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Tier-ing up over RG3's slot among fantasy QBs

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Tier-ing up over RG3's slot among fantasy QBs

With NFL training camps opening for business, it's certainly time to start gearing up for the allimportant business of fantasy football. Or, to phrase it another way for all those in Redskins nation,determining where RG3 goes in fantasy drafts.I suspect in these parts Robert Griffin III's average draft position will be higher than the national average seeing as many locally have come down with a severe case of RGIII-itis (After a season dealing with Rex-Beck syndrome, it's a welcome problem). My take, excerpted below from an article I posted on FFToolbox.com and discussed on this podcast, looks at Griffin and all the fantasy quarterbacks from a tier (and non-burgundy and gold colored glasses) perspective. Essentially after the top 12 options, there is a very shallow pool ofpassers fantasyowners should target as starters in deep leagues or high-end backups with potential for stardom. The Redskins passer is one of them.For a single game, I can imagine selecting the likes of Joe Flacco or Josh Freeman or Ryan Fitzpatrick depending on the matchup for all involved. However, when you consider the potential for greatness - at least on a fantasy level - in 2012, I'll side with RG3's upside over the ordinary upside offered by the suspect bottom half of quarterbacks.The "Tier-ing up over fantasy quarterbacks" intro is below along with the section involving RG3 (plus Jay Cutler and Matt Schaub). Click here to find out which tiers the other 29 starting passers and intriguing backupslanded in...--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Based on the fantasy football calendar, it is now time to get in touch with my feelings, those that involve drafting one player over another, that is. Actually, I'm not much for rankings. As the title of this piece indicates, I'm more of a tier guy.

We can quibble about Tom Brady v. Drew Brees (Brady), Tony Romo v. Matt Ryan (Ryan), Griffin III v. Luck (RGIII) and so on, but in some of those cases we're talking eye of the beholder type differences. As Kramer once noted on Seinfeld, it's all about levels.

Just because, as the FFToolbox rankings currently indicate, Jay Cutler is one spot ahead of Andy Dalton does not mean the two are of comparable value. Brady vs. Brees, yes. An aggressive Cutler vs. a play it closer to the vest Dalton, no. Simply taking the next name on a list, especially when viewing the entire draft board, is not always smart business.

As Mike Tyson once famously said upon hearing before a fight that his opponent had a plan to beat him, Tyson brashly countered that, "everyone has a plan, until they get hit in the mouth." The fantasy football equivalent is stating, as many do, bumper sticker claims of "waiting on QB" or "drafting best available" yet not realizing when adaptability is called for. The best way to put all your strategic components together is tiers.

Unlike Kramer, I actually completed my quarterback levels, err, tiers with all six plus a bonus rainy day grouping listed below. The specific order of each player within said tier is indeed my personal and current preference, but that's certainly not the point of this exercise. Understanding when you can bob and weave and when you have to jab, jab, jab with a needed selection is
Tier 4 Jay Cutler, Robert Griffin III, Matt SchaubThe low-end QB1QB2 market dries up dramatically after these three. Cutler's jerky vibe can be tough to root for, but he played rather well last season and finally, finally has a legitimate WR in his former Broncos' buddy Brandon Marshall. Not ready to declare RGIII another Newton, but his legs make his fantasy floor higher than most and the Redskins receivers are better than projected. His presence speaks more to his dynamic potential than purely 2012 production. Schaub's proven, but is another Andre Johnson injury away from sliding.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 20, 53 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 45
—NFL Draft (4/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 232

The Redskins week that was

Jags big win could spell bad news for Kirk Cousins—If the Jaguars’ accomplishment of getting to the AFC championship game does indeed make Blake Bortles’ job safe, the laws of economics say that the amount of money that Cousins can command in a free agent contract should go down. It’s the demand part of supply and demand and if demand goes down, prices should, too. But the NFL quarterback market doesn’t follow the laws. If the Lions see fit to pay Matthew Stafford, a quarterback under whom they have had very limited success, a contract with an average annual value of $27 million without any team bidding against them, that sets the price.

Setting the odds on what happens with Kirk Cousins—Despite his happy talk at the 106.7 The Fan event earlier this month, the possibility that Cousins will play in a Redskins uniform in 2018 does not warrant a large bet of imaginary casino chips. If you missed the post, take a look and let me know what you think of my assessment.

Don't freak out about latest Zach Brown tweet—It’s that time of year. A player sends out a tweet with no context and fans assign the worst possible meaning to it. In Brown’s case, a tweet about not getting respect was interpreted as a sign that contract negotiations with the Redskins were not going well. But JP Finlay found out that the tweet was about Brown being upset that another alternate getting selected to the Pro Bowl and not him. It still is unclear if Brown will return to the Redskins but at least there are no indications of rocky negotiations at this point.

Bang for the free agent bucks for the Redskins? Brown was a solid free agent acquisition for the Redskins last year. Terrelle Pryor, not so much. Take a look at the post for the other hits and misses in free agency.

Tweet of the week

Even though the draft is over three months away there are plenty of opinions out there as this tweet drew a ton of reaction. On the offensive side of the ball, the suggestions ran towards quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield although some want a running back. It will be interesting to see how those two non-conventional quarterbacks look after they spend the next few months under the microscope of the NFL draft process. The defensive name that kept coming up was Washington defensive lineman Vita Vea, a large specimen who could play the nose in base defense and move to three-technique in nickel.

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.

In case you missed it

 

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Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Redskins fans were frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuddered and the Kirk Haters celebrated.

McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who's wildly popular with fans, explained what few people will say publicly: Cousins is a skilled player but probably not deserving of the money he might make in free agency. 

Let's start with the obvious: Cousins is good.

He's a durable passer in a league that doesn't have enough of them. He's started the last 49 games for the Redskins and thrown for more than 4,000 yards each of the past three seasons. 

Now more obvious: He isn't great.

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Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, speaking on the #RedskinsTalk podcast, said Cousins ranks about 12th among NFL passers. It's top half of the league, but it's not Top 5 or even Top 10. 

Cousins has had tremendous games with the Redskins, like a near perfect performance against Oakland in 2017 or a dominant performance against Green Bay in 2016. 

Cousins has also been awful, as recently as Week 17 in New York a few weeks ago, or an equally stinky Week 17 game against the Giants two seasons ago. 

While some might view McCloughan's statement as controversial — "He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special," he told Denver radio station 104.3 the Fan — it's not. 

Plenty of people agree with McCloughan, including some in Redskins Park. Last year, a source told NBC Sports Washington that the team believed they could get nearly as much production from Colt McCoy as Cousins provided. 

Even this year, Washington head coach Jay Gruden offered lukewarm praise of his quarterback.

When the season ended, asked to evaluate Cousins' play, the coach said, "When you’re 7-9, it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ There’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent [Williams] when he played was a Pro Bowl-type and Brandon [Scherff] when he was healthy was a Pro Bowl-type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know, we’re 7-9."

That quote made headlines when Gruden said it, much like McCloughan's comments now are circulating faster than Beltway traffic. 

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Truth is, it's not new. And it's not news.

There are coaches that think Cousins is only scratching the surface of his capabilities. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay come to mind, but both of those coaches have other QBs likely for the long-term future. 

Cousins might end up being paid like a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL, and that might be the right move given the demand at the position. Will that make him a special passer?

Not if special is defined as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Even Cousins wouldn't argue with that.