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2018 Fantasy football: Breaking down the top Redskins' value

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2018 Fantasy football: Breaking down the top Redskins' value

We often talk about the reality of the 2018 Washington Redskins. But it’s about time somebody dives into the fantasy realm.

Which Redskins could stand out regardless of who they're playing this season? Who could be a sleeper? What about a dud?

Who should you try to draft early, and which players can you wait to draft or pass on altogether? We'll answer all these questions and more in this fantasy breakdown for 2018.

Here’s a look at the projected value for the likely options as we move closer to the draft portion of the fantasy football calendar. 

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Derrius Guice, running back (See ranking here)

Any fears based on those dire pre-draft reports have proved wildly off base to date. What we’re left to evaluate Guice with is the skill and opportunity. Both are standout. He’s an aggressive runner with slithery moves and is projected as Washington’s starting running back Week 1 against the Cardinals. However, this year, a starter does not automatically mean workhorse. Samaje Perine and Robert Kelley remain in play for early downs, while Chris Thompson is the main pass-catching threat.

Other rookie running backs — namely, Saquon Barkley, Rashaad Penny and Ronald Jones — have less competition. Only Barkley tops Guice inability. The summer will show whether Guice’s fantasy draft ranking moves. The hype probably turns that move up the charts.

Jamison Crowder, wide receiver (See ranking here)

It’s interesting to see a fair amount of fantasy love for Washington’s slot receiver. Crowder is the only proven wideout on the roster, and his routes are perfect for Alex Smith. Yet, fantasy is about production, and frankly, I’m not sure Crowder is worthy of a seventh-round selection in 12-team leagues as the Rotoworld ranking suggests. He plays bigger than his 5-foot-9 size, but it’s hard imagining he becomes a major TD threat.

If Jordan Reed is healthy, the run game improves as expected, and the other receivers step up, meaning Crowder won’t be a high volume target. I’d drop him down one round at least from this level and perhaps two. 

Chris Thompson, running back (See ranking here)

It’s a testament to Jay Gruden’s system that the Redskins offense largely held up last season despite countless injuries. For much of that time, Thompson’s playmaking skills as a receiver and runner played a huge role. Between the injuries, Guice and lack of goal-line work, Thompson isn’t a major fantasy factor outside of PPR formats. Of course, that’s what most said entering last season. 

Jordan Reed, tight end (See ranking here)

This ranking seems spot on for a player with Pro Bowl talent who cannot stay healthy. Even if Reed looks great this summer, nobody should draft him until the top-5 names go off the board. Ponder Reed over Evan Engram, Delanie Walker, Jack Doyle and Kyle Rudolph, sure. But that’s the rub. Any player selected before the eighth round needs to play. Any player after that spot moves into the hope-and-see territory. Reed walks that line perhaps more than any fantasy player. If you take Reed, get another tight end sooner than later. Conundrum. 

Alex Smith, quarterback (See ranking here)

For those Redskins fans new to this quarterback, don’t think you’re overlooking him as a sleeper. You’re not. Smith simply lacks the upside relative to others. That’s largely due to his checkdown style – except last season when the big play entered the equation. Thanks to Tyreke Hill, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt, Smith had numerous playmakers that could turn short passes into longer gains. The veteran passer also turned more aggressive. The combination led to Smith’s league-leading 8.6 yards gained per pass attempt after not topping 7.6 in any of his previous four seasons.

It’s conceivable Paul Richardson, Jordan Reed and Derrius Guice/Chris Thompson mirror Smith’s options from last season. Regardless, he still lacks the weekly potential compared to his peers. That’s some perception and a chunk of reality. Smith is a safe QBBC target for those who wisely pass on quarterbacks in the early rounds. 

Paul Richardson, wide receiver (See ranking here)

The Redskins gave a four-year veteran with 95 career receptions a $20 million signing bonus. Sign of desperation after an *ugh* season with Terrelle Pryor or an understanding what the deep threat offers beyond speed? Sign me up for the latter. So much of the fantasy focus comes from the semi-unpredictable aspect of touchdowns.

Don’t let the limited production over four years in the Seahawks’ offense fool you. Richardson can run legit routes, and he offers toughness, despite his slender frame. As we bump Crowder down, I’d move Richardson up two or three rounds. Factoring in the likely draft range, Richardson is the one Redskin I’ll likely have on multiple fantasy teams this season.

Josh Doctson, wide receiver (See ranking here)

There are several wild-card candidates among Washington’s skill players. This red-zone threat certainly counts. Doctson led the Redskins in touchdowns last year and flashed some good work overall during the second half of the season. That said, Doctson still hasn’t popped the way many hoped when Washington selected in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Coming up with more 50-50 balls would change the situation dramatically. He makes for a good late round flyer. With a strong training camp/preseason, expectations could rise significantly.

Vernon Davis, tight end (See ranking here)

Davis compiled impressive stats during the first half of last season, but the numbers plummeted down the stretch as defenses sent more focus the 34-year-old tight end’s way. That early work presented a feel-good story. Davis has a true role as Washington’s No. 2 tight end. Fantasy owners who land Reed in deep leagues could go the handcuff route with Davis. If Reed’s recovery takes a hit before fantasy drafts, Davis probably jumps into the 15-20 range.

That’s about it, however. There are better upside plays at tight end and, of course, at other positions. Let Davis hopefully help the Redskins, but use your roster space for others. 

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Redskins Playbook: After another limited practice, is Gruden growing frustrated with Doctson?

Redskins Playbook: After another limited practice, is Gruden growing frustrated with Doctson?

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden needs to see more out of second-year wideout Josh Doctson in practice before he plays more in games. Wednesday, that didn't happen, and it could be leading to some frustration for the coach. 

After Doctson played just 20 snaps against Philadelphia in Week 1, Gruden made clear that he needs to see his second-year wideout produce more in practice. Then, in the Redskins first public session since the loss to the Eagles, Doctson landed on the injury report with a hamstring issue.

"He’s just been tight," the coach said. He added, "precautionary this time of week."

For just about any other player, being limited on a Wednesday practice report means little. Doctson, however, is a special case.

MORE: NFL POWER RANKINGS - WHERE THINGS STAND ONE WEEK IN

He missed virtually all of 2016, his rookie season, following his selection 22nd overall in the draft. Things seemed like he was ready to showcase his skill this season in training camp, until a hamstring injury hit. He missed a number of practices, and only played in one preseason game, before logging just 20 snaps last week. 

Gruden then explained in a Monday press conference that he can't get Doctson on the field until he can stay on the practice fields. 

"I need to see him out here at practice, you know, on a consistent basis. He will make plays in practice. The more plays he makes in practice, the more comfortable that Kirk will be, the more reps he is going to get and that is going to happen," the coach said Monday. 

It's important to note that Gruden continued to emphasize the positive with Doctson, that the coach expected the player to turn the corner, practice more and be able to help in games. 

On Wednesday, Gruden was asked if the latest setback changes that plan.

"It doesn’t help," he said. 

The toughest part is the Redskins need Doctson. He has the potential to be a top wideout, and the Washington offense struggled Week 1 against the Eagles. The team lost Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in the offseason. Doctson and Terrelle Pryor were supposed to offset those losses. The returns are early, but that doesn't seem too likely as of now. 

Gruden may well be growing frustrated with Doctson. The coach said last week Doctson was healthy, and the player reiterated the same sentiment in a media session. 

Now, again, he's missing practice time. And the coach made clear that will impact his playing time. 

The Redskins need Doctson on the field. For that to happen, Gruden needs Doctson on the practice field. Day after day, rep after rep. 

That question is slowly turning from when that happens, to if that happens. 

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Josh Doctson excited to finally get on the field against the Eagles

Josh Doctson excited to finally get on the field against the Eagles

Josh Doctson flashed how good he can be during Redskins training camp in Richmond.

Practice after practice, Doctson showed his route running ability, coupled with elite body control, and it very much made sense why the Redskins drafted the wideout in the first round in 2016.

Unfortunately, the strong practice performances were followed up with an injury.

In early August, Doctson injured his hamstring and an MRI revealed a slight pull. While he wasn't shut down, Doctson's practices became much more limited. He played in the second preseason game only to be a late scratch in the third preseason tilt

Now, with the Eagles coming to town on Sunday and the Redskins carrying only five receivers on their active roster, Doctson is very much in the plans. 

"I feel good," Doctson said on Wednesday at Redskins Park. "I'm looking forward to the game on Sunday."

RELATED: SCOUTING THE REDSKINS OPPONENTS

The depth chart the Redskins released in advance of the contest with Philadelphia lists Doctson as a starter, lined up opposite Terrelle Pyor with Jamison Crowder in the slot. Jordan Reed will man the tight end spot, giving QB Kirk Cousins his full arsenal of receiving weapons. 

That's the offense Jay Gruden thought about this offseason, as the Redskins remade their group after losing DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. Doctson said he learned a lot from Jackson and Garçon during his rookie year, where he mostly watched and played in just two games. 

"I learned a lot. It's a long list of things," Doctson said he picked up from the pair of departed receivers, as well as WR coach Ike Hilliard. 

In 10 games as a senior at TCU, Doctson posted video game numbers. He caught 78 passes for 1,326 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. That's the player Washington wanted in the draft, and while his rookie year was largely lost to injury, that's the player Gruden wants to see against the Eagles. 

Doctson worked hard to rehab from the Achilles injuries that cost him his rookie season, and has worked hard to be ready for Philly. A man of few words, Doctson repeatedly explained how excited he was to take the field for the Redskins on Sunday. 

"I'm excited to play football this Sunday," he said. "I'm just trying to maintain so I can be ready for Sunday."

Fans, coaches, and even Kirk Cousins all feel the same way. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! 

Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!