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Need to Know: Five players to watch during Redskins vs. Saints

Need to Know: Five players to watch during Redskins vs. Saints

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 4, four days before the Washington Redskins visit the New Orleans Saints.  

Talking Points

Here are five Redskins players to watch during their game against the Saints. 

QB Alex Smith
The Redskins knew they would have to put a good number up on the scoreboard to beat the Packers and they did it, scoring 31 points. That was enough to put away Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Now Smith’s counterpart is Drew Brees, who leads an offense that is averaging 34 points per game so far this season. Perhaps the Washington defense will hold down the scoring to some extent but certainly, a score in the high twenties will be needed. Smith will need to be efficient and protect the football. 

RB Chris Thompson
Last Sunday against the Giants, the Saints employed a Cover 2 scheme, similar to the one the Colts used to frustrate Smith and the Washington offense in Week 2. The Saints are likely to use the same concept on Monday. That could mean another busy day for Thompson, who had 13 receptions for 92 yards against the Colts. 

The Redskins will also need to move the ball on the ground to try to draw some Saints defenders closer to the line. That means that Thompson and RB Adrian Peterson will need to make New Orleans pay if they go with six men in the box. 

The game has some special meaning for both backs. Peterson was with the Saints for the early part of last season before he was traded to the Cardinals. He said he holds no ill will against the organization. Thompson suffered a season-ending broken leg at the Superdome in Week 11, cutting short his outstanding season. There will be thoughts of that injury, said Thompson, but once the game starts it will be all business. 

DE Jonathan Allen
The second-year player got two sacks of Aaron Rodgers and the Redskins need him to get a similar amount of pressure on Brees. At his height (6-0), Brees has a difficult time dealing with pass rush up the middle. Of course, the Saints’ protection schemes are designed to prevent such pressure so Allen, NT Daron Payne, and DE Matt Ioannidis will need to help each other out to disrupt the Saints’ interior line. 

ILB Zach Brown
Last year, Brown led the league in tackles until a variety of injuries forced him to miss the last three games. This season he was well out of the top 10 even before the bye week pushed him back even further. He will need to be around the ball and make stops if the Redskins are going to slow down Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Mark Ingram. 

S D.J. Swearinger
Brees has started seven career games against the Redskins and he has thrown at least one interception in each of them. Last year it was Swearinger who got the pick. Certainly, it will help if he can get another one. But his main focus should be on defending the back end of the defense. The Saints have had 22 plays go for 20 or more yards this season. 

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The Agenda

Today: Practice 1:00; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky news conferences and open locker room after practice, approx. 3:00

Upcoming: Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 4 days; Panthers @ Redskins 10; Cowboys @ Redskins 17

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Jordan Reed ruled out for Monday night and could be 'weeks' away, per source

Jordan Reed ruled out for Monday night and could be 'weeks' away, per source

The Redskins ruled Jordan Reed out for Monday night's game against Chicago and the star tight end could be "weeks" away, a source told NBC Sports Washington. 

ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported that Reed would miss the Redskins game against the Bears on Monday, where Washington seeks to get their first win of the season. Reed hasn't played since he sustained a concussion in the third preseason game against the Falcons on August 22nd.

A huge part of head coach Jay Gruden's offense when healthy, Reed has dealt with injuries throughout his career. He has never played a complete 16-game season in seven years in Washington, and even more worrisome is the head injury situation. This marks his seventh documented concussion since he played college football at the University of Florida. 

Without Reed, the Redskins only have Jeremy Sprinkle and Vernon Davis at tight end. The team played with just two tight ends last week against the Cowboys, but that is unusual. 

Juggling injuries elsewhere with Quinton Dunbar, Colt McCoy and Cassanova McKinzy, at some point the Redskins might need to consider placing Reed on the injured reserve. 

Each time Gruden has been asked for an update on Reed, the head coach explains that as part of the NFL's concussion protocol there are no updates. The medical exams are handled by independent doctors, not the Redskins medical group. It's also worth noting that Reed is unable to speak with the media while in the NFL concussion protocol. 

There have been signs of optimism in spurts for Reed. 

He practiced each day prior to the opener against Philadelphia but was ruled out late in the week. In Week 2 against Dallas, he started the practice week but then missed Friday's session before being ruled out for the game.

In advance of the Bears game on Monday night, Reed was on the field on Wednesday but did not go again the rest of the week when the media was allowed to watch practice. 

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Fantasy Football WR Rankings 2019: Week 3

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Fantasy Football WR Rankings 2019: Week 3

Week 2 is in the books and rosters are beginning to take shape. Here are the top wide receivers for Week 3.

For a tiered breakdown of each fantasy football position, click below:

Quarterback Rankings: Week 3
Running Back Rankings: Week 3
Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 3
Tight End Rankings: Week 3

Flex Rankings: Week 3

TIER 1: MUST STARTS

1. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Opponent: at Colts
2019 Stats: 11 Receptions, 137 Receiving YDS, 3 Receiving TD, 42.7 PTS, 2019 WR8
Previous Ranking: 3

2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
Opponent: at Chargers
2019 Stats: 13 Receptions, 151 Receiving YDS, 2 Receiving TD, 40.1 PTS, 2019 WR15
Previous Ranking: 1

3. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
Opponent: vs. Texans
2019 Stats: 16 Receptions, 221 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 44.1 PTS, 2019 WR5
Previous Ranking: 5

4. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
Opponent: vs. Dolphins
2019 Stats: 10 Receptions, 150 Receiving YDS, 2 Receiving TD, 37 PTS, 2019 WR19
Previous Ranking: 11

5. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Opponent: at Seahawks
2019 Stats: 20 Receptions, 212 Receiving YDS, 41.2 PTS, 2019 WR10
Previous Ranking: 2

6. Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
Opponent: vs. Rams
2019 Stats: 13 Receptions, 232 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 42.2 PTS, 2019 WR9
Previous Ranking: 9

TIER 2: WR1's

7. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
Opponent: vs. Broncos
2019 Stats: 11 Receptions, 142 Receiving YDS, 25.2 PTS, 2019 WR39
Previous Ranking: 6

8. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
Opponent: at Eagles
2019 Stats: 12 Receptions, 159 Receiving YDS, 2 Receiving TD, 39.9 PTS, 2019 WR16
Previous Ranking: 16

9. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Opponent: vs. Giants
2019 Stats: 6 Receptions, 89 Receiving YDS, 14.9 PTS, 2019 WR71
Previous Ranking: 7

10. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
Opponent: at 49ers
2019 Stats: 11 Receptions, 162 Receiving YDS, 27.2 PTS, 2019 WR33
Previous Ranking: 10

11. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Opponent: vs. Falcons
2019 Stats: 12 Receptions, 130 Receiving YDS, 3 Receiving TD, 43 PTS, 2019 WR7
Previous Ranking: 13

12. Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs
Opponent: vs. Ravens
2019 Stats: 15 Receptions, 247 Receiving YDS, 3 Receiving TD, 57.7 PTS, 2019 WR1
Previous Ranking: 8

13. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Opponent: at Browns
2019 Stats: 12 Receptions, 166 Receiving YDS, 29.2 PTS, 2019 WR29
Previous Ranking: 14

TIER 3: High-end WR2's

14. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Opponent: vs. Giants
2019 Stats: 11 Receptions, 174 Receiving YDS, 2 Receiving TD, 40.4 PTS, 2019 WR14
Previous Ranking: 22

15. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
Opponent: vs. Raiders
2019 Stats: 8 Receptions, 118 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 25.8 PTS, 2019 WR35
Previous Ranking: 12

16. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
Opponent: vs. Saints
2019 Stats: 11 Receptions, 123 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 29.3 PTS, 2019 WR28
Previous Ranking: 20

17. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Opponent: vs. Panthers
2019 Stats: 13 Receptions, 217 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 40.7 PTS, 2019 WR12
Previous Ranking: 18

18. Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens
Opponent: at Chiefs
2019 Stats: 12 Receptions, 233 Receiving YDS, 2 Receiving TD, 47.3 PTS, 2019 WR4
Previous Ranking: 28

19. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
Opponent: vs. Jets
2019 Stats: 10 Receptions, 134 Receiving YDS, 25.6 PTS, 2019 WR36
Previous Ranking: 15

TIER 4: On the cusp

20. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
Opponent: at Cardinals
2019 Stats: 16 Receptions, 165 Receiving YDS, 1 Fumble, 30.5 PTS, 2019 WR27
Previous Ranking: 21

21. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
Opponent: vs. Raiders
2019 Stats: 3 Receptions, 86 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 15.6 PTS, 2019 WR69
Previous Ranking: 24

22. Josh Gordon, New England Patriots 
Opponent: vs. Jets
2019 Stats: 5 Receptions, 92 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 20.2 PTS, 2019 WR50
Previous Ranking: 17

23. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
Opponent: vs. Lions
2019 Stats: 5 Receptions, 49 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 1 Rushing TD, 22.1 PTS, 2019 WR44
Previous Ranking: 19

24. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
Opponent: at Browns
2019 Stats: 10 Receptions, 103 Receiving YDS, 25 Rushing YDS, 22.8 PTS, 2019 WR42
Previous Ranking: 23

25. Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders
Opponent: at Vikings
2019 Stats: 11Receptions, 151 Receiving YDS, 2 Receiving TD, 38.1 PTS, 2019 WR18
Previous Ranking: 25

26. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
Opponent: at Colts
Previous Ranking: 29

27. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
Opponent: at Packers
Previous Ranking: NR

28. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
Opponent: at Bills
Previous Ranking: 27

29. Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins
Opponent: vs. Bears
Previous Ranking: NR

30.  Jamison Crowder, New York Jets
Opponent: at Patriots
Previous Ranking: NR

For a tiered breakdown of each fantasy football position, click below:

Quarterback Rankings: Week 3
Running Back Rankings: Week 3
Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 3
Tight End Rankings: Week 3

Flex Rankings: Week 3