The Redskins were not the picture of offensive excellence in 2019 – in fact, they scored the fewest points per game in the NFL last season. Terry McLaurin was still able to put together a productive rookie season, despite catching passes from multiple quarterbacks and playing in an offense that never looked well put together under former offensive coordinator Kevin O’Conner. With a new coaching staff now in place in Washington and Dwayne Haskins having had more time to learn how to operate a pro offense, can McLaurin improve his production in 2020?
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Terry McLaurin finished as the 29th-best receiver in PPR leagues in 2019, playing in 14 games and leading the Redskins in receiving production by far. No other Washington receiver had more than 34 receptions or 365 receiving yards. His 62.4% catch rate from last season is pretty impressive considering the poor quarterback play the team featured, as well.
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McLaurin’s 16-game pace with Haskins at quarterback would have been about 68 receptions on 106 targets for 1,000 yards and four touchdowns. Even after bringing in Cody Latimer, Steve Sims, Antonio Gibson, and Antonio Gandy-Golden, McLaurin is the number one option at receiver – especially after Vernon Davis retired and Jordan Reed’s contract expired. I don’t see Haskins’ touchdown volume being good enough to buoy more than a handful of touchdowns for McLaurin, although with improved efficiency from each of them, his yardage could surpass 1,000 this season.
— CSD Fantasy (@csdfantasy) March 11, 2020
ADP & Auction Value
Auction Value: $19
In the middle of the 5th round, you’re looking at a choice between McLaurin and much higher-upside guys like Calvin Ridley, DK Metcalf, and Deebo Samuel. Sure, McLaurin is the clear number one option in the Washington offense, but I’m not sure they’ll produce enough offensive volume to get McLaurin’s upside much higher than this draft range.
McLaurin’s role as the clear-cut number one option in the Redskins passing game will easily afford him a floor of about 100 targets for the season. He averaged 15.8 yards per reception last year and a 65.6% catch rate despite poor quarterback play on his team. On 100 targets, those numbers would give him about 65 receptions for 1,036 yards. It’s concerning that McLaurin only caught two touchdowns from Haskins last year. Still, with his target count seemingly stable, he likely has a solid baseline of around a top-24 receiver in PPR leagues.
McLaurin’s production as a deep-ball receiver will give him an impressive weekly upside – he ranked top ten in average depth of target among receivers with 90+ targets on the season. His 4.35 40-yard dash time and game-breaking ability with the ball will make him a threat to take it to the house on any play. A significant improvement from Haskins in his second season should be doable – he only completed 58.6% of his passes last season as compared to a 70.2% completion in college against substantial Big 10 competition. McLaurin could get up to 70 receptions with Chris Thompson (42 catches last year) no longer on the roster. Something like 70 catches for 1,100 yards and six touchdowns could be in play – stats that would have made him a reliable top-twenty option in 2019.
Remains the WR1 in WAS
I’m here for 120+ Targets for F1 😍😍
With Haskins —-> 🚫 Haskins:
Tg Share: 22.1% —-> 17.1%
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) April 25, 2020
Washington Redskins Offense
The Redskins had one of the worst offenses in football last season, scoring just 16.6 points per game (worst in the NFL). Football Outsiders had their passing offense ranked only 29th overall and their rushing offense at 25th. Of course, some of that can be attributed to a sudden change in head coach five weeks into the season plus a rookie quarterback under center – a notoriously losing football combination. The writing had been on the wall for Jay Gruden, but when the team averaged just 8.3 points per game from Week 3 to Week 5, even Dan Snyder had seen enough. Unfortunately for Washington fans, things didn’t get much better after Bill Callahan took over as the head coach. After their 0-5 start, the team finished with three wins on the year. Their offense doesn’t figure to improve a ton this season, though, as veteran left tackle Trent Williams was traded away. He was likely their best offensive player last year. The Redskins are hopeful that things will improve under head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner. Dwayne Haskins has to improve in Year 2 or his future as the starter may be on the hot seat. The return of Derrius Guice from injury and signing of Peyton Barber should improve the team’s run game, which could reduce Haskins’ pass attempts as could the improvement of their defense after adding Chase Young, Thomas Davis, and Ronald Darby to a roster that already featured Daron Payne, Ryan Kerrigan, and Landon Collins. The recipe is there for the Redskins to be a bit of a ground-and-pound team reliant on their defense in 2020, which wouldn’t help the fantasy fortunes of anyone involved in the passing game.
Strength of Schedule
Luckily for the Redskins, the NFC East doesn’t present too daunting an in-division slate. The Eagles and Giants both found themselves in the top-five for most wide receiver fantasy points against. The Cowboys fared better in that respect, but Football Outsiders also had them graded with the 9th-worst pass defense in the NFL last year. Additionally, all of those teams could have higher-level passing offenses leading to a better game-script to feature Dwayne Haskins airing the ball out. Outside of the NFC East, Washington will take on plenty more poor defenses. The Cardinals, Bengals, and Lions ranked among Football Outsiders’ six worst passing defenses in the league last year. They gave up among the most fantasy points to the wide receiver position. The Seahawks and Panthers both ranked middle-of-the-pack in most passing metrics, but each had significant losses to their starting lineups on defense. The Panthers lost Luke Kuechly, Mario Addison, Vernon Butler, Bruce Irvin, James Bradberry, and Eric Reid. In contrast, the Seahawks lost Jadeveon Clowney, who was a massive part of their pass rush production last season, as well as Ezekiel Ansah, Mychal Kendricks, and Tedric Thompson. There are some matchups on the Redskins’ schedule, which may necessitate a benching of McLaurin that week in your fantasy football matchup – the Ravens, Steelers, 49ers, and Rams (maybe) feature as defensive juggernauts. The schedule as a whole isn’t too daunting, but it concerns me that McLaurin is likely going to be pretty dependent on the game script again in 2020. The Redskins slogged through several low-scoring, defensive slugfests last year, and I’m not sure that changes much this season.
Terry McLaurin could end up being a fantasy football fool’s gold with how his end-of-season stats look from last year. 35.5% of his yardage came in 3 of 14 matchups, and his consistency doesn’t seem likely to improve unless he can significantly improve his ability to run a full route tree. The combination of factors between a slower offensive pace, poor play from Dwayne Haskins, and a defense that could be decent enough to keep games close are factors that won’t help McLaurin’s weekly upside. He could go for 1,000 yards this season, but I don’t see him as a reception machine or as having massive touchdown upside. If we see during training camp and the preseason that he and Haskins are developing chemistry and able to take on more offensive responsibility, I could become more bullish on Scary Terry. I’m scared by his current draft price, though, and I feel like you can get more value out of higher-upside options in better situations at the range he’s coming off the board.
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