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All Active Play-Callers, Split by Positional Target Market Share pic.twitter.com/dqXEe9b8c0— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) August 21, 2017
All Active Play-Callers, Average Targets per Season to Each Position pic.twitter.com/7A8OC6NgGH— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) August 21, 2017
Measuring All Active Play-Callers by Efficiency / Pass v. Run Splits pic.twitter.com/Pv6l4baOrQ— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) August 21, 2017
4. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
C%+: 4.9 percent
Cousins ranked in the top five in C%+ for the second season in a row, but he will have to make do without wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson in 2017. Cousins' C%+ dropped from 6.6 percent when throwing to those two receivers to 3.9 percent on targets to other players, however, so he still would have ranked fourth without them.
9. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
2016 ALEX: Plus-2.3
During his first four seasons, Cousins usually stayed close to neutral (0.0) in ALEX, but he took more chances last season with respectable results, finishing 13th in third-down conversion rate. Cousins threw short of the sticks on 48.1 percent of his third downs in 2015, but he decreased that to 39.9 percent last season. He'll now adjust to the loss of offensive coordinator Sean McVay, as well as wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson.
5. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
QB EPA: plus-105.6 (seventh)
Team EPA: minus-91.1 (26th)
QB-added value: plus-196.7
Just as the Redskins barely missed out on a second consecutive playoff berth at 8-7-1, Kirk Cousins just missed out on being our fifth quarterback with an added value of more than 200 EPA. After a 4-2 start, Cousins put the team in position for wins at Detroit and in London against Cincinnati. However, the No. 28 defense in EPA (minus-96.9) allowed a 75-yard game-winning touchdown drive in the final 65 seconds to the Lions, and Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins missed a 34-yard field goal in overtime against the Bengals.
Kirk Cousins will throw 10 more touchdowns than last season (25), when he was the fantasy QB6 on a per-game basis. He traded poor red-zone receivers for larger targets and still has Jordan Reed (fingers crossed). If Cousins' 5.3-percent touchdown rate from 2015 is applied to his 606 attempts from 2016, he's already at 32.4 scores, and the "fixed running game" looks more like "lots of Chris Thompson."
Washington has ranked 21st in points allowed and 27th in defensive expected points added (EPA) during the past two seasons. The Redskins are 17-14-1 in that span largely because Cousins trails only Tom Brady and Matt Ryan in Total QBR among players with more than 16 starts since then.
No quarterback in the NFL had more touchdowns on passes travelling 20+ yards through the air in 2016 than Ben Roethlisberger pic.twitter.com/x00fCaNNQ1— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 24, 2017
13 uncapped yrs since 03. SB winning QB won in rookie deal or was a repeat winner who 1st won in rookie deal. Peyton/Brees lone exceptions. pic.twitter.com/gny0AHuuQ2— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) August 23, 2017
The moral here is that it's hard to win a Super Bowl without either a Hall of Fame quarterback or a good quarterback playing under their rookie deal. Historically great defenses tend to help too. As of right now, the Redskins are 0-for-3.
When Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette said the jump to the NFL was "really easy" after his time playing in the much-hyped SEC for LSU, a lot of observers raised an eyebrow. Things certainly haven't always looked easy for SEC backs drafted in the first round.
Not that any of this falls on the head of Fournette, whom everyone is taking a little too seriously. The SEC does put a lot of players in the league, and in positions to contribute for their teams. But if Fournette runs over the NFL the same way he did those SEC run defenses, he'll be the first to do so in quite a while.
I'm looking at you, Matt Jones and Mack Brown. Only 5 of the 32 projected starting running backs hail from the SEC (Mike Gillislee, Leonard Fournette, Spencer Ware, Mark Ingram, Eddie Lacy and Todd Gurley). Only two of those players look like locks to be their team's starters (Gurley and Fournette).
Among the 42 running backs with at least 100 carries last season, Kelley ranked 25th in Rushing NEP per attempt (-0.02), which was the league average. And if we take a look at Success Rate, Kelley (37.50%) ranked 29th among that same group of running backs, which was below league average (40.28%).
He wasn't even the best running back on his own team.
Rushing NEP per Attempt
Chris Thompson was the most effective on a per-carry basis and owned the highest Success Rate, and while Kelley and Jones were equally effective in terms of Rushing NEP per attempt, Jones was also significantly better in terms of Success Rate.
Despite sharing the Oklahoma backfield with Joe Mixon over his final two seasons, Perine posted three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for the Sooners before Washington took him in the fourth round. Rushing for 1,000 yards -- either in college or the pros -- is something that Kelley, a product Tulane University, has yet to accomplish.
Perine also has his teammate beat in nearly every metric upon looking at his athletic profile. According to PlayerProfiler, Perine most closely compares to Jordan Howard, while Kelley's closest comparison is Matt Asiata.
16. Fat Rob Remains the Lead Dog
Samaje Perine continues to be on the outside looking in for Redskins carries. He got zero first-string snaps on Saturday while Rob Kelley got 16 and passing back Chris Thompson got nine. Through two weeks, the count is Fat Rob 21, Thompson 10, everyone else zero. Kelley's weekly ceiling is capped by his non-existent role in the passing game and he carries a very low floor in games where the Redskins could fall behind. But he was able to score six rushing TDs in nine starts last year, making him viable in TD-heavy formats.
The most productive receiving backs so far this preseason pic.twitter.com/d1GFITHuzB— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 23, 2017
Same thing, but sorting by Weighted Opportunity% indicates fondness for a single bell cow RB, rather than by a RBBC approach. pic.twitter.com/ZyfccmzPPZ— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) August 22, 2017
WAS Preseason Game 2:— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) August 20, 2017
Kelley: 9 carries, 9 yds. 1 reception, 5 yds
Perine: 8 carries, 45 yds. 1 reception, 29 ydshttps://t.co/Bt1cp8DUKz
Looks like tough sledding for whoever wins the running back job, especially after Week 6.
Using Reception NEP per target and Reception Success Rate, the latter of which is the percentage of a player's catches that resulted in an NEP gain, we can see just how good Pryor was compared to Cleveland's other receivers last year.
Reception NEP Per Target
Reception Success Rate
Obviously, Pryor got a ton more looks than these guys, but he was also more efficient than them despite the volume. For reference, the 2016 league averages for wideouts in Reception NEP per target and Reception Success Rate were 0.66 and 83.91%, respectively.
So, in his first full year as a receiver, Pryor was better than a league-average wideout despite playing in a pretty poor environment for offense.
From a physical standpoint, Pryor stands at 6-foot-4 and runs a 4.41 40 yard dash. Player Profiler compares him to Demaryius Thomas, one of the most elite WRs of the last five years.
Pryor ranked second in 2016 in air yards with 2,029. This is likely to decline toward Jackson's 1,489 air yards, a number that was 14th best in the NFL last year. To offset this decrease will be a massive increase in the quality of targets. Over the last three seasons, Cousins has consistently produced receivers with catch rates well over the league average no matter the depth of the target.
In 2016, Kirk Cousins out-produced the Browns five quarterbacks by almost 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns. Even if Cousins were to fall into significant regression, chances are he would still put up at least the same numbers as the Browns did in their 2016 campaign. Washington also has a void left by Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, who accounted for 214 targets, over 2,000 yards, and 7 TDs. This production will be redistributed among the new and existing weapons on the team.
Pryor's ADP going into the final two weeks of the preseason places him as WR16. If we gave Cousins a similar attempt total to 2016 and the massive increase in catch rate to Pryor, he would max out at about 127 targets and 83 receptions. That number historically would land Pryor at about the 15th highest total receptions in the league. Luckily, every player who has received over 80 targets from Cousins has had a great AYA which could boost Pryor further to have an upside as high as WR10.
3. Josh Doctson Wins Without Playing
Doctson came off the bench Saturday, leaving Ryan Grant to hold his place with the first-teamers. So it's very useful to examine how the Redskins WRs were used. First of all, they were in a 3-WR formation on 18 of Kirk Cousins' 25 snaps. The total snap count during that time was Terrelle Pryor 24, Ryan Grant 21, Jamison Crowder 20, everyone else zero. In other words, the Redskins are planning a big role for Doctson's spot in the offense. Slot man Jamison Crowder was not in on the first four 2-WR sets the Redskins ran, instead watching as Pryor and Grant (i.e. Doctson) were out there.
1. Jamison Crowder ranked fifth in fantasy points scored from the slot last season. Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson accounted for 47.9 percent of non-Crowder Redskins fantasy points from the slot last season and are no longer in Washington.
When targeting Crowder (99 times), Cousins did post his lowest adjusted yards per attempt (8.61) of any of the five non-running backs he targeted at least 20 times, but by Reception NEP per target, Crowder was just as productive as anyone not named DeSean Jackson.
Crowder played as well as his teammates in some aspects, despite an average depth of target of just 8.1 yards, per AirYards. For comparison, Garcon's mark was 10.3, and Jackson's was 14.9.
Meanwhile, Colin Kaepernick (13.3 percent) and Kirk Cousins (14.0 percent) threw into tight coverage just 14 percent of the time. This does not bode well for Terrelle Pryor, because slot wide receivers tend to get the most separation (as evidenced in the wide receiver section of this article). This bodes very well for Jamison Crowder.
Naturally, slot wide receivers and tight ends who match up with linebackers at times will have the highest numbers. That's why Martellus Bennett and Jamison Crowder are atop the list with 3.8 and 3.6 yards of separation.
Washington Redskins- Vernon Davis, 3 years, $15.5M, $7.5M guaranteed
The Redskins had a really bad offseason and you could make an argument for a few deals they signed to be here, but this one left me scratching my head. Davis is an older player whose most productive years came in 2013. Davis was already given up on by the 49ers and Broncos and hadn't earned $5 million in a given year since 2014. I can't see what market would have existed to get Davis over $5 million a year on a new contract and a guarantee that extends into the second year of his contract. What made this stranger is that the team already committed over $9 million a year to Jordan Reed and if Reed is healthy (always a big if) Davis won't even come close to being able to justify his salary. Even with Reed hurt its doubtful Davis will be worth this contract and that was money that could have been spent elsewhere like on a long term contract for their quarterback.
Vernon Davis ranked 11th in the NFL in percentage of receptions that went for 20 or more yards last year. DeSean Jackson was 1st, with 33.9% of his catches going for at least 20 yards.
Today his personal receivers coach, David Robinson, compares Reed's speed and acceleration to those of 5' 10", 181-pound Steelers wideout Antonio Brown (another client) and his body control to LeBron James's. In other words: Reed, freak that he is, has the skill set of two elite athletes, one who weighs 60 pounds less and another 10 pounds more. "He's changing football right before our eyes," says Robinson.
Reed is both the next drawing in a Darwinian timeline and the embodiment of what happens when a sport built on brutality meets Isaac Newton's second law of motion, force equals mass times acceleration. He's so big and so fast (he ran a 4.62 40 at his pro day) that he generates uncommon momentum, and that makes him more susceptible to the worst kinds of collisions, the hardest kinds of impact, in ways that smaller or slower players are not. He's everything that's beautiful and dangerous about football, at once the future of the sport and the face of what could threaten it.
Take Reed's football position, for example. In 1967 there were only eight NFL tight ends as tall and as heavy as Reed is now. That number was up to nine in '77, 35 in '87, 75 in '97, and it topped off at 97 in 2011. It has since dropped as low as 81, last year, accounting for the NFL's emphasis on athleticism at the position—and that's why Reed represents what's next. Tight ends were already big. Now they're faster and tasked with spending the majority of their time in the middle of the field.
Over the past two seasons the Redskins are 2-4 when Reed has sat out, and 6-2-1 when he's gained more than 75 receiving yards.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
Over the last two years, Reed has averaged 7.8 targets per game, leading all tight ends over that span. He also leads all TEs in PPR points game during that time frame, as he just dominates targets when on the field. He also has an insane catch rate, hauling in 75.8 percent over the course of his career.
In 2016, Reed led Washington with eight targets inside the 10-yard line, and finished top-three at the position in targets per route run. Reed's played 26 of 32 games the last two years, and while there are injury concerns, they're already baked into his ADP.
In each of the last two seasons, Reed has ranked first among tight ends in fantasy points per game. Among wide receivers, Reed ranked 12th in 2015 and 18th last season in fantasy points per game. Over the past two seasons, on a point-per-game basis, Reed has outscored all of Demaryius Thomas, Rob Gronkowski, T.Y. Hilton, Amari Cooper, Dez Bryant, Jarvis Landry, and a number of other players going well ahead of him. Even with that, these numbers are somewhat skewed against Reed, considering we're counting a number of games where Reed played on a limited number of snaps while dealing with injury.
Over the past two seasons (including postseason), if we're only counting games Reed played at least 35 snaps, Reed has averaged 18.6 fantasy points per game. If we do this for all tight ends, that's +0.8 more than Rob Gronkowski and a whopping +5.7 more than Travis Kelce. For perspective, over the past five seasons, the No. 4 fantasy tight end - where Reed is currently being drafted — has averaged only 13.9 fantasy points per game. For further perspective, 18.6 fantasy points per game would have finished fourth among wide receivers last season, ahead of only Antonio Brown, Jordy Nelson, and Mike Evans.
Reed ranked sixth among tight ends in 2016 with a PFF overall grade of 86.0. This was slightly lower than his 2013 grade of 86.6 and career-best 2015 grade of 87.6, where he ranked third and fourth in the league, respectively.
Reed has proven to be a reliable target throughout his career and has only 10 drops from 258 catchable passes, equating to a PFF drop rate (drops on catchable passes) of 3.88 percent, the second lowest among tight ends since 2013.
Reed is also very efficient, and has always ranked at least in the top 8 tight ends in the league with regard to PFF ‘yards per route run' (taking into account receiving yards and the number of snaps a player went into a pattern. His best year was in 2015 where his total of 2.45 yards per route run, ranked first among 39 eligible tight ends.
Reed is arguably one of the best tight ends in football, and over the last two years he has produced PFF overall grades of 87.6 and 86.0, ranking fourth and sixth in the league, respectively. Reed ranked fourth among tight ends in 2016 with 1.97 yards per route run and dropped just one of 67 catchable targets in 2016, giving him the lowest drop rate (1.49) of any tight end.
Reed is a vital part of the Washington offense, and has built impressive chemistry with Kirk Cousins over the last two seasons. Reed has seen 18.1% of all Cousins' targets since 2015, and when targeting him, Cousins has posted a passer rating of 124.0, the second-highest mark among the league's tight ends with at least 120 targets.
While he has been dangerous on a lot of routes, he has been most impressive on post routes over the last two years. On his 14 targets on post routes, Reed has tallied 13 receptions for 276 yards, 3 touchdowns, and generated a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
5. Washington Redskins
Overall grade: B
Pass blocking: A
Run blocking: C+
Washington placed tied for the best overall pass blocking grade due to ranking first in PPM (52.0 percent), fourth in sack rate (3.6 percent) and tied for sixth in dropback hit rate (7.8 percent). Add five returning offensive line starters to the mix and it should allow Kirk Cousins, Terrelle Pryor Sr. and Jordan Reed to continue to produce superb fantasy numbers despite the D-minus schedule grade.
Long finished 2016 ranked 29th out of 72 qualified centers with a 69.6 overall grade. He struggled as a run blocker last year, earning a run blocking grade of just 54.0 (the 11th lowest in the league); however, he performed well in pass protection, ranking ninth with an 82.6 pass blocking grade. Long has been clean in pass protection so far this preseason but run blocking continues to be an issue, evident by his 41.7 run blocking grade against the Green Bay Packers.
Long's absence will likely make way for sixth round rookie Chase Roullier, who has been impressive in preseason action. Roullier has played 56 snaps in two preseason games, and has achieved PFF overall grades of 73.8 and 81.7, ranking eighth and third among all centers in the league, respectively. His run blocking grade of 85.1 against Green Bay was the highest among all centers in the league.
Excited to see Roullier step up with the first team.He earned the highest run blocking grade among centres last week pic.twitter.com/eUXqZ7pXTK— Mark Chichester (@chichester_mark) August 23, 2017
17. Jonathan Allen - DI - Redskins - snap count: 10
Jonathan Allen's second game was less eventful than his first, with less than half the snaps of his debut as he was a victim of sub-packages being featured less than a week before. He made one defensive stop, and beat Lane Johnson once but the ball was gone before it could become pressure.
Stacy McGee earned a career high grade (81.8) as a rotational player for the Oakland Raiders in 2016, but he failed to make the impact he would have wanted in his first game in Washington. He logged 15 defensive snaps against the Baltimore Ravens, and ended the game with a PFF overall grade of 48.8, the fourth lowest grade among defensive linemen. McClain played 14 snaps in the opener and showed glimpses of his potential. He provided a stop (a solo tackle that constitutes an offensive failure) against the run, and produced a quarterback hurry on one of his seven pass rush snaps. His PFF overall grade of 72.1 ranked sixth among 11 interior defensive linemen on his team.
Second-year players Matt Ioannidis and Anthony Lanier impressed in the team's opener. Lanier tallied two stops on his 29 snaps, and produced both a sack and a quarterback hurry on his 14 pass-rush snaps. Ioannidis was also disruptive on his seven pass-rush snaps, and although he didn't produce a pressure, he earned pass rush grade of 82.2, the fourth highest of the game.
The Redskins brought in Buffalo's leading tackler from 2016, Zach Brown, in free agency. In 2016, Brown appeared in a career-high 977 snaps and recorded 149 tackles, also a career-high. Brown was brought in to compete and upgrade the ILB position against incumbents Mason Foster and Will Compton. It appears Foster and Brown project to see the majority of the snaps. I think Brown has the upside for more tackles but Foster will retain his IDP value as an LB3.
Deshazor Everett, S - With S'ua Cravens out for the remainder of the preseason following knee surgery, Everett will likely fill the void at strong safety, and he'll be looking to carry on from his impressive preseason performance from last year. In the 2016 preseason, Everett was a force against the run when lined up in the box, and on his 11 run defense snaps where he lined up within 8 yards of the line of scrimmage, he produced three stops, for a run stop percentage of 27.2 - the league's sixth highest mark.
Gray Ink tests are fun ways to measure player dominance by giving some — but not too much — credit to longevity. In simplest form, gray ink tests give 10 points for finishing 1st in a category, 9 points for finishing 2nd, and so on.
Gary Clark leads the Redskins in "gray ink" for percentage of team adjusted catch yards (ACY = Receiving Yards + Receptions * 5 + Receiving Touchdowns * 20) since 1970. He also ranks 19th in the entire NFL in that time frame.
Charley Taylor led the Redskins in receiving yards a team-record 8 times. Only 17 other players have led any team in receiving yards more than 8 times.