Nationals

Washington Redskins, fantasy heroes

865229.png

Washington Redskins, fantasy heroes

Love of the Redskins Week 1 extended far beyond the DMV and into fantasy football leagues from coast to coast. Everyone loves a sleeper, a bargain, a steal and the burgundy and gold certainly provided that and more with a 40-point performance. As for what it all means going forward...Robert Griffin III Now thats what you call a debut, in both real and fake football where RG3 outscored the likes of Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and 27 other starting quarterbacks. Only Atlantas Matt Ryan posted more opening week points than the Griffining wonder. The Heisman trophy winner generally ranked in the 12-14 range on most fantasy football sites so he easily outperformed expectations (were talking those of fantasy pundits and owners, not face painting fans).Griffin made for an upside fantasy draft pick for those owners who missed out on the truly elite options. However, starting him on the road in his pro debut was no doubt risky, which is why only 30 percent of owners did so,according to MyFantasyLeagues.com. Expect that number to rise dramatically even against a Rams defense that intercepted Matthew Stafford three times and held the potent Lions offense without a passing touchdown until the final moments. Does that mean owners should who spent an early round pick on the aforementioned or other passing studs should do the fantasy equivalent of the Seattle Seahawks - sitting the expensive Matt Flynn for the newbie Russell Wilson by benching those veterans for the charismatic rookie? Um, no, in most cases, though over at FFToolbox.com we ranked RG3 ninth this week. Seeing as Michael Vick doesnt figure to light up the scoreboard in Week 2 against the Ravens, owners that drafted one running threat QB to backup another should seriously consider flipping the depth chart, for one week anyway.Alfred Morris Whether they came via Twitter or Facebook, email or just from those bending my ear in casual conversation, questions about how to handle the Redskins backfield in Week 1 ranked very, very high among all fantasy football queries. Considering the location, the Saints being favored and the head scratching scenario the Morris-Roy Helu-Evan Royster troika presented, advising folks to wait a week before using any of the options seemed reasonable.Oops. Well, in fairness to yours truly even the most optimistic fans could not have envisioned a scenario where the Redskins would be in a position to run and run and run after halftime. The Florida Atlantic rookie took advantage and used his physically nimble style to rack up 96 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. His 21 fantasy points tied him with New Englands Stevan Ridley and Detroits Kevin Smith for second among with all running backs. Smith, who averaged 4.8 yards on 13 carries, finished with 91 total yards and two scores. Why does this matter? Because the effort came against theRams That bodes well for Morris, which is one reason why hes moved from uncertain to a top 24 RB play and starter in most formats this week. Yes, that accounts for the Mike Shanahan loves to mess with fantasy players factor. Pierre Garcon Sounds like No. 88 avoided major injury and now its a wait and see approach for this week, though Garcon vowed after the game to play against the Rams. When he lined up against the Saints, the ex-Colt was everything his new team could hope for, especially seeing as the Redskins so desperately needed someone with major YAC (yards after catch) potential.Last season the Rams allowed the eighth most points to fantasy wide outs. While their revamped secondary proved solid against the Lions, dont be shy about using Garcon as a low-end WR2 or flex assuming he starts. Should Garcon sit, Santana Moss figures to increase his so-so Week 1 numbers (3-43) though Aldrick Robinson took over for Garcon and shined. And the restFred Davis didnt seem to catch RG3s gaze much in preseason and that carried over into the opener, but he remains a starting fantasy tight end in 12-team leaguesWhile I wouldnt go out of my way to acquire them, starting Billy Cundiff or the Redskins defense this week isnt a stretch, especially the latter seeing as the Rams just lost their starting center and tackle to injuries. Forward thinking owners will also note the Redskins defense only faces one high-end quarterback (Matt Ryan) over the next five weeks so adding them as a sign-and-stash could work if your regular defense has tougher matchups.

Quick Links

John Gant homers, pitches Cardinals to 6-4 win over Nationals

usatsi_11081531.png
USA TODAY Sports

John Gant homers, pitches Cardinals to 6-4 win over Nationals

ST. LOUIS -- Even John Gant cracked a smile.

Gant homered for his first major league hit and pitched one-run ball into the sixth inning, helping the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals 6-4 on Tuesday night for their season-high seventh consecutive victory.

Kolten Wong had three hits and three RBIs as St. Louis (65-55) pulled within four games of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs and moved within one game of the Philadelphia Phillies for the second NL wild card. The Cardinals also improved to 18-9 since Mike Shildt was named interim manager on July 13, the most wins for a manager through his first 27 games in franchise history.

"Things are starting to click for us," Wong said. "We're playing confident. We're out there playing aggressive and I think it's the kind of baseball Cardinals fans have been waiting for."

The Nationals (60-60) have dropped six of eight to fall eight games behind Atlanta in the NL East.

"We've just got to keep pulling the same rope, keep grinding it out, keep trying to win ballgames," Nationals slugger Bryce Harper said.

Gant (5-4) permitted four hits and struck out six in 5 1/3 innings. He has given up just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings in his last two starts, both wins.

The 26-year-old Gant was 0 for 30 for his career when he drove a 1-1 pitch from Gio Gonzalez (7-9) over the wall in left in the second. The two-run shot gave Washington a 3-0 lead.

"I was jogging kind of my hands in the air," said Wong, who scored on Gant's homer. "I already knew it was going out. Looking back I think he almost caught me."

Added Gant, "I thought it was going to hit the wall maybe but when I finally looked up and (Wong) was looking back at me, that's when I knew it was going over the wall."

Gant, who has a reputation for being a stoic player, admitted to smiling "once or twice" once he got back to the dugout.

Wong's solo homer made it 6-1 in the sixth, but Washington responded with three in the eighth. Harper hit a two-run shot, and Daniel Murphy singled in Anthony Rendon.

Matt Adams then struck out looking against Dakota Hudson, ending the inning, and Jordan Hicks worked the ninth for his fourth save in eight chances.

Paul DeJong also doubled and scored for St. Louis one night after he connected for a game-ending homer in a 7-6 victory. Matt Carpenter walked in the sixth to extend his on-base streak to 32 games.

"We have a 25-man roster and we have confidence in all of them," Shildt said. "They're here for a reason and guys are looking to contribute every night and in different ways."

Gonzalez was charged with five runs and five hits in four innings. The veteran left-hander is just 1-4 in his last six starts.

"I wasn't hitting my spots," Gonzalez said. "Just not being as consistent in the strike zone as I should be. It's just one of those games you can't explain."

MORE NATS NEWS:

Quick Links

Need to Know: Redskins have faith in their young cornerbacks but will keep their options open

Need to Know: Redskins have faith in their young cornerbacks but will keep their options open

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on Wednesday, August 15, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Jets in their second preseason game. 

Talking points

The Redskins paid Orlando Scandrick $1 million and he didn’t play so much as a preseason snap for them. The money is gone, and the Redskins are left with what is mostly a youthful group at cornerback

The senior citizen is Josh Norman, who is 30 and entering his seventh NFL season. Quinton Dunbar is next on the age scale at 26. Those two will be the starters at cornerback on the outside. After them, youth rules the day. 

Fabian Moreau, 22, will take the slot corner position that Scandrick was going to fill. He is in his second NFL season having played just 59 snaps as a rookie. 

That’s 59 more NFL snaps than the next three players on the depth chart have combined. Rookies Greg Stroman, a seventh-round pick this year, Adonis Alexander, a supplemental sixth-round pick, and undrafted free agent Danny Johnson, all 22 years old, are the next men up if any of the top three on the depth chart falter or get injured. 

“I’m very impressed with them all,” said Jay Gruden. “You know, obviously Adonis not as much because he just got here, and he’s been hurt but he’s got the skill set that we’ve noticed, as far as your sixth corner, I think he’d be a very good guy to have in your building to develop. Watching Stroman and watching Danny Johnson compete and play, I’ve been impressed. Watching Fabian move inside, I’ve been very impressed.”

That all sounds good. However, Gruden made sure that everyone knows that the cornerback depth chart is not set in stone.

“We still have time if it doesn’t work out or if somebody gets injured, we still have time to make moves also ourselves,” he said.

The Redskins have about nine practices and three preseason games before they have to set their roster. If it proves that their confidence in the young corners is not well founded, they could look to pick up an alternative on the waiver wire, in the free agent market (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is still available), or via a trade.

The best-case is that the kids work out. But if not, there are alternatives. 

Bureau of statistics

The 2017 Redskins were sixth in the league in pass defense according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. 

Trending on social

The agenda

Today: No media availability

Upcoming: Preseason Jets @ Redskins (Aug. 16) 1 day; Final cut (Sept. 1) 17 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 25 days

In case you missed it

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