Washington Redskins Opportunity Analysis

The Opportunity Analysis – Washington Football Team

The Opportunity Analysis | Washington Redskins 2020

If you haven’t read the article on the opportunity analysis, I recommend going back and doing so before reading the team breakdowns.

Washington Football Team

    • Available Targets: 134
    • Potential Drop-Backs: +77
    • Total New Opportunities: 211
    • Opportunities Analysis Rank: 3

    The WFT come in at number three on the opportunities analysis on the back of the seventh most available targets and fourth highest projected drop-back increase in 2020.

    What is interesting about the vacated targets is where they are coming from. 68% of the available targets from 2019 are from tight ends and running backs. Those position battles will be something to watch as the increase in pass volume means there is a good chance someone at those positions can be a valuable player in 2020. After vetting the vacated targets let’s next get an understanding of why there is a very good chance that the Football Team will see an increase in pass volume.

    New Offensive Coordinator Scott Turner has coached under his father Norv Turner for five seasons as his Quarterbacks coach dating back to his days in Minnesota. When evaluating those team’s drop-backs in 2014-2016 (Vikings) and 2018-2019 (Panthers) the average drop-backs per season was 623, which is well above the 546 the Redskins had last season. Another component to back the potential increase in drop-backs is the history of teams who have under 550 drop-backs. Since 2013, 75% of teams who had below 550 drop-backs had at least 45 more drop-backs the following season with the average being 80 more per team.

    These two factors along with the already solid increase in available targets shows that at least one player will crush his average draft position in 2020.

    Primary Beneficiary: Terry McLaurin

    The “Air Coryell” scheme run by Scott Turner is known to feature a true #1 wide receiver as both Stefon Diggs and D.J. Moore had a 23% target share while under Turner. In 2019 while under Turner, Moore was tied for 12th in the NFL in targets, air yards, and red zone targets while receiving 30 more targets than the next wide receiver on his team (Curtis Samuel).

    Meanwhile, Terry McLaurin already has drawn comparisons to Moore from his new head coach Ron Rivera. The great news is McLaurin has already shown his ability to handle a featured role as last season he had a higher WOPR (market share of air yards and targets) than Moore. Also, because of the projected increase in pass volume McLaurin won’t need to see a jump in target share necessarily to see a bump in production.

    If we apply the potential increase drop-backs to his already solid usage, McLaurin’s projected 16 game total comes to 212.4 points (based on fantasy points per team drop-back) which would put him in line for a wide receiver one fantasy finish. Currently, McLaurin is going in the seventh round outside the top 24 wide receivers, and based on the above projections that draft cost is most likely his floor making him a steal in 2020.

    Secondary Beneficiary: Tight Ends and Running Backs

    The “Air Coryell” scheme that is run by Scott Turner heavily utilizes tight ends and running backs in the pass game, and in Washington those positions are wide open for the taking. Jeremy Sprinkle and Richard Rodgers currently sit on top of the tight end depth chart, but don’t be surprised if a veteran like Delanie Walker gets brought in at some point. Neither player drips with athletic upside, but opportunities are coming for the starter on this team. In weeks 1-12 before Greg Olsen went down with an injury, he was third on the team in routes, target percentage and second on the team in slot routes and targets.

    For the running backs it’s easy to point out the crazy usage that Christian McCaffrey has seen over the last two seasons, leading all running backs in receptions and yards. However, even before McCaffrey Turner was a part of offenses in 2015 and 2016 in Minnesota that had 24 and 25 percent target share to the running back position. Unfortunately knowing that there will be opportunities is a gift and a curse because narrowing down who will be the beneficiary of these opportunities will be the hard part.

    Currently Derrius Guice, Adrian Peterson, Peyton Barber, Antonio Gibson and Bryce Love are all vying for touches with Guice offering the best chance at feature back duties. Both these positions need to be monitored this off-season as outside of Guice zero fantasy draft capital is being used on any of these players, and with the volume sure to spike under Turner someone will emerge on the flex radar in 2020.