For all the changes this offseason, the Washington Redskins are a team only its fans can love. They just don't get no respect.
No other NFL team made as many changes in 2010 as the Redskins. New coaching staff? Check. New front office? Check. New defensive scheme? Check. Vinny Cerrato gone? Check (we think). Hands-off by the owner? Um, I'll get back to you on that one.
Playoff caliber players from top to bottom of the roster? Yes, if you ask since departed Cerrato. Hell yes if you ask Redskins partisans calling into sports radio shows to predict 10 wins and a playoff berth. Observers outside DC are not so convinced.
The line in Vegas has the Skins winning fewer than eight games. EA Sports has Skins players at the middle of the pack or less, especially at depth positions (see "Wide Receivers").
For a real Rodney Dangerfield moment, check out the Jon Robinson's story 'Madden 11' Player Rankings: Cowboys and Redskins on ESPN.com. The post has an image of the Cowboys and Eagles.
See? No respect.
The first rule of fantasy football is to avoid temptation; as in the temptation to populate your roster with your favorite players on your favorite team. Redskins fans should be especially cautious. Fantasy touts have no respect for the Redskins.
Only five Redskins players appear on ESPN's 2010 Fantasy Football's Top 200 list. Clinton Portis leads the list...in 72nd place. Receiver Santana Moss is 75th. Dallas has six players in the top 100. The Giants have nine players on the list and the Eagles eight.
By position, Portis is ranked 32nd as a fantasy running back in a 32 team league. In a 12 team fantasy league, Portis might not be drafted. Moss is ranked 28th as a fantasy receiver, followed by Joey Galloway (51st) and Devin Thomas (69th).
Donovan McNabb is ranked 12th as a fantasy quarterback while Chris Cooley and Fred Davis are ranked 10th and 21st as fantasy tight ends.
Don't count on the Redskins defense/special teams for your fantasy team. Washington is the 29th ranked fantasy defense on ESPN's list.
Meh! It's fantasy football, people. Don't get your jock in a knot.
The touts are projecting scoring and yardage potential where performance is converted to fantasy points. Real games aren't score that way. Intangibles have weight in reality, but none at all in fantasy. Portis will be far better than the 32nd best rusher this year and McNabb modestly better than 12th best passer. We just don't know how these guys will coalesce as a team.
Fantasy ranking highlight the open questions about Washington.
Quarterback: Can Donovan McNabb elevate the performance of a nondescript cast of receivers in Washington the way he elevated the nondescript receivers in Philadelphia? Can McNabb run at age 33 the way he did at age 23? He may need to. And if he does, his fantasy value could skyrocket.
Running Back: This fantasy question has less to do with Portis, Larry Johnson, Willie Parker, Brian Westbrook, if he signs, or Ladell Betts, who the Skins are keeping an eye on. It has everything to do with Mike Shanahan who infuriated me as a fantasy owner for platooning his running backs. The roster says he's going to do that here, which could could be great for CP's career. For his fantasy owners, not so much.
Wide Receivers: How bad is the fantasy potential of Redskins receivers? Vincent Jackson hasn't signed his contract, isn't practicing with the Chargers and threatens to hold out for 10 games, yet is ranked 20th in fantasy scoring potential. That's eight places better than Santana Moss. Devin Thomas or Malcolm Kelly have the potential to surprise, but draft Whosurmama instead. Sigh! Nothing to see here folks. Move on.
Tight End: Ah! The true bright spot. So here's a question. Why don't we just go ahead an play Chris Cooley or Fred Davis at wide receiver and be done with it?
Defense Special Teams: The real Redskins defense would smother you without actually killing you. They would suppress opponent's yards and scoring, but not disrupt their rhythm with turnovers. It's one thing to convert the scheme of an under-performing offense. It's quite another to change up the defensive front seven that was the strongest part of the unit last season. Love that role players like Chris Wilson and Lorenzo Alexander get their shot to start. But can they cover? For that matter, can Brian Orakpo and Andre Carter cover? That question that can only be answered in games. When I say games, I don't mean the pretense of preseason games.These guys will need six or eight regular season games to jell.
What would Rodney say about that?
Point After: Matt Terl over at the Official Redskins Blog gives his take on Madden 11 from a Redskins-centric point of view. Madden is more than a video game, it's football simulation with character attributes that mimic the real player. Terl says that DE Phillip Daniels is a big producer in the Madden simulation. May it be thus in real life.