Kirk Cousins Fantasy
Kirk Cousins was a popular waiver wire target last week following a significant injury to Robert Griffin III. After his performance in Week 3, Cousins’ fantasy ownership will almost certainly be on the rise again in the coming days. On the road in Philadelphia, Cousins completed 30-of-48 passes for 427 yards and three touchdowns, making him one of the top fantasy quarterbacks of the week. But what can fantasy owners expect to see from Cousins moving forward?
Making just his fifth career start, Cousins got out of the gate quickly on Sunday, marching the Redskins offense down the field on the game’s opening drive. He didn’t miss a throw as Washington went 82 yards on 11 plays, eating more than six minutes off the clock. After the Eagles returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, Cousins led another long touchdown drive that covered 87 yards in 12 plays. Through two possessions, he was 12-of-13 for 124 yards and two scores. While he cooled off a little after a fast start and made some mistakes along the way, Cousins demonstrated an understanding of Jay Gruden’s offense that RGIII had yet to grasp.
After Griffin took four sacks and nearly 20 hits in less than two games under center this season, Cousins stayed remarkably clean in Week 3. He wasn’t sacked in 48 pass attempts and didn’t take any big hits. He showed patience and made mostly good decisions with the ball, throwing in rhythm rather than leaving the pocket too much or improvising on the run. That steady style of play helped the Redskins offensive line and Cousins’ ability to spread the ball around kept his receivers happy. Eight different players caught a pass on Sunday, including 100-yard receiving days for both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Cousins took what was available to him, but also showed good anticipation and touch on the long ball, including an 81-yard strike to Jackson that tied the game late in the third quarter.
Washington won’t be involved in 37-34 shootouts every week, as they were against the Eagles, but Cousins has a generally favorable schedule moving forward, including a rematch with Philadelphia, two games each against the Giants and Cowboys, and matchups with Minnesota, Tampa Bay, and Indianapolis. A vulnerable Redskins secondary could also be supportive of Cousins’ numbers, as he potentially plays a lot of catch-up over the next few months. After looking improved against below-average offenses from Houston and Jacksonville over the first two weeks of the season, Washington’s defense gave up 325 yards and three touchdowns to Nick Foles on Sunday, and the team lost top cornerback DeAngelo Hall for the rest of the year after he suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon during the second half.
Cousins certainly wasn’t perfect in Week 3, as exemplified by a crucial interception in the fourth quarter and missing a wide-open Garcon on Washington’s last offensive play of the game. But he looked very comfortable in Gruden’s offense and circumstances seem to be lining up to support Cousins maintaining fantasy relevance for the foreseeable future. RGIII is expected to be out until at least the Redskins’ Week 10 bye, and there is no guarantee that he gets the starting job back upon his return. I think Cousins will be a low-end QB1 or high-end QB2 in 12-team leagues moving forward, with the potential to provide a few more top-5 weekly performances along the way. If he’s available in your league and you’re currently starting the likes of Tom Brady or Tony Romo, Cousins is a recommended add ahead of Week 4.
Self-described fantasy degenerate that has been participating in fantasy sports leagues since the spiral notebook scoring era. If you can make a fantasy league out of it, I’m in.