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Dear Robert Griffin III: Just Throw It, Dude

Robert Griffin III 3

As if Sunday’s 20-point blowout wasn’t depressing enough in real time, I rewatched the festivities and focused on bad dropback plays from Robert Griffin III.

Bad dropback plays don’t necessarily mean incompletions or misses, but instead failing to see open guys, holding the ball too long, committing turnovers, and taking unnecessary sacks.

Just a few notes before diving in:

— It’s always easier to go back and watch the film and scream for what a guy should’ve done. But this isn’t me ignorantly saying I could’ve done it better myself. Instead, just couch quarterbacking at its finest.

— I read a few takes regarding Griffin and his struggles being a result of less play action. While I don’t necessarily disagree with that (play action opens up passing lanes and Griffin thrived with that as a rookie in 2012), it’s not like guys aren’t open without play action. Quite the opposite, actually. Griffin just isn’t hitting them.

— A constant theme throughout the following screen shots consists of Griffin eyeing down one receiver, not throwing his guys open, and not trusting what he sees when he actually does see it. Often times I’d catch myself saying, “Just throw it, dude.”

— For the record, I won’t forecast Griffin’s future in Washington — at least not yet — because it’s depressing and makes my brain hurt. However, I do think it’s too soon to write him off with no chance of becoming an effective NFL quarterback.  Call me naive, I guess.



Throw 1

Throw No. 1 — Not a whole lot going on for Griffin down field and the rush is clearly pressing, but Jordan Reed appears like a decent option and there’s a wide receiver clearly open on the screen.



Throw 2

Throw No. 2 — The more I see this failed third down attempt, the more I feel like it was miscommunication. Jordan Reed is running a slant and that’s what Griffin is throwing to, but it appears Reed feels the oncoming defender and slows up a bit (maybe to sit in a spot). Hard to put this on Griffin or Reed because we don’t know the communication, but it’s a failed play nonetheless.



Throw 3

Throw No. 3 — Despite being backed up in his own end zone, Griffin has time. He needs to anticipate these kinds of throws and give his guys a shot with plenty of space in front of the safeties.



Throw 4

Throw No. 4 — Again, tough spot to throw from, but Griffin has the time. Every receiver has decent position on their man and the safety can’t afford to break this early. Throw your guy open.

Instead, Griffin waits, holds the ball, and the middle linebacker gets a hand on a poor pass that deflects and eventually lands in Jonathan Banks’ hands, who returns it for a touchdown.



Throw 5

Throw No. 5 — Not an easy toss for Griffin, but he has a pocket and at least one good option on this route. The safety crashing down on the crossing receiver is a little intimidating, but still doesn’t appear to be a huge risk if the ball is thrown well.



Throw 6

Throw No. 6 — Probably a tight squeeze for Griffin, but not an impossible completion. He has the pocket to throw and this is one of the spots where you’d like to see Griffin survey the defense pre-snap and give his receiver a heads up on what to be ready for.



Throw 7

Throw No. 7 — Another chance to throw to open space and trust your receivers. Everyone knows Griffin can make these throws because we’ve seen him throw them before. Some sort of mental block feels like the only rational excuse.



Throw 8

Throw No. 8 — Time, open guys, space. Not sure what happens here.



Throw 9

Throw No. 9 — Arguably the most frustrating miss of the game. Sure Griffin overthrew a couple deep balls to DeSean Jackson throughout the game, but he didn’t even appear to notice him streaking free on this play.

A decent throw and it’s a first down. A good throw and it’s probably six points.

There’s also the receiver in the middle, which is a likely completion and — assuming Griffin hits him in stride — a potential one-on-one with the safety following the catch.



Throw 10

Throw No. 10 — This play may not look like much, but a completion to Pierre Garcon (coming from the bottom of the screen) gives you positive yards rather than a sack. Griffin shouldn’t second guess himself on these kinds of plays — he has the arm strength to fire ‘em in there and give his receivers a stab at the catch.



Throw 11

Throw No. 11 — No idea. Griffin has his feet set like he wants to throw, he has guys open with plenty of space. Just throw it, man.


Jay Gruden’s Press Conference Got a Little Hot

FanDuel Redskins

The Redskins’ loss to Tampa Bay last Sunday ruffled plenty of feathers, and head coach Jay Gruden was sure to assert himself as part of the group during his press conference at Redskins Park on Monday afternoon.

In addition to mentioning Robert Griffin III played with “fundamental flaws” and “below average footwork”, Gruden also threw out the quote of the day by saying, “Robert needs to understand he needs to worry about himself first, and not everybody else.”

And a few more tidbits and reactions…

DeSean Jackson Lets Us Know How He’s Feeling on Monday

Following the Redskins’ embarrassing 27-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, DeSean Jackson didn’t pull any punches when describing how he feels the morning after.

DeSean Instagram Comment

Sad thing is, DeSean Jackson is right. From the top of the organization, to the players on the field, the Redskins aren’t capable of epic shit with the current staff.

It may seem a bit awkward in context given Jackson’s role with the franchise, but he’s not saying anything different than what fans like you and I take to Twitter about nearly every week.


Cloudy with a Chance of Knee Jerk: Redskins v. Buccaneers

In the hours following a Redskins game, thoughts and ideas and assumptions run rampant through the mind of a Washington fan, forcing a scattered and cloudy backdrop between the ears. 

Here are my initial notes following the Redskins’ 27-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

* * *

It’s hard to find a starting point when attempting to vent about games like these. Everything was bad. And everything was bad from start to finish.

To root for this team, to deal with the constant drama, to try and get up and excited for a game (even against a bad 1-8 team) — it’s a task. Being a Redskins fan feels like a part-time job and it’s a strenuous gig.

– The first play of the game was Robert Griffin III short-arming an easy pass that bobbled on the hands of tight end Niles Paul before being intercepted.

The. Very. First. Play.

Griffin never improved. Poor pocket presence (as usual), bad throws (both interceptions were on the quarterback), couldn’t read a defense, etc.

And bad field/situational awareness too, like this scramble followed by a body-heave.a

– Don’t let Griffin’s 23 completions fool you. He rivaled John Beck as the check-down king.

– Head coach Jay Gruden mentioned the jury is still out on the quarterback position, and Sunday’s game was good evidence as to why he maintains that stance.

Sure, Griffin has the strong arm and the track speed, but there’s a lot more to the position than sexy attributes. Griffin hasn’t given coaches (or fans, for that matter) any reason to chisel him in as the savior and franchise cornerstone.

– That said, I wouldn’t list Robert Griffin III as a career failure at the age of 24. Does he have a long way to go? Yes. Would that “long way” require patience? If you value your health, yes. But these final six games are very important.

– Left tackle Trent Williams left the game with an MCL sprain, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed it’s just a sprain and that all ligaments remain intact.

– As a whole, the offensive line was ugly. Chris Chester sucks. And Shawn Lauvao (who left with a concussion late in the game), he sucks too.

– It probably isn’t fair to say the offensive line allowed all six sacks on Sunday, but Robert Griffin III was sacked six times.

– With decent throws, DeSean Jackson should’ve finished the game with at least two scores. Griffin overthrew the speedster on two deep balls in which Jackson worked his way behind the defense and had nothing but space between he and the end zone.

– I’d complain about not enough DeSean Jackson, but there really wasn’t enough of any offensive playmaker on Sunday. Not enough Jordan Reed, not enough Pierre Garcon.

Alfred Morris deserves credit for running hard all game. Not everything was easy, and that’s not to say Morris was perfect. But he finished with 96 yards on 20 carries and stayed aggressive.

– The Redskins finished 4-of-13 on third down. Same old, same old.

– One thing I did like for the Redskins on Sunday (or at least, one thing I understood) was the way Jay Gruden handled his offense before the half. The Redskins were trailing of course, so points were certainly needed, but it was still a two-score game. Gruden had conservative play calls to start the drive with a little over a minute to go in the first half and on second down, Alfred Morris broke a draw play for about 20 yards.

I don’t know for sure of course, but it doesn’t seem like rocket science. Gruden was playing it conservative from his own 21-yard line because 1.) he was pinned back on his own side of the field, and 2.) despite how ugly it all was, it was still a two-score game. He didn’t want to risk a mistake to completely deflate his team heading into the locker room, but as soon as one of those conservative plays hit for a decent gain (ie. Morris’ run), Gruden changed his way a bit, called a timeout, and effectively worked the underneath stuff that eventually led to a score.

I know this was hardly a difficult task for Griffin, but I liked it from a coaching standpoint.

The defense actually wasn’t terrible to start the game, but Griffin didn’t do them any favors and by the end of the game they still came out looking like themselves. b

– Rookie wideout Mike Evans finished the game with seven catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns against the Redskins.

Ryan Clark seems like a nice guy. Seems like a good veteran voice. But in terms of on-field production, he’s not effective anymore. He’s average near the line of scrimmage and an absolute mess in coverage.

– This defense doesn’t/can’t generate turnovers.

– The Redskins came into this game off their bye week. They had two weeks to prepare for a 1-8 Tampa Bay team.

– I don’t know whether it’s delusion, foolishness, or both, but I support Jay Gruden. I think he has what it takes to be a good head coach. And I also recognize the lack of talent on this roster, as well as who his bosses are.

– I don’t support Jim Haslett. He remains firmly on the shit list.

– The rotten mismanagement and moronic football knowledge starts at the top. The Redskins are ran more as an advertising platform than they are a football franchise and we can all expect shit like this until a.) the owner somehow learns how to take a hint, or b.) we all get lucky enough to see the current owner sell the team. c


  1. And before you say Griffin had to leap because of the guy going low, note that Griffin also has the option to go right or left.  (back)
  2. A turd of a defensive unit.  (back)
  3. …which feels near impossible.  (back)

Daily Fantasy Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 11

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

Some call me cheap, others stingy. I prefer thrifty. And in the world of daily fantasy sports, finding the best bargains can lead you to the promise land of those jubilant $3.60 pots at the end of the pretend football rainbow.

These are my bargain bin dumpster dives for the upcoming NFL week. 

* * *


Mark Sanchez ($5,800) @ GB

Two consecutive weeks of Mark Sanchez. How ’bout a round of applause for head coach Chip Kelly?


Sanchez probably isn’t a world beater, but Kelly’s offense is a systematic work of art that’s beginning to show us its capability as a plug-and-play scheme.

The Eagles will be tested this week against a solid Packers pass defense, but Sanchez provides decent potential at this price.

Teddy Bridgewater ($5,900) @ CHI

When you hear the comparison of the Chicago Bears and a dumpster fire, those comparisons are pretty accurate, which is why Teddy Bridgewater is a solid option this week against a pitiful defense allowing an opposing quarterback rating of 107 (second-worst only behind the Jets).


Running Back

Alfred Morris ($5,400) v. TB

As mentioned last week, a capable Robert Griffin III helps the Redskins rushing attack, and Alfred Morris is receiving a huge boost with the return of his quarterback.

Tampa Bay’s rush defense has been better the last three weeks since their bye, but they still remain a susceptible unit. Meanwhile, Morris’ 19 carries and two touchdowns last week serve as a sign pointing in the right direction for a friendly $5,400 this Sunday.

C.J. Anderson ($4,800) @ STL

With Ronnie Hillman out with a foot injury, and Montee Ball dealing with an injury of his own (although he should play), C.J. Anderson is the next man up in Denver.

The Rams are giving up nearly 125 rushing yards per game and $4,800 is good value for a guy who’s sure to get some run.

Frank Gore ($4,500) @ NYG

Not to chug the Kool Aid, but the Giants run defense is bad to the tune of 145 yards allowed per game, making old man Frank Gore a viable starting option this Sunday for one of the lowest salaries of any starting running back this week.


Wide Receiver

Brandin Cooks ($5,800) v. CIN

The Bengals pass defense looks decent on paper, but the team as a whole doesn’t have much momentum after dropping an ugly game at home last Thursday.

The Saints, on the other hand, are coming off a loss too, but one that would seem to spark more flame than fizzle. New Orleans lost in overtime to San Fran following a questionable OPI call to end the game and they can’t afford to lose any more games (especially at home) if they want to remain the favorites atop the embarrassing NFC South.

To me, more Brandin Cooks is better for your offense. Sure the Bengals have only allowed 10 passing touchdowns all season, but Cooks should get his targets because the Saints should want to get the ball in his hands. 

Tina Bob's Burgers Sway

Roddy White ($5,500) @ CAR

The Falcons might suck, but Julio Jones and Roddy White remain one of the top wide receiver duos in the league. Jones himself will only set you back $7,000 this week, which is a solid play in itself, but having Roddy for just $5,500 could carry even more value.

Roddy is averaging 19+ fantasy points over his last three games and the Falcons guarantee you they’re passing the ball (that rushing attack/OL is blah).

Against a Carolina defense allowing more than 250 passing yards per game and tied for third-worst with 19 passing touchdowns allowed, Roddy gives you plenty of upside this week.

Kelvin Benjamin ($4,900) v. ATL

Speaking of bad defenses, Atlanta has one too. Somehow the over/under on this game is only 47.5, but perhaps that stems from Cam Newton’s recent struggles.

Kelvin Benjamin bailed us out last week with two late touchdowns, but points are points. He’s the key receiving target in Carolina (alongside tight end Greg Olsen) and the Falcons are bad to the point of Newton getting back on track this Sunday.

Greg Jennings ($5,000) @ CHI

Again taking advantage of the struggling Chicago Bears, Greg Jennings serves as an interesting option this week. Clearly the Bears can’t stop anyone, but a bulk of Jennings’ value stems from his consistency over the past few weeks (13.7, 12.8, 13.6). He appears to be one of Teddy’s most trusted pass-catchers, and he’s good for a handful of catches every game — and against this defense, very capable of a score too.

Pierre Garcon ($4,000) v. TB

This week’s wildcard will be Pierre Garcon. He’s been a huge disappointment this season with DeSean Jackson gobbling up his targets, in addition to the roller coaster ride of a quarterback situation. But good news for Garcon — with RG3 back in the fold, the Washington offense has its most potential, which hopefully reunites the QB/WR duo again for at least a handful of catches per game.


Tight End

Dwayne Allen ($4,200) v. NE

Yes, Dwayne Allen is very touchdown reliant. But when you have seven touchdowns through nine games, it kind of starts to become a thing.

Admittedly so, starting Allen still rattles me a bit because I’m always waiting for the wheel to tilt the other way, But New England isn’t exactly stout against tight ends and the Colts have other receiving weapons to help spread things out.

Travis Kelce ($4,000) v. SEA

No one but Andy Reid has answers as to why Travis Kelce isn’t more involved, but the big red coach might not have a choice against Seattle this weekend.

Andy Reid Kool Aid

Not only is Anthony Fasano (the other, other tight end) questionable for the game with an injury, but the Seahawks secondary feasts on wide receiver groups like the one in Kansas City. By process of elimination, that leaves my main squeeze Travis Kelce to be the Chiefs’ focal point in the passing offense (as he should be no matter the situation, anyway).

Jordan Reed ($3,300) v. TB

Jordan Reed brings lots of upside and is typically a huge part of the Washington offense. However, with RG3 easing his way back in, it’s hard to preach consistency anything close to when Reed gave us 17, 10, and 11 in consecutive weeks. Like Garcon, Reed is a bit of a wildcard play.


Daily Fantasy Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 10

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

Some call me cheap. Others stingy. I prefer thrifty. And in the world of daily fantasy sports, finding the best bargains can lead you to the promise land of those jubilant $3.60 pots at the end of the pretend football rainbow.

These are my bargain bin dumpster dives for the upcoming NFL week. 

* * *


Matt Ryan ($6,300) @ TB

He hasn’t had an “oh-wow” game since Week 1, but Matt Ryan comes with a really friendly price tag coming off he and the Falcons’ bye week.

The last time these two teams met in Week 3 on Thursday night, the Bucs didn’t look like a real team and lost 56-14 on national television while Ryan passed for 286 and three scores.

Things have changed since then I guess (Atlanta is 2-6), but Tampa Bay still isn’t a good team. They’re allowing close to 286 passing yards per game and their 18 passing touchdowns allowed are tied for second-worst in the NFL.

Mark Sanchez ($5,400) v. CAR

The Return of Sanchez. In theaters November 10.

I’m actually buying Chip Kelly’s offense more than Mark Sanchez the quarterback, but he’s the benefactor of the former and he’s one of the cheapest starting options you’ll find this week. Carolina’s pass defense (17 pass touchdowns allowed) isn’t threatening enough to move us off a low-lying QB like Sanchez, so saddle up and hold on. This one should pay off fine.


Running Back

LeSean McCoy ($5,600) v. CAR

The Panthers are giving up more than 130 rushing yards per game for an average of 4.8 yards per carry. Meanwhile, LeSean McCoy has received 20+ carries in his last four games with an average of 15.6 fantasy points over that span. This is a favorable matchup for less than you’d pay for guys like Jamaal Charles, Mark Ingram, and Lamar Miller, all of whom face much tougher defenses.

Justin Forsett ($5,000) v. TEN

There’s some sort of committee working in Baltimore, but Justin Forsett is the guy to have when the dust settles. Not only is he the most trusted member of the team’s backfield, but also the most versatile. He’s averaging 15 fPts per game thanks to his receiving contributions and Tennessee’s defense isn’t posing a threat on the road.

Bobby Rainey ($4,400) v. ATL

You’ll have to keep a close eye on Charles Sims’ status as we approach Sunday’s game, but it’s pretty clear the Bucs like Bobby Rainey. He’ll have a nice matchup against a bad Falcons defense this week and you’re hoping others have cooled on him given his three-game scoring drought.


Wide Receiver

Dez Bryant ($6,400) @ JAX (in London)

Tony Romo and his flailing spine are set to play, so Dez Bryant is very much a solid option this week. The Jaguars are arguably the worst team in the league, and Bryant shouldn’t have any trouble eating against this Jacksonville secondary. That sub-$6,500 salary is a steal.

But again — make sure Romo plays.

Percy Harvin ($5,300) v. PIT

Targets, targets, targets.

It doesn’t matter who starts at quarterback, it doesn’t matter how bad the Jets are, it doesn’t matter who has what kind of attitude. All that matters is that Percy Harvin is a weapon and the Jets need weapons.

I wouldn’t necessarily call this a sure-fire play, but the price is right for what could come of it. The Steelers offense should pick apart the Jets secondary, putting New York in position to throw, throw, throw in an effort to catch up.

Kelvin Benjamin ($4,200) @ PHI

This feels like easy money, which may be the very reason to run the other way.

At any rate, after putting up an atrocious offensive performance last week, Cam Newton and the Panthers are on the rebound and in desperate need of wins a. That’s not to say they’ll trot into Philly and steal one, but the Eagles defense isn’t anything special.

In a game that Vegas currently puts at 48, Kelvin Benjamin seems like the easy beneficiary against a Philly defense giving up the third-most passing touchdowns in the NFL, as well as playing for a Panthers team that’s sure to leave everything on the field.

Julio Jones ($6,600) @ TB

Nine catches, 161 yards, two touchdowns, 40+ fantasy points.

That was Julio Jones’ stat line the last time he played the Bucs. And perhaps he won’t hit quite the lottery this go’round, but I also wouldn’t rule it out.

Jones enters this game claiming that his ankle is now at 100 percent following the bye, and the Falcons are somehow still alive in the NFC South. This matchup is well worth the price tag.

Markus Wheaton ($4,100) @ NYJ

He may not be Antonio Brown or see a whole mess of targets, but Markus Wheaton is a sneaky wildcard this weekend against a pitiful Jets secondary. Yes, Martavis Bryant cuts into target share (especially in the redzone), but Wheaton has the speed to create for himself.

Tight End

Travis Kelce ($5,100) @ BUF

I promise you there’s no one who loves Travis Kelce more than I love Travis Kelce.


  1. They’re somehow very much alive in their weak division despite a 3-6 record.  (back)

Cloudy with a Chance of Knee Jerk: Redskins v. Vikings

In the hours following a Redskins game, thoughts and ideas and assumptions run rampant through the mind of a Washington fan, forcing a scattered and cloudy backdrop between the ears. 

Here are my initial notes following the Redskins’ 29-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Robert Griffin III’s return to action. 

* * *

Robert Griffin III was not awful. Did he make bad throws at times? Yes. Did some of those bad throws occur just before halftime and at the end of the game? Yes. Did he hold on to the ball too long? Yes. Did he look a bit hesitant to take off and run? Yes. But think of the plays Griffin did make — most of which wouldn’t have been made by any other quarterback on this roster. He may not have been perfect, but Griffin played well enough for the Redskins to win the game.

– And even without the ball in his hands, Griffin left an imprint on the game by way of Alfred Morris and the Redskins’ ground attack. Griffin’s presence and the read-option threat help to open up things for Morris, who averaged nearly five yards per carry and finished with 92 yards and two scores.

– Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett went from all the praise following Monday night’s win over the Cowboys, to making his way back into the doghouse after this loss to the Vikings.

– In their four games prior to Sunday, the Vikings were averaging 12 points a game on offense. They scored 29 against the Redskins.

– Jason Hatcher didn’t play enough. After the game Jay Gruden confirmed Hatcher was not hurt and that they went with Stephen Bowen a lot to counter the Vikings’ inside run game.

– It’s obviously easier said than done (I guess), but the Redskins need to do a better job of getting the football in DeSean Jackson‘s hands. He finished the day with 120 yards and a touchdown on just four catches. And with that kind of speed and homerun ability, we should see a lot more screens, some quick slants, more shots down the field, etc.

– While on the topic of DeSean, let’s not forget this happened minutes after his touchdown catch.

– One way to help that, I suppose, would be to make a stop on defense. Make a stop, increase your opportunities on offense. Something of that nature.

– Oh, and another one of your playmakers that NEEDS to get the ball: Jordan Reed. One target isn’t getting it done.

– The Redskins finished 6-of-13 on third down. So there’s that.

– Not the best of games for Pierre Garcon. He had an opportunity to pull in a long pass (I believe it was on 3rd-and-9 with a little over three minutes to go in the first half) in which Griffin threw a perfect ball that went right through the curled arms of Garcon. Not cool.

Chris Chester not playing well — we should all be used to that.

– On that final drive for the Redskins, the offensive pass interference call on DeSean Jackson on 1st-and-10 from their own 29 was a killer. Suddenly the Redskins were looking at 1st-and-20 and then 3rd-and-20 after giving up a sack on second down.

– And while on the topic of harsh penalties, the holding call on Shawn Lauvao on 4th-and-6 from the Redskins 43 was awful. Not in terms of the call itself, because it was indeed a hold, but the timing was brutal. The defensive holding call on the same play would’ve given Washington the first down. Instead, offsetting penalties led to a replay of 4th-and-6 and we got that terrible throw from Griffin to end the Redskins’ day.

Bashuand Breeland turned out another good game. He’s been awesome over the past few weeks and I’m now throwing around the hashtag #BashaudTheGaud because I’m super lame.

Back end of the defense was ugly.

Perry Riley had a couple nice tackles, but it often seemed like he was flowing the wrong way and putting himself out of position. Meh.

– We could cut Jim Haslett some slack for the lack of talent he has to work with, but the miscommunication and overall sense of players being lost falls at the coach’s feet. That’s what he gets paid to do. Teach your players, prepare your players.

Pass rush was gnarly. As usual, not enough.

– I might be calling it a thing too soon, but rookie Trent Murphy showed signs of an under pass-rushing move, which is great to see after just nine games. Repertoires for pass rushers is a good thing.

– As for the pregame Sunday morning noise that seems to find its way to national media outlets every effin’ week — it’s embarrassing. While I don’t believe Robert Griffin III has alienated himself from the rest of the team, I do think there are guys in the locker room and on the team that don’t like him. And I also think that kind of thing occurs in every locker room. The foundation of all of this, however, is the fact that the Redskins suck, they’re not winning, and the organization is plagued at the top. Even if this kind of shit is going on within the organization, be professional and keep it in house.

– Being a Redskins fan is a job. It’s an extremely frustrating task.


Daily Fantasy Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 9

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

Some call me cheap. Others stingy. I prefer thrifty. And in the world of daily fantasy sports, finding the best bargains can lead you to the promise land of those jubilant $3.60 pots at the end of the pretend football rainbow.

These are my bargain bin dumpster dives for the upcoming NFL week. 

* * *
Although it’s not generally the strategy of yours truly, salaries this week allow for further dumpster diving amongst the running back position, in turn giving us the ammo to move up to land a decent quarterback, as well as into the area of this week’s top-priced receiver (Antonio Brown) and tight end (Rob Gronkowski).



Andy Dalton ($6,300) v. JAX

Despite not throwing a touchdown in two weeks, Andy Dalton’s future this Sunday seems to be looking up (as most things do when preparing to face the Jacksonville Jaguars). Not to mention, A.J. Green has been practicing and could return to action, which is kind of a big deal if he’s on your team and you happen to be a thrower of footballs.

Others receiving votes: Alex Smith ($5,700) v. NYJ


Running Back

Ben Tate ($4,300) v. TB

I too was a part of the Week 7 meltdown in which we banked on the Browns offense against Jacksonville, only to be squarely kicked in the groin by Ben Tate and every other member of the Cleveland offense.

However, Tampa Bay is bad a, and this is a very nice price for a lead back in a game that should feature lots of action on the ground.

And just as a fantasy note — you shouldn’t allow previous frustration move you off a player. This Ben Tate play is a perfect example. There’s undoubtedly some owners out there who wouldn’t touch Tate with a 10-foot pole this week, simply because he threw up four points two weeks ago and screwed their Week 7 lineup. But that’s no way to play. Just like in blackjack where staying on 19 doesn’t always win, you have to maintain discipline and play your best matchups.

LeSean McCoy ($5,200) @ HOU

There’s been a feedbag attached to LeSean McCoy the last three weeks, with carry totals of 24, 22, and 21 for nearly 45 fantasy points. The problem, however, stems from Shady only having reached paydirt ONCE all season (Week 2).

Houston has been just so-so against the run this season, so the matchup feels okay. Additionally, the $5,200 salary seems too good to pass up given the type of chances and opportunities McCoy sees both as a rusher and pass-catcher.

Ahmad Bradshaw ($5,800) @ NYG

This looked like a sweeter deal with news of Trent Richardson missing practice, but he now looks in line to play. Either way, Ahmad Bradshaw’s versatility and knack for finding the end zone make him a nice play for $5,800 against his former team. The Giants are allowing 122 rushing yards and more than 25 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.

Alfred Morris ($3,900) @ MIN

I agree that Alfred Morris looked better last week against the Cowboys, but I’m not willing to say he looked good. He had a low floor to begin with, so it wasn’t going to take much for him to simply “look better”.

That said, $3,900 for a lead back in a game that should see plenty of rushing attempts thanks to wind and cold weather feels like a solid play.

Three reasons I like Morris this week: price, the quick pitch style we saw reincorporated last week b, and the fact that a healthy Robert Griffin III under center helps open up the ground game c.

Although Mike Zimmer is one helluva defensive football mind, the Vikings are giving up nearly 25 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs and Morris should see a hefty workload in this game.

Others receiving votes: Lamar Miller ($5,600) v. SD


Wide Receiver

Andrew Hawkins ($4,900) v. TB

After stringing together just three catches and 5.6 points against Tennessee and Pittsburgh over the course of two weeks, Andrew Hawkins quickly became yesterday’s forgotten. But since then, Hawk has pieced together 12 catches and 41.8 points over his past two games and he’s in line for another juicy matchup on Sunday against Tampa.

The Buccaneers give up tons of points to opposing wideouts, and are worst in the league when it comes to keeping receivers out of the end zone (allowing 1.7 touchdowns to wide receivers per game). Even if the Browns generate a successful ground attack, Hawkins is a natural benefactor and faced with a perfect matchup.

DeAndre Hopkins ($5,400) v. PHI

Only one game this season has DeAndre Hopkins posted a single-digit output, and this week he faces a Philadelphia defense giving up more than 35 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers.

There’s obvious concern surrounding Nuke because he hasn’t scored in his last four games, but he’s getting his targets (6.6 per game), he’s ripping off big gains (15.8 YPC), and he’s his team’s best option to score by way of a pass (leads all Houston pass-catchers with three touchdowns), all of which provides good value for just $5,400.

Others receiving votes: Andre Johnson ($5,500) v. PHI; Allen Robinson ($4,900) @ CIN


Tight End

Travis Kelce ($4,100) v. NYJ

Anyone find a reason why Travis Kelce isn’t seeing more snaps in Kansas City? Cool, me neither. Yet despite the coaching, Kelce is a decent play this week against a Jets defense allowing better than 13 points per game to opposing tight ends.

Sooner or later Andy Reid needs to warm to the idea of playing one of his top playmakers more often, right?

Others receiving votes: Jordan Reed ($4,400) @ MIN


  1. to the tune of 123 rushing yards allowed per game  (back)
  2. The quick pitch isn’t on every running play, but Morris seems to thrive with it as opposed to the traditional handoff method, as it provides him with a better and earlier look at the defense, as well as effective downhill momentum  (back)
  3. Dependent on gameplan, of course, but Jay Gruden isn’t stupid.  (back)

Cloudy with a Chance of Knee Jerk: Redskins v. Cowboys

Colt McCoy Celebrates

In the hours following a Redskins game, thoughts and ideas and assumptions run rampant through the mind of a Washington fan, forcing a scattered and cloudy backdrop between the ears. 

Here are my initial notes following the Redskins’ 20-17 overtime win against the Cowboys in Dallas on Monday night. 

* * *


– Final stat line for Colt McCoy: 25-of-30 for 299 yards, one pick and a rushing score.

– In addition to Colt McCoy shaking some early game jitters and hitches and working to manage the game, the Redskins stole a victory in Dallas thanks to their defense.

– Despite his 73 yards and touchdown, Alfred Morris didn’t look great. The offensive line didn’t necessarily do him any favors, but Morris isn’t the Morris from last season. Take away his one 29-yard pop, and Morris’ 4.0 YPC drops to just 2.5.

– Oh, I know what could help the running game — read option.

– Another note in the running game: the Redskins incorporated a few of those running plays where McCoy would quick pitch the ball to the running back rather than work through the standard handoff. That’s a good style behind this offensive line.

– The Redskins received good field position a couple of times in this game and really couldn’t capitalize. A solid punt return from Andre Roberts in the first quarter started Washington’s first drive on the Dallas 48, but the Redskins could only come away with a field goal. Then the recovered fumble started the Redskins’ drive on the Dallas 25, but a bad throw into the end zone gave the ball right back.

– By the way, you can’t make that throw to the end zone with a safety over the top. Check down if it’s there or throw it out of bounds to live and fight another down.

– I don’t think there’s any question that DeSean Jackson is one of the most threatening deep-target receivers in the NFL. He finished the game with six catches for 136 yards and it could’ve/should’ve been more, including at least a score.

– How did Jackson leave some scoring and statistical fluff on the field? Because McCoy underthrew him at least twice in the first half, both of which could’ve led to something huge (ie Jackson was behind the defense and he has the burners to keep it that way after hauling in the football). There was also a play (although I don’t remember at what point in the game) where a decent pass from McCoy to Jackson in the short-medium area gives him a much greater chance to make a play after the catch. Said pass wasn’t quite decent enough.

– There was also a spot in the game where cameras panned to Jackson sitting on the bench following a failed deep ball in his direction (an underthrown ball). You see McCoy come up to Jackson and lean down into the receiver’s ear. Then Jackson’s mouth shows the phrase, “Throw. The. Ball”. He knew he had the defense, but he’s not big enough to come back, contend with corners, and win jump balls. He wanted McCoy to let it rip, and Jackson knew he could go and get it.

– Notably, McCoy adjusted and made better throws in the second half.

– Maybe it’s just me happy to see Tyler Polumbus out, but I thought Tom Compton had a decent game at right tackle. No major fuckeries that I can recall.

– Unfortunately I can’t say the same for right guard Chris Chester. We can only hope Spencer Long is coming along, because Chester would probably be the next guy voted off the island.

– The Redskins finished 6-of-14 on third down, which could certainly be better. Compared to this season so far though, I’ll take 6-of-14.

– And for what it’s worth, the Redskins were good on third down in the second half.

Jordan Reed is really, really talented. If he stays healthy, he’s one of the top receiving tight ends in the league.

– Cowboys owner Jerry Jones came down to the sidelines once Tony Romo left the game with a back injury. He even chattered in his head coach’s ear. That shit’s weird, man. But at the end of the day, just Jerrah being Jerrah.

– Which by the way: once Romo left the game with (really) a vicious back injury and Brandon Weeden came in and looked halfway alright, why in the hell do you trot Romo back out there? Just seems crazy to hinge a season (or better yet a career) on one game during the year when you’re 6-1.

– Getting back to the defense: hats off to defensive coordinator Jim Haslett for being aggressive and sticking with it. He got a lot of good individual play out of guys, but he did a good job of keeping Romo guessing.

– I know what you’re thinking and the answer is ‘no’. I’d much rather see a new defensive coordinator in Washington.

DeMarco Murray finished with 141 yards on the ground and 80 yards receiving. At one point I remember saying that any decent back could succeed in Dallas with the offensive line they have. But the more I watch Murray, the more I appreciate him as a unique combination of speed and power. He has the strength to lower his head and pick up extra yards at the end of runs, yet the speed to get past the second level and burn you for huge plays.

– The Redskins held Tony Romo to just 209 yards and one score on the night. Sure he left the game in the second half with a back injury, but Washington did a good job of containing Romo overall.

– There were a few plays where Romo was Romo (dinks and dumps for huge chunks, extending the play, etc.), but the Redskins deserve credit. Very much not an easy task.

– And while on the topic of limiting stars: Dez Bryant had just three catches for 30 yards on the night. He did finish with a touchdown thanks to a screen down around the goal line in which he made a finger tip grab, dodged a tackle, then powered his way and stretched into the end zone with the elderly Ryan Clark attached to his ankle. Really good job by the defense against Dez, and even more impressive considering they played without DeAngelo Hall.

– Rookie Bashuad Breeland had an incredible game. Some breakups on deep shots down field, a fumble recovery, a near-interception. Really good stuff out of the young guy. He seems to be getting better with each game.

– The defense finished with five sacks. That’s nice.

Keenan Robinson was fast around the field. I’d like to watch the tape to get more of an idea of how he played in coverage, but I thought he was quick around the LOS and he’s the guy credited with the sack that knocked Romo out of the game.

– Safety Brandon Meriweather had his best game of the season. He was all around the ball, he was playing with attitude, and he was effective as a blitzer. Again, tape will give us a better idea of his performance in coverage, but I don’t remember screaming obscenities at the television due to a blown assignment. He finished the game with two sacks, two forced fumbles, and a recovery.

– I wouldn’t say Ryan Kerrigan had a bad game, but I was expecting more out of him. He finished with a sack, which was nice, and he had a chance to seal the game by securing the fumble he fell on late in the game deep in Cowboys territory. Had he recovered that Romo fumble (thanks, Meriweather), the Redskins run down the clock and ask Kai Forbath for a chip shot to win the game in regular time. Somehow the ball squeaked out and the Cowboys recovered.

– Rookie Trent Murphy needs to get stronger among other things, but you have to like the instinctive play in which he jumped up to tip a Romo pass. The ball shot straight into the air, Murphy tracked it perfectly, but unfortunately wasn’t able to come down with the interception. The play was very Kerrigan-esque and much different than anything we’d see (or should I say, not see) from Brian Orakpo. You’d like him to be farther along of course, but Murphy comes with some potential. He’ll be forced to learn on the fly and grow quickly through the rest of the year.

– Nice game for young cornerback David Amerson. Tape will show more, but you didn’t hear his name called much, and often times that’s good news for a corner.

– Seriously though, Tress Way is still the MVP of this team. That punt on fourth down with two minutes left in the game was a thing of beauty. He kicked from the Dallas 41 and pinned the Cowboys at their own three yard line. Awesome stuff.

– The Redskins special teams as a whole showed improvement in this game, which most of us considered a necessity if Washington wanted any chance at winning. Akeem Davis deserves credit for playing with incredible fire and attitude and really showing on coverages. Everette Brown deserves credit for that crunchy block he laid during Andre Roberts‘ 37-yard return. And Roberts too of course.

– The Redskins only had six penalties in this game, but they felt like a punch to the gut thanks to bad timing for most of ‘em. Additionally, there was some confusion on McCoy’s part — some mismanagement in the huddle, wrong play calls, delay of games, tripping over teammates’ feet, etc. — which should all be worked out by next Sunday in Minnesota.

Coming into this game, there were two things the Redskins needed to do if they wanted a shot in the last quarter: generate at least two turnovers and don’t be abysmal on special teams. They finished with two turnovers and didn’t embarrass themselves on special teams.


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