Being able to play in the first 16-game season of his career, Kirk Cousins put together several solid Fantasy Football performances in 2015.
For 2016, there is no question that Cousins will be the starter. RG3 found a home with the Cleveland Browns, so Cousins will only lose his starting role through injury or a complete meltdown.
In standard leagues last season, Cousins finished with just three fewer points than Aaron Rodgers.
But right now, Cousins is a 10th-round pick. Does that mean he is undervalued for 2016 Fantasy Football leagues, or is Cousins being drafted where he deserves to be drafted?
Let’s take a look at his 2015 season before we make any decisions.
2015 Fantasy Football Review: Kirk Cousins
Last season, Cousins completed 379 out of 543 passing attempts, recorded 4,166 passing yards, and he threw 29 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.
I was also impressed that the 27-year old quarterback had seven performances with 300 or more passing yards.
Cousins also threw four touchdowns in three separate games, and he threw three touchdown passes in Week 7 and Week 17.
But when you look at those performances, it’s not as impressive as it first sounds…
Here are the weeks in which Cousins threw four touchdown passes:
Week 10: Opponent- New Orleans Saints
Week 15: Opponent- Buffalo Bills
Week 16: Opponent- Philadelphia Eagles
Last season, the defense for the Saints allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. The defense for the Eagles allowed the second-most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
The Bills were a little tougher against quarterbacks, but the defense still allowed the 16th-most Fantasy points to opposing signal callers.
Against tougher opponents like the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets, Cousins didn’t fair as well. The defense for the Jets allowed the 20th-most Fantasy points to quarterbacks last season, and these were Cousins’ stats:
Week 6: 25/43, 196 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions
Things didn’t get much better in Week 11 against the Panthers:
Week 11: 22/30, 207 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception
Also consider the fact that he plays the Eagles and the New York Giants twice a year, and each of those defenses finished in the top three for most Fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks in 2015. And two of his seven 300-yard performances were against the Giants.
There’s no denying Cousins had big games and was a Fantasy asset at certain parts of the season, but it also appears he stepped up the most against weaker opponents.
Kirk Cousins 2016 Fantasy Football Weapons
DeSean Jackson was only able to play in nine games last season, but he showed a nice rapport with Cousins in the games he was able to play in.
Jackson finished the 2015 season with 30 receptions, 528 receiving yards, and four touchdown receptions. Jackson’s injury history may scare people away, but he has played in 14 or more games in six out of eight seasons.
He’s not the greatest player to own in PPR formats because he can score a touchdown every time he touches the ball, but he’s a steal right now as an eighth-round pick.
Pierre Garcon only had a few relevant moments for his Fantasy owners last season, but Cousins does benefit from having him in the lineup.
A lot of Fantasy players will focus on rookie Josh Doctson this year, as he was a first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Doctson receives lavish praise for his mix of size and athleticism, but he’s already having to miss time because of a foot injury.
#Redskins head coach Jay Gruden says Josh Doctson “hurt his foot” Tuesday. X-rays came back negative. Doctson sits at least this week.
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) June 1, 2016
The player I would take a flier on, though, is Jamison Crowder. Now, keep in mind that Crowder won’t have much value if Jackson and Garcon are healthy. But unlike Doctson, Crowder already has a year of experience working with Cousins. The 22-year old receiver came up big in Week 17, hauling in five passes for 109 receiving yards and a touchdown reception.
Cousins will continue to target tight end Jordan Reed heavily in 2016 as long as he is one the field. Last season, Reed set personal bests in games played, receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns receptions.
Kirk Cousins 2016 Fantasy Football Outlook
Cousins has the seventh-easiest Fantasy schedule this season, which will mean he will have a few big performances in 2016 like he did in 2015.
For season long leagues, Cousins will be a strong streaming option in certain weeks. But, I wouldn’t want to rely on him as my weekly starter.
If Reed goes down with an injury, Cousins may be in for a long season. If Jackson and Reed go down, I’m not sure how he will make it through the 2016 season. Washington also has to worry about running back Matt Jones carrying the majority of the workload this year, and whether or not he is up to the task. If Jones underperforms, the offense may only have one dimension.
I think Fantasy players are hesitant to fully trust Cousins right now, and I don’t blame them. Where I do think Cousins is a good play, however, is in a MFL10 lineup. In those types of leagues, you don’t have to guess when he will have a big game.