Can Redskins WR Jamison Crowder Exceed the 1,000 Yard Mark in 2017?
Jamison Crowder Fantasy Value 2017
Recently, Washington Redskins beat writer JP Finlay commented that Jamison Crowder’s floor in 2017, will be 1,000 yards. On the surface, such a prediction is hardly a hot take, as Crowder posted 604 yards in his rookie year, and 847 yards in his sophomore year, which shows he has been gradually progressing under Jay Gruden. On the whole, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Crowder going into the season, as his offensive coordinator has left, and the deep threat DeSean Jackson, that created all of the space underneath for Crowder to wreak havoc has also departed. It is for this reason that Jamison Crowder, in my opinion, should be avoided as a starting fantasy player in 2017.
Crowder evolved into one of Kirk Cousins’ favorite targets in 2016, as he was third in targets on the team. Cousins had a passer rating of 105 when targeting Crowder which was the second highest on the Redskins behind Jordan Reed. Crowder also got the majority of his work underneath, with 79 of his 99 targets coming from short passes. Finally, Crowder led the team in touchdowns with seven and was a perfect fit in Sean McVay’s offense which was based on geometry and timing. However, Crowder’s production in the final four weeks was deeply concerning, as he only totaled 80 yards over the last four games. It was not as if Washington faced particularly tough defenses either, as Philadelphia, Carolina, and Chicago were all plagued by below par secondaries in 2016. Crowder’s decrease in production was extremely worrying, and it is a definite red flag moving forward.
McVay Departure Red Flag
McVay’s departure will hurt Crowder’s fantasy value more than anything. The former OC was very creative with how he schemed Crowder into the offense getting him into space in the open field. New Offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh has a lot of experience, but McVay’s timing offense was a perfect fit for getting the ball out quickly and allowing Crowder’s excellent speed and route running to shine.
If Sean McVay were still the offensive coordinator, this would not concern me, as he has an incredible understanding of angles, and he would be able to do a lot with this group. Cavanaugh is not as talented as Sean McVay, and the Redskins offence lost a lot of tactical nous with his departure.
Risky Move To The Outside
In his most recent interview, Jay Gruden inferred to reporters that he might move Jamison Crowder outside in 2017 when the Redskins opt for 2 WR sets. This idea may seem good on paper due to Crowder’s ability as a route runner, but the sample size is very limited for Crowder as an outside threat. Crowder was targeted 20 times on deep balls in 2016, and he caught nine of them. This is not a terrible number, but I would personally not put my draft capital into the idea that Crowder might be a good outside threat. Crowder is simply a much better slot receiver than he is an outside receiver, he was ninth in the NFL in yards per route run from the slot, but he was just 62nd in yards per route run on the outside.
Crowder will get a lot of targets which makes him valuable in a way, but he will receive more attention this year because no one will give Josh Doctson double coverage until he proves himself, and there is no deep threat for defenses to worry about. The Redskins will likely run more of a short passing offense this year, but this limits Crowder’s big play ability.
Decreased Red-Zone Targets?
One area the Redskins suffered offensively in 2016, was in the red zone. A lot of this was because Sean McVay was better with an open field, as DeSean Jackson creates more angles in the open field than he does in the redzone. The Redskins were 30th in Redzone TD percentage, and this was the main area that needed fixing on the offensive side of the ball.Jamison Crowder is a useful red-zone threat, but in reality, he only led the team in touchdowns last year because they simply did not have many other guys. Jordan Reed often attracted double coverage, and DeSean Jackson simply isn’t that useful in the redzone. Terrelle Pryor may not have the downfield ability that DeSean Jackson does, but his 6’4 frame makes him a reliable redzone target for Kirk Cousins. Some may point to the fact Pryor only managed four touchdowns last season, but he had an ensemble cast of Cody Kessler, Josh McCown and Robert Griffin III throwing him the ball, which is hardly a reliable source of service.
Outside of Crowder, every wideout currently on the Redskins roster is over six feet tall, which does not bode well for Crowder’s redzone prospects. Washington also have Vernon Davis who showed last year he still has something left in the tank, and they also added Jeremy Sprinkle from Arkansas in the draft, who looks like a beast in the redzone.
Crowder is a exquisite player, but defenses will now shift extra coverage to him due to DeSean Jackson’s departure, and he will see less redzone work purely because the Redskins have recruited a bunch of highly athletic and tall players to their receiving corps. Jay Gruden’s offense may not rack up the yards they did last year, but they should become more efficient in the redzone, which is ultimately how you win football games.
Jamison Crowder’s current ADP is 78, which is far too high in my eyes. He will attract a lot of double coverage this year, and his redzone targets will be virtually non-existent. Some see him as a big play guy, but the production on the outside hasn’t been good enough so far in his career to put any capital into such a prediction. PFF have Crowder as Washington’s WR3 in fantasy, and as the WR49 overall, which seems about right.
Regarding pure ability, Jamison Crowder might be the best receiver on the Redskins, but in my opinion, he will not be scoring many touchdowns, and there will be less space underneath in 2017 than there was in 2016.