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Redskins dominate in final tune-up

Redskins dominate in final tune-up

While a number of Redskins might jump each time their phone rings over the next 48 hours, Billy Cundiff wont be sweating Fridays final cuts.

The only kicker on the roster after he was signed Tuesday after Graham Gano was released, Cundiff said his focus is on developing chemistry with long snapper Nick Sundberg and Sav Rocca before the regular season opener in New Orleans on Sept. 9.

Cundiff was pleased with his debut Wednesday at FedEx Field, where he went 3 for 4 on field goal attempts in a 30-3 victory over Tampa Bay in the preseason finale for both teams.

The former Raven connected on kicks of 39, 27 and 22 yards, while missing from 46. He also made all three extra points and was credited with touchbacks on five of his six kickoffs.

Disappointed about the miss, but all things considered, we had four reps in practice yesterday and pre game today, he said. Theres definitely some things we have to iron out with the rhythm, getting used to each other.

As for the positions that remain undecided, heres a quick rundown of the latest developments:

Bank it: Wide receiver Brandon Banks likely helped his chances of making the 53-man roster. He had a 47-yard reception, took a reverse 43 yards and averaged 13.2 yards on five punt returns. But he also muffed a punt and fumbled a handoff.

No, Banks said, asked if hes going to be nervous Friday as teams cut down from 75 to 53 players. I think I put enough on film to still have a job somewhere. If not here, somewhere else.

Asked about his diving catch on the long third-quarter pass from Kirk Cousins, Banks said: I had opportunities, and I made the best of it. It felt good to finally catch a ball and show Im capable of going deep as a wide receiver.

Defensive MVP: Rookie corner back Richard Crawford had a tackle, defended a pass and made his second interception of the preseason in the third quarter. Crawford challenged Tiquan Underwood on a deep pass and pulled the ball away from Bucs wide receiver.

Im new to this business, so I dont really have a confidence level, Crawford said of making the team. Ill be by my phone.

Crawford sustained a sprained right knee but returned to the game and later reported that hes a little sore but fine.

Offensive MVP: Roy Helu Jr., who missed the past two games with sore Achilles tendons on both legs, rushed for 90 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 34 yards.

Injuries have muddled the running back position, but it appears likely that Coach Mike Shanahan will keep four running backs: Tim Hightower, Evan Royster, Alfred Morris and Helu.

Uncertain future: Like a number of Redskins, the next day and a half figures to be excruciating for wide receivers Anthony Armstrong and Dezmon Briscoe.

Armstrong caught two passes for 61 yards and received ample time on special teams, while Briscoe did not enter the game until the second half and did not play on special teams as much as he had hoped.

This has been crazy, Armstrong said of the competition at wide receiver. Theres talent from the top to the bottom, which is going to make for some difficult decisions.

Briscoe added: Im not really too confident on whether Im going to make it or not. I wasnt really part of the rotation on special teams.

Injury report: Royster started the game at running back but was removed after suffering what Shanahan called a little sprained neck. He did not appear to be injured seriously as he exited the dressing room afterward. Running back Tristan Davis sprained his right knee in the first quarter on special teams and did not return.

Rough day: For perhaps the first time in NFL history, a review ended up getting looked at again by the replacement officials. Following a lengthy review to check the correct spot of the ball, referee Jim Core announced to the crowd: Were going to look at it one more time. The sparse crowd booed.

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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.