By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Transaction: The Washington Redskins sign WR Paul Richardson to a 5-year deal
2018 Fantasy Outlook: The Seattle Seahawks aren’t known for producing standout wide receivers. Their offense is ground focused and when the ball is in the air, it’s typically thrown in the direction of WR Doug Baldwin. Number two and three wide receivers don’t typically get a chance to shine there. Take Golden Tate for example. He was a former second round pick who, in four seasons with Seattle, never had a season with more than 64 catches or 1,000 yards receiving. Since leaving Seattle for Detroit, he’s never missed a game, never had fewer than 90 catches in a season, and has three 1,000 yard seasons.
No, this article isn’t about Golden Tate. I’m simply setting up my point. Paul Richardson, the Seahawks number two receiver last season and former second round pick himself, departs Seattle and joins the Redskins on a five year deal. In four years in Seattle, Richardson never topped 45 catches or 750 yards. Granted, he is a different type of player than Tate as Richardson has more speed and is a solid deep threat, but you see where I’m going with this.
Wide receivers who leave Seattle can flourish and Richardson may have found the perfect match with Washington. The Redskins now feature three intriguing options at WR with Richardson, 3rd year pro Josh Doctson, and slot man Jamison Crowder. New QB Alex Smith should have plenty of options on Sundays (and Thursdays and Mondays) this season. Richardson is the burner, averaging 16 yards per reception. Doctson is no slouch, averaging 14.3 himself. Crowder, from the slot, averages 12.3. With the season Alex Smith had in 2016, the assumption is these three should be in for very productive seasons. But the reality is they won’t all be fantasy stalwarts because, well, it’s the Redskins.
Smith loves the underneath routes. Tyreek Hill took plenty of passes at the line of scrimmage and turned them into 70 yard TD catches. The Redskins won’t be able to do that often. If Jordan Reed is healthy, he, RB Chris Thompson, and Doctson should be the top receiving options in this offense. The Redskins want to maximize Doctson’s potential and while this will be his third season, it’s effectively his second after missing his entire rookie year due to injury. But he has number one wide receiver potential. Which leaves Richardson and Crowder fighting for table scraps. I think Richardson can have a good year, but there’s just too many weapons for him to break through and have the kind of year he likely envisions after signing for $8 million a season. If Reed isn’t on the field, Richardson’s stock goes up, but I’d bet Crowder takes more of the targets. I would look to draft Richardson as depth, 45-55 range among WRs, but he’s the type of player that will bounce back and forth between lineups and the waiver wire. Don’t get your hopes up if he doesn’t break out. But don’t be surprised if he does either.