Cousins: I gotta be ready to go
Like many of you, I watched every second of Mike Shanahan's Wednesday press conference. Reporters asked the Redskins' head coach question after question regarding the change at quarterback. Alas, those scribes and on-air voices never broached one specific and truly important topic.
How does the move to Kirk Cousins affect our fantasy football lineups.
Fine, that probably wouldn't have gone over so well with the agitated coach, or even if Shanahan were at his congenial best. No worries, I'm here to help and will be as honest as I can, though that's always the case here with the Fantasy Fix.
Now, on to those questions...
I have Robert Griffin III. Should I cut him and pick up Cousins?
Sure, go for it. Regardless of whether the fantasy plan is to use Cousins or not, Shanahan made it very clear that RGIII will not be active for the Redskins the remainder of this season. Odds are that Griffin started or was part of a fantasy rotation, so additional depth is needed.
Should I start Cousins versus the Falcons on Sunday?
Let's start with the matchup, which is juicy. The Falcons defense ranks 29th versus fantasy quarterbacks this season, allowing at least two touchdown passes in 10 of 13. Worth noting, Atlanta has surrendered only two over the last two games while facing E.J. Manuel and Matt Flynn. That last line doesn't sway me from loving the matchup, just informing every one of the details. Again, that honesty thing.
For me, this really comes down to whether I'm cool with waking up loss on Monday because I started a QB who essentially hadn't played all season and is part of a team dealing with crazy drama. In Week 15 or more to the point, in the fantasy playoffs, that's not good for me, ideally.
Following the QB change announcement, I slotted Cousins 23rd in my Week 15 QB rankings. That's just behind Jason Campbell and Eli Manning, but ahead of the Matt's, Flynn, McGloin and Cassel. For those digging this deep regardless, my condolences seeing as scenarios have clearly conspired against you.
One thing I keep pondering is whether the Shanahan's go uber-aggressive now, like skipping punts altogether. Ironically, Cousins made his NFL debut against the Falcons in Week 5 last season, completing 5 of 9 passes for 111 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
What does Cousins' presence mean for the other Redskins?
Not all backup quarterbacks are created equal and while nobody should consider Cousins the best of the best, he's hardly an abomination. Expect the chains to move enough, especially since there will be no snow inside the Georgia Dome.
Alfred Morris faces an Atlanta run defense which ranks 26th versus fantasy backs and has allowed over 100 rushing yards in six of its last seven games. Only the circus distraction keeps Morris outside the top 12, but otherwise he's a starter.
Though the Falcons also gobs of fantasy production to quarterbacks, they're middle of the pack versus wide receivers. After allowing at least one TD reception to a WR in nine of its opening 10 games, Atlanta has surrendered zero, nada, zilch over the last three contests. Pierre Garcon remains valuable especially in PPR, but all the data and circumstance drop him into the WR2/3 range.
As for Jordan Reed, he remains a TE1 candidate. That is assuming he can get on the field after multiple idle weeks while recouping from a concussion. In Week 14, Green Bay's tight ends went 10-101-1 versus the Falcons. A healthy Reed trumps the Packers' options and the Falcons rank 21st overall. My bigger fear with Reed is his head, not the matchup.