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Fantasy Football -- Players to target before trade deadline

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Fantasy Football -- Players to target before trade deadline

Week 10 marks a crucial moment in the fantasy football world: Trade deadline.

There are players worth targeting for the playoff push – and others worth dumping while you can before Sunday's deadline.


Derek Carr, Michael Crabtree, Marshawn Lynch – Week 10 is never a good time for a bye, but this where opportunistic owners can make a move. Oakland’s schedule is loaded with scoring opportunities over the final six weeks; Fantasy Pros ranks the Raiders remaining quarterback schedule as the easiest and receiver second. The fact that Carr and Crabtree have been quieter than normal over the last couple of games also helps those looking to add. Lynch (3.8 yards per carry) hasn’t been a dynamic runner, but improvement in the passing attack should boost his potential scoring chances.

Brandin Cooks – The quicker than quick receiver is averaging a whopping 17.1 yards per catch, but hasn’t quite popped for the Patriots. Two of his three touchdowns came in the same week as his only 100-yard receiving game. New England might not have Chris Hogan for at least another week and logic suggest Tom Brady and the coaching staff spent their bye week figuring out to get Cooks more involved.

Hunter Henry – With the 3-5 Chargers on the outside of the playoff picture, there’s no reason not to play their younger plays. Henry has three games with 70+ yards this season and the fifth easiest schedule for tight ends remaining.

Josh Doctson – Whether the 2016 first round pick is available on waivers or via trade, now is the time for Doctson. Well, at least the opportunity looks all too real. Doctson jumped ahead of Terrelle Pryor in the Redskins wide receiver rotation three weeks ago, but that meant little in terms of production. Based on total numbers, still does, but his diving 38-yard catch to set-up Washington’s game-winning touchdown Sunday against Seattle looks like a turning point moment.

Lions defense – Over its last seven games, Detroit is set to face quarterbacks DeShone Kizer (Week 10), Mitch Trubisky (twice!), Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton along with Case Keenum and possibly Ryan Fitzpatrick depending on what decisions are made in Minnesota and Tampa Bay respectively. Enough said.

Jordan Reed – The Pro Bowl tight end hasn’t looked like one all season. Then a hamstring took him out of Week 9 and perhaps longer. Meanwhile, Vernon Davis has just made play after play in his place. That his value is now so low because of these factors is why Reed is worth targeting. His talent remains undeniable at a position with few game-changers and his remaining schedule is fantasy-friendly. Owners who are over Martellus Bennett, have been streaming tight ends or simply don’t have Rob Gronkowski, Zach Ertz or Travis Kelce should consider stashing Reed.

Others: Players offering immediate help or worthy of add-and-stash consideration possibly sitting in your league’s free agent pool include Jets quarterback Josh McCown, Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls, Lions running back Theo Riddick, Titans wide receiver Corey Davis, 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola and Bills tight end Charles Clay.



DeAndre Hopkins – The Texans’ standout went from a rough 2016 into currently leading all fantasy receivers in points. That’s great, except for the whole Tom Savage at quarterback with DeShawn Watson out for the season part. Hopkins finished with a solid 6-86-1 line Sunday in Savage’s first start, but those type of numbers might be the high end with his new quarterback. Don’t sell the crazy-talented Hopkins for 50 cents on the dollar, but it’s cool seeing if another owner might fork over significant help in return.

LeGarrette Blount – This is less about Philadelphia’s Week 10 bye and more about all the mouths to feed in the Eagles backfield. Jay Ajayi’s explosive potential was evident in his debut and Corey Clement showed he’s worthy of looks. Blount remains a goal-line threat, but he’s no threat in the passing game, meaning it’s touchdown or bust most weeks.


Mike Evans – This one can go either way depending on your situation. The playmaking wide receiver must sit out Week 10 after receiving a one-game suspension for his role in a fight during Sunday’s Buccaneers-Saints game. That’s a rough spot for those in win-now mode. Even when Evans returns, he won’t have quarterback Jameis Winston, who is expected to miss a couple of weeks with a shoulder injury. That said, he remains an elite option with the potential for weekly red-zone scores. Owners feeling good about their playoff path could target Evans with Weeks 14-16 in mind.

Kareem Hunt – The rookie running back’s spectacular season has hit some turbulence. After opening the season with 47, 25 and 25 points in PPR formats, Hunt hasn’t topped 16 points and is coming off back-to-back games with nine and 10 points. He only had nine carries in Sunday’s loss at Dallas and now heads into a bye week. Reminder: Only Todd Gurley has scored more points this season than Hunt. His trade value remains high. If you think the recent trend continues, seek out an owner willing to pony up a solid RB1 and help at another position in return. For me, I’m sticking with the kid and looking to add if his current has the shakes. Kansas City running backs have the sixth-best remaining strength of schedule.

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Need to Know: Tandler's Take—Jay Gruden know the pressure is on him in 2018

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Need to Know: Tandler's Take—Jay Gruden know the pressure is on him in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 24, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The heat is on Jay Gruden

Jay Gruden knows that his Redskins need to win in 2018.

“This isn’t a two- or three-year process,” he said last week. “This is a one-year process and we have got to win right away.” 

Jay Gruden gave this answer to a question about Alex Smith, but his words should resonate with the whole team. He’s right. This is no longer a rebuilding team. It’s time for this team to get it together and make a playoff run. 

That puts the pressure on Gruden. 

This is his fifth year as coach of the Redskins. He is well beyond the point where he can credibly point a finger of blame at his predecessor for any problems that are lingering. Only five players who were around in 2013, Mike Shanahan’s last year in Washington. It’s Gruden’s show now. 

His tenure is now the longest for a Redskins head coach since Norv Turner made it nearly seven years, from 1994 through 13 games into the 2000 season. His 49-59-1 run with the Redskins spanned three owners in Jack Kent Cooke, John Kent Cooke, and Dan Snyder. 

It should be noted that Turner’s third and fourth years at the helm closely resembled Gruden’s past two years. Turner’s team went 9-7 in 1996 and 8-7-1 the next year, narrowly missing the playoffs both years. That looks a lot like Gruden’s 8-7-1 and 7-9 records over the past two years. 

Gruden does not want this year’s team to resemble the 1998 Redskins. Turner’s fifth team started out 0-7 before winning four of their last five to finish 6-10. 

Turner kept his job in part because of the team’s uncertain ownership situation after the elder Cooke passed away in 1997. Gruden will not have a similar set of circumstances to help him out if he needs a lifeline in January. 

Gruden wants his fifth year to turn out more like Turner’s sixth season. That team went 10-6, topped the NFC East standings and won a playoff game. 

To get there, he needs a lot of his decisions to go right. While the trade for Smith was not his call, every indication is that he was on board with it. 

Last year, it was his decision to say no, thanks to Wade Phillips, who wanted to be his defensive coordinator and promote Greg Manusky into the job. The results were mixed as the Redskins were sixth in pass defense DVOA but 29thagainst the run. It was viewed as a marginal improvement on defense but the unit still seeme to be more of a liability than an asset. 

This year, the Redskins re-signed inside linebackers Zach Brown and Mason Foster and added defensive lineman Daron Payne with their first-round pick after spending their first-round pick on DE Jonathan Allen in 2017. There will be no excuses for Manusky and, by extension, Gruden if the defense does not improve. 

Joe Barry, Manusky’s predecessor who also was hired by Gruden when Phillips was an option, was out after two years of failing to significantly improve the defense. Any reasonable analysis would have to conclude that Barry did not get an infusion of talent anywhere approaching what Manusky has received in his two seasons. Manusky is getting a second year but he probably won’t get a third if the defense is still considered to be an impediment to the team’s progress. 

And if Manusky has to go, you have to wonder if Gruden will get a chance to hire a third defensive coordinator. 

I’m not sure if there is a certain number of games that the Redskins have to win for Gruden to return in 2019. It feels like he would not survive a 6-10 season or maybe not even another 7-9 finish. On the other end of the spectrum, making the playoffs and winning a game when they get there would certainly punch his ticket for a sixth season. 

Anything in between would leave Gruden in some jeopardy and the call would come down to the vague “moving in the right direction” criteria. 

There are some holes on this team, to be sure. But every team has some and the ones that are well coached figure out how to overcome them. The pressure will be on Gruden to best utilize their strengths and minimize any damage brought about by the weaker points. 

From his statement, it’s apparent that he is well aware of that. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Tandler on Twitter

I put out a tweet correcting the Super Bowl ring count to two.


Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 32
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 60

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 77 days. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, June 23, 33 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins  and NBC Sports Washington.

Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense—NFL coaches and others like to tell you that competition determines who wins roster spots in the league. And that may be true to an extent. But many roster spots are predetermined by a player’s contract situation and/or draft status. It is unlikely that an undrafted player like Fish Smithson will win a roster spot over Troy Apke even if the former outperforms the latter in every way during training camp. Apke was a fourth-round pick and they aren’t going to give up on him in favor of an undrafted player. It would cost $3.2 million in dead cap to cut Stacy McGee and only $150,000 to move on from Ziggy Hood so McGee will win a “competition” that is even remotely close. (Offensive projection here)

Redskins will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor at training camp—While this is something that could add a little spice to the Jets’ visit to Richmond, don’t look for much of anything to happen. Zach Brown might give a little extra shove to Pryor here and there but he’s not going to do anything that will draw blood or even cause a deep bruise. If nothing else, a big hit on Pryor would invite retaliation by the Jets on Josh Doctson or Paul Richardson. And that might lead to more retaliation and you end up with a brawl like the Redskins and Texans had a couple of years ago.

Trent Williams very much of approves of Smith and Guice—Williams is going into his ninth NFL season and he has yet to be on the winning side of a playoff game. He thinks that Alex Smith and Derrius Guice can help change that. 

The curious case of Alex Smith and the NFL Top 100 list—I normally greet this list with a big yawn and this year was no exception. But I do find the omission of Smith, who led the NFL in passer rating and was third in adjusted net yards per attempt, odd. In an update to this post, the NFL released the names of the top 10 players and Smith is not on it. He shouldn’t be, but he should be somewhere on the 100, perhaps in the middle of the pack. The only Redskins player to appear on the list was Trent Williams at No. 57.

The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger—It’s likely that nine players who are 25 or younger will line up as starters for the Redskins this year. I don’t have a rundown of how that compares to the rest of the league but it’s notable that in the last two years six of them have replaced players who were either approaching age 30 or over it. I’ll engage in some speculation here and say that five of the young players—Daron Payne, Derrius Guice, Preston Smith, Jonathan Allen, and Montae Nicholson—are good enough to potentially make a Pro Bowl at some point in their careers. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Former Redskins defensive tackle Dave Butz was born on this date in 1950. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 33
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 47
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 70

The Redskins last played a game 174 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 78 days. 

In case you missed it