Last updated: September 5th at 3:31pm ET.
Team Totals: Eagles 27.5, Redskins 18.5
At home favored by two scores, the Eagles are an elite D/ST play hosting one of the NFL’s most-putrid offenses. As Dwayne Haskins failed to claim Washington’s starting quarterback job, the Skins will trot out 31-year-old Case Keenum on his seventh NFL team without seven-time Pro Bowl LT Trent Williams (holdout) facing a loaded Philly front consisting of DT Fletcher Cox, DE Derek Barnett, DT Malik Jackson, DE Brandon Graham, DT Timmy Jernigan, and DE Vinny Curry. Skins 36-year-old fill-in LT Donald Penn and swinging-gate LG Ereck Flowers arguably make up the worst left side of an offensive line in the league. Keenum’s passer rating nose dove from 94.9 to 52.2 when pressured last season. … Washington’s backfield is even more messy with 2018 1,000-yard rusher Adrian Peterson behind Derrius Guice for early-down work, Wendell Smallwood entering the picture at final cuts, and Chris Thompson changing the pace and dominating passing-down snaps. Based on projected game script, Thompson looks likely to lead Redskins backs in snaps versus an Eagles defense that coughed up the NFL’s second-most running back catches (110) last year. I wouldn’t start any Washington runner in a season-long league but might consider Thompson as a one-percent-owned Draft Kings GPP play.
The Redskins will trot out a three-receiver set of Paul Richardson and Terry McLaurin with Trey Quinn in the slot. Keenum’s tendency is to pepper slot receivers – see Tavon Austin’s career-high 106 targets on 2016’s Keenum-quarterbacked Rams, Adam Thielen’s 2017 breakout with Keenum’s Vikings, and Emmanuel Sanders’ 95-catch pre-injury pace last year – suggesting Quinn could emerge as Keenum’s favorite pass option to begin 2019. Quinn also looks to have Washington’s top on-paper pass-catching matchup inside versus Avonte Maddox, who played just 11% of his 2018 snaps at slot corner but is slated to start there in Week 1. Projected negative script also works in Quinn’s target-volume favor. … If forced to throw a dart at a Redskins outside receiver, I would take rookie McLaurin, who wasted no time winning a starting job as a third-round pick. Richardson doesn’t create separation and is dealing with a quad injury, whereas McLaurin’s route quicks and 4.35 jets give the Redskins their best chance for a shot play. Eagles LCB Ronald Darby practiced in a bulky knee brace all August coming off last November’s ACL tear, while RCB Sidney Jones struggled mightily in 2018 after missing his rookie season with a torn Achilles’. Philadelphia’s alternative is Rasul Douglas, who ran 4.59 coming out of West Virginia and coughed up 1.88 yards per coverage snap last season, fifth most among 117 qualified corners. … Despite suffering his seventh known concussion in Washington’s third preseason game, Jordan Reed is tentatively expected to start against an Eagles defense that last year allowed the league’s second-most fantasy points to tight ends, lost MLB Jordan Hicks to Arizona, and won’t have WLB Kamu Grugier-Hill (MCL).
Jordan Howard was on my fade list in season-long drafts, but non-PPR fantasy leaguers could do worse as a Week 1 RB2/flex start with Philly favored big at home. Howard is a role player, but that role should be larger than usual this week as the Eagles’ clock-killing grinder. In his career, Howard averages 0.90 rushing TDs in wins compared to 0.22 in losses. … As last year’s Eagles backs collectively averaged 27 touches per game – and this game sets up for a bit more volume than usual – I’m projecting Howard for 16 touches, Miles Sanders for 10, and Darren Sproles for 4 against the Skins. Even as the Eagles’ clear top running back talent, I think Sanders will have to earn his way into RB2/flex value by showing ball security and pass-protection reliability early in the season. It’s still only a matter of time before Sanders takes over as the top dog. … Beginning with most recent, Carson Wentz has touched up Washington for weekly fantasy finishes of QB11 > QB1 > QB5 > QB11 in their last four meetings, and his supporting cast has never been this loaded. Look for Wentz to put the Eagles up before Howard puts this game away.
This is your annual reminder that top Redskins CB Josh Norman does not shadow. Alshon Jeffery still drew Norman in coverage on 7-of-10 targets in last year’s two Washington-Philadelphia games but beat him six times out of seven for 62 yards and a score. Alshon is a bit touchdown reliant – he’s cleared 100 yards in just 2-of-34 games as an Eagle – but this offense is going to score a lot of TDs. … New Redskins SS Landon Collins has had Zach Ertz’s number over their last four meetings, holding Ertz to 50 scoreless yards on nine targets when matched up. That’s just an interesting tidbit, though. Ertz is at worst a top-five TE1 play whenever he suits up. The Skins’ surprising release of pass-coverage maven ILB Zach Brown could bite them here. … This will be DeSean Jackson’s eighth career “revenge game.” His previous seven stat lines when facing his former teams are 5/67/0 > 4/129/1 > 3/102/1 > 4/55/0 > 4/40/0 > 4/126/0 > 5/117/1. (That 4-of-7 hit rate of topping 100 yards ain’t bad.) Jackson suffered a broken left ring finger last week – raising his risk – but his story never changes. D-Jax is a big-play-dependent lid popper with a high ceiling and low floor. … Slot man Nelson Agholor finished below 60 yards in nine of Wentz’s 11 starts last season and hasn’t caught a touchdown pass from Wentz since December 3 of 2017. Agholor is a useful role player but lacks fantasy value in a deep pass-catcher corps. … Second-round rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside showed enough this preseason to earn Week 1 snaps, but he probably won’t get many as the Eagles’ No. 4 receiver. … Dallas Goedert may need an Ertz injury to become fantasy viable this season. Goedert missed most of training camp with a calf injury but is expected to play in Week 1.
Score Prediction: Eagles 30, Redskins 13