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10 Questions in 10 days: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

10 Questions in 10 days: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

The Redskins had to improve the defensive line this offseason. The defense ranked dead last against the run in 2017, and without improvement up front defensively, the playoffs would again be out of reach in 2018. 

And for the second straight season, Washington tried. 

The team selected Daron Payne out of Alabama with their first-round pick and Tim Settle out of Virginia Tech in the fifth round. The front office also waived under-performing Terrell McClain in the offseason and moved on from veteran A.J. Francis.

Perhaps most important, the team should have 2017 first-rounder Jonathan Allen completely healthy this fall. He and Matt Ioannidis looked like a strong front in 2017 before a foot injury shut down Allen for the year in Week 5. Add in Anthony Lanier, who flashed big-time sack potential, and the Redskins have a strong, young nucleus.  

But how does it all work?

In the base 3-4 scheme, Payne might have the strength to play nose tackle. Settle definitely has the size for the nose. Both are rookies, however, and will need to learn a lot, and fast, to start Week 1. Veteran Stacy McGee, coming off groin surgery, might be able to hold off the rookies if he is fully healthy. When a nose is on the field, expect Allen and Ioannidis to line up at the defensive tackle spots. If he's not playing nose, Payne will rotate in at tackle as well. Another veteran, Ziggy Hood, will provide depth at tackle, if he makes the team. 

In the nickel package, which the team deploys more than half of their snaps, expect to see a healthy rotation of Allen, Payne, Ioannidis and Lanier. Keeping those players fresh should allow interior pocket pressure, and that could be great news for Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith

With Payne and Allen the headliners, and Ioannidis and Lanier valuable, and Settle capable at the nose, the Redskins have five D-line roster spots about locked down. 

Last year, the team kept six defensive linemen coming out of camp. If McGee is healthy, that spot will be his. If he's not, Hood likely hangs on. It's also possible the team keeps seven D-linemen, particularly as they monitor McGee's groin injury. 

The good news is last year, due to injuries and the talent on the roster, a number of players were forced into spots they didn't truly belong. Hood doesn't have the true size to play nose, but he was forced into the position. Lanier is best served as an interior pass rusher, but was forced to be a run stuffer. 

With more investments on the line, and better luck in the training room, the 2018 Redskins D-line should have more people playing where they belong. And that could go a long way. 

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Contract makes Adrian Peterson a no-risk acquisition for the Redskins

Contract makes Adrian Peterson a no-risk acquisition for the Redskins

Adrian Peterson is truly a no-risk acquisition for the Redskins. 

The 33-year-old running back signed with the Redskins for one year at the NFL minimum salary of $1.015 million according to Field Yates of ESPN

The contract structure means that the Redskins can have him practice for the next week and a half, play in the two remaining preseason games, and then let him go prior to Week 1 and walk away owing him nothing. 

If they do keep him for Week 1, his salary for the season will become guaranteed. But if they decide to let him go at some point in the season the payout of the remainder of his salary will be a drop in the bucket of a $176 million salary cap. There is no signing bonus, roster bonus, or other guaranteed salary. 

One more team friendly aspect of this deal is that Peterson will cost less against the cap than the Redskins are paying him. The NFL has something called the veteran minimum benefit, designed to encourage teams to keep older players rather than the younger and cheaper one. Under this benefit, Peterson will count just $630,000 in cap space. That is the same cap charge as Byron Marshall carries. So, if it comes down to choosing between the Marshall and Peterson for a roster spot, the salary cap will not be a factor. 

Apparently, Peterson is anxious to play football and after spending the entire offseason as a free agent who wasn’t drawing much interest, a player who received $11 million guaranteed from the Vikings two years ago will go to work for a fraction of that. 

More Redskins news and analysis

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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 and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Fantasy Football: Top 200 rankings with tiers

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USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football: Top 200 rankings with tiers

Rankings are cool, tiers are better. Here we have nine of them separating the top 200 fantasy football players for 2018. Dive in.

Tier 1

1.  Todd Gurley, LAR RB
 
2.  Le'Veon Bell, PIT RB
 
3.  Ezekiel Elliott, DAL RB
 
4.  David Johnson, ARI RB
 
5.  Antonio Brown, PIT WR

Notes: There's a temptation to make this a two-man tier as some concern exists with situations for Elliott (Will the Cowboys have a balanced offense?) and Johnson (Will he thrive as Cardinals transition?), but ultimately these are the main building blocks for any fantasy team. Order isn't locked and even less so in PPR.
 
Tier 2

6.  Alvin Kamara, NO RB
 
7.  DeAndre Hopkins, HOU WR
 
8.  Saquon Barkley, NYG RB
 
9.  Leonard Fournette, JAC RB
 
10.  Melvin Gordon, LAC RB
 
11.  Kareem Hunt, KC RB
 
12.  Julio Jones, ATL WR
 
13.  Odell Beckham Jr., NYG WR

Notes: Interesting dilemma starts here. Take the always needed running backs or grab one of the elite in a year in which there aren't many elite receivers?
 
Tier 3

14.  Dalvin Cook, MIN RB
 
15.  Michael Thomas, NO WR
 
16.  Keenan Allen, LAC WR
 
17.  Devonta Freeman, ATL RB
 
18.  A.J. Green, CIN WR
 
19.  Davante Adams, GB WR
 
20.  Rob Gronkowski, NE TE

Notes: These are the last running backs that can help owners desiring an RB1 sleep better at night. Cook dropped from Tier 2 to 3 because Minnesota's offensive line is a true MASH unit. ...The "Gronk" upside vs. injuy risk is, always, in play.
 
Tier 4

21.  Joe Mixon, CIN RB
 
22.  T.Y. Hilton, IND WR
 
23.  Mike Evans, TB WR
 
24.  Jerick McKinnon, SF RB
 
25.  Jordan Howard, CHI RB
 
26.  Christian McCaffrey, CAR RB
 
27.  Stefon Diggs, MIN WR
 
28.  Adam Thielen, MIN WR
 
29.  Doug Baldwin, SEA WR
 
30.  Tyreek Hill, KC WR
 
31.  Alex Collins, BAL RB
 
32.  Amari Cooper, OAK WR
 
33.  Travis Kelce, KC TE
 
34.  Derrick Henry, TEN RB
 
35.  Demaryius Thomas, DEN WR
 
36.  Lamar Miller, HOU RB
 
37.  Larry Fitzgerald, ARI WR
 
38.  Allen Robinson, CHI WR
 
39.  Aaron Rodgers, GB QB
 
40.  Kenyan Drake, MIA RB

Notes:  Fun group of running backs here for any owner who went receiver-receiver at the start. Mixon, Collins and Henry are particularly interesting, though all have some form of a stat-stealing pest in their respective backfields. ... Rodgers likely goes higher in most leagues. Considering the impressive QB depth this season, it's surely better to let someone else jump in while you fortify depth elsewhere. 
 
Tier 5

41.  Marvin Jones, DET WR
 
42.  Jay Ajayi, PHI RB
 
43.  JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT WR
 
44.  Zach Ertz, PHI TE
 
45.  Royce Freeman, DEN RB
 
46.  LeSean McCoy, BUF RB
 
47.  Chris Hogan, NE WR
 
48.  Josh Gordon, CLE WR
 
49.  Golden Tate, DET WR
 
50.  Brandin Cooks, LAR WR
 
51.  Alshon Jeffery, PHI WR
 
52.  Mark Ingram, NO RB
 
53.  Tom Brady, NE QB
 
54.  Jarvis Landry, CLE WR
 
55.  Marshawn Lynch, OAK RB

Notes: Derrius Guice would have been the first rookie running back off the board after Saquon Barkley. Alas, that's not happening after his season-ending knee injury. Instead that honor goes to Freeman, who should pass Devontae Booker on the Broncos depth chart before long.
 
Tier 6

56.  Corey Davis, TEN WR
 
57.  Rex Burkhead, NE RB
 
58.  Rashaad Penny, SEA RB
 
59.  Ronald Jones II, TB RB
 
60.  Russell Wilson, SEA QB
 
61.  Dion Lewis, TEN RB
 
62.  Cam Newton, CAR QB
 
63.  Tevin Coleman, ATL RB
 
64.  Michael Crabtree, BAL WR
 
65.  Emmanuel Sanders, DEN WR
 
66.  Deshaun Watson, HOU QB
 
67.  Sammy Watkins, KC WR
 
68.  Robert Woods, LAR WR
 
69.  Marquise Goodwin, SF WR
 
70.  Randall Cobb, GB WR
 
71.  Robby Anderson, NYJ WR
 
72.  Sony Michel, NE RB
 
73.  Kenny Stills, MIA WR
 
74.  Pierre Garcon, SF WR
 
75.  Devin Funchess, CAR WR
 
76.  Greg Olsen, CAR TE
 
77.  Jamison Crowder, WAS WR
 
78.  Isaiah Crowell, NYJ RB
 
79.  Will Fuller, HOU WR
 
80.  Jimmy Graham, GB TE
 
81.  Kerryon Johnson, DET RB
 
82.  Cooper Kupp, LAR WR
 
Tier 7

83.  Jamaal Williams, GB RB
 
84.  Marlon Mack, IND RB
 
85.  Delanie Walker, TEN TE
 
86.  Drew Brees, NO QB
 
87.  Nelson Agholor, PHI WR
 
88.  Julian Edelman, NE WR
 
89.  Evan Engram, NYG TE
 
90.  Kyle Rudolph, MIN TE
 
91.  Paul Richardson, WAS WR
 
92.  Carson Wentz, PHI QB
 
93.  Carlos Hyde, CLE RB
 
94.  Andrew Luck, IND QB
 
Tier 8

95.  Tarik Cohen, CHI RB
 
96.  Kirk Cousins, MIN QB
 
97.  Kelvin Benjamin, BUF WR
 
98.  Chris Thompson, WAS RB
 
99.  Jordy Nelson, OAK WR
 
100.  Marqise Lee, JAC WR
 
101.  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT QB
 
102.  Devante Parker, MIA WR
 
103.  Jordan Reed, WAS TE
 
104.  Trey Burton, CHI TE
 
105.  Matthew Stafford, DET QB
 
106.  C.J. Anderson, CAR RB
 
107.  Sterling Shepard, NYG WR
 
108.  Kenny Golladay, DET WR
 
109.  Allen Hurns, DAL WR
 
110.  Rishard Matthews, TEN WR
 
111.  Duke Johnson, CLE RB
 
112.  Josh Doctson, WAS WR
 
113.  Philip Rivers, LAC QB
 
114.  Tyler Lockett, SEA WR
 
115.  Matt Ryan, ATL QB
 
116.  Mike Williams, LAC WR
 
117.  Devontae Booker, DEN RB
 
118.  Jack Doyle, IND TE
 
119.  Jimmy Garoppolo, SF QB
 
120.  Chris Carson, SEA RB
 
121.  D.J. Moore, CAR WR
 
122.  Patrick Mahomes, KC QB
 
123.  Giovani Bernard, CIN RB
 
124.  Anthony Miller, CHI WR
 
125.  Mohamed Sanu, ATL WR
 
126.  Ted Ginn, NO WR
 
127.  Matt Breida, SF RB
 
128.  George Kittle, SF TE
 
129.  David Njoku, CLE TE
 
130.  Cameron Meredith, NO WR
 
Tier 9

131.  Dez Bryant, FA WR
 
132.  Aaron Jones, GB RB
 
133.  Nick Chubb, CLE RB
 
134.  Chris Godwin, TB WR
 
135.  Tyrell Williams, LAC WR
 
136.  Ty Montgomery, GB RB
 
137.  Jared Goff, LAR QB
 
138.  DeSean Jackson, TB WR
 
139.  John Brown, BAL WR
 
140.  Alex Smith, WAS QB
 
141.  Michael Gallup, DAL WR
 
142.  Peyton Barber, TB RB
 
143.  Marcus Mariota, TEN QB
 
144.  Calvin Ridley, ATL WR
 
145.  James White, NE RB
 
146.  Keelan Cole, JAC WR
 
147.  Corey Clement, PHI RB
 
148.  Latavius Murray, MIN RB
 
149.  Mike Wallace, PHI WR
 
150.  O.J. Howard, TB TE
 
151.  Dak Prescott, DAL QB
 
152.  Bilal Powell, NYJ RB
 
153.  Martavis Bryant, OAK WR
 
154.  Quincy Enunwa, NYJ WR
 
155.  Nyheim Hines, IND RB
 
156.  Eric Ebron, IND TE
 
157.  Robert Kelley, WAS RB
 
158.  Tyler Eifert, CIN TE
 
159.  Charles Clay, BUF TE
 
160.  Austin Ekeler, LAC RB
 
161.  Ricky Seals-Jones, ARI TE
 
162.  Ryan Grant, IND WR
 
163.  Jordan Wilkins, IND RB
 
164.  Blake Bortles, JAC QB
 
165.  Samaje Perine, WAS RB
 
166.  Mitch Trubisky, CHI QB
 
167.  Theo Riddick, DET RB
 
168.  John Ross, CIN WR
 
169.  D'Onta Foreman, HOU RB
 
170.  Danny Amendola, MIA WR
 
171.  Cameron Brate, TB TE
 
172.  Doug Martin, OAK RB
 
173.  Vance McDonald, PIT TE
 
174.  Jermaine Kearse, NYJ WR
 
175.  Geronimo Allison, GB WR
 
176.  Chris Ivory, BUF RB
 
177.  Donte Moncrief, JAC WR
 
178.  Taywan Taylor, TEN WR
 
179.  Eli Manning, NYG QB
 
180.  Frank Gore, MIA RB
 
181.  LeGarrette Blount, DET RB
 
182.  Derek Carr, OAK QB
 
183.  Albert Wilson, MIA WR
 
184.  Austin Hooper, ATL TE
 
185.  Benjamin Watson, NO TE
 
186.  Austin Seferian-Jenkins, JAC TE
 
187.  Hayden Hurst, BAL TE
 
188.  Jacksonville Jaguars, JAC DST
 
189.  Courtland Sutton, DEN WR
 
190.  Christian Kirk, ARI WR
 
191.  Dante Pettis, SF WR
 
192.  Terrance Williams, DAL WR
 
193.  Travis Benjamin, LAC WR
 
194.  Jameis Winston, TB QB
 
195.  Mike Gesicki, MIA TE
 
196.  Spencer Ware, KC RB
 
197.  Andy Dalton, CIN QB
 
198.  Mark Andrews, BAL TE
 
199.  James Washington, PIT WR
 
200.  Greg Zuerlein, LAR