Jamison Crowder took a step back with his production in 2017, but there's reason for a bounce-back in 2018. The Redskins run game got itself into a quagmire following the season-ending injury to rookie Derrius Guice, opening the door for Washington to throw more than anticipated. New Washington quarterback Alex Smith has a long track record of playing it safe with the football, something that works out great for a slot receiver like Crowder. Already considered one of the league's best route-runners, Crowder is healthy following a year where he dealt with a nagging hamstring injury and could be in for his first season with over 110 targets. With a chance at landing over 800 yards and six touchdowns, Fantasy owners should view Crowder as a great bench receiver (if not a low-end No. 3 option). Expect his name to get called starting in Round 7 in PPR leagues and Round 8 in non-PPR formats.
Crowder (groin) didn't play in Thursday's preseason game against the Jets. Crowder was also held out for the first week of the preseason, but there's been nothing to suggest he's dealing with a long-term injury. Given that he has the least to prove among Washington's pass catchers, some missed time during training camp and the preseason isn't a huge concern. He's locked in as the slot man in three-receiver formations, with the potential to get playing time outside in two-wide sets.
Crowder will be held out of Thursday's preseason game in New England due to a groin injury, Kimberley A. Martin of The Washington Post reports. Crowder has been a modicum of health in three pro seasons, missing only one game (Week 9 in 2017) with a hamstring concern. Prior to Martin divulging that Crowder was tending to a groin issue, there had been no reason given for the upcoming DNP, so his health will be one to watch in the coming weeks. Aside from Jordan Reed (when healthy) and DeSean Jackson in 2016, Crowder was a consistent target for the departed Kirk Cousins since the wide receiver was drafted in the fourth round in 2015. To date, Crowder has ranged between 59 and 67 catches per campaign with a steady eight YPT and 12 touchdowns in 47 games.
Crowder won't play in Thursday's preseason opener against New England, John Keim of ESPN.com reports. With no injury reported so far in training camp, Crowder likely is just being held out to minimize the risk of injury while also allowing other wide receivers to get more playing time. He already has three full seasons of experience in coach Jay Gruden's scheme, without any competition for playing time in the slot. There is reason to question how much playing time Crowder will get in two-wide formations, after his snap share landed between 69 and 74 percent in each of his first three NFL campaigns.
Crowder and Alex Smith have shown a strong connection through five days of training camp, Jake Kring-Schreifels of Redskins.com reports. Smith was quick to praise Crowder after June minicamp, noting that the slot receiver makes things easy on his quarterback. The chemistry only seems to keep growing, with Crowder gobbling up a plethora of short and intermediate passes while TE Jordan Reed (toe) and RB Chris Thompson (leg) work their way back for major injuries. Heading into the final season of his rookie contract, Crowder is well positioned to lead the Redskins in targets and a good bet to improve on his career mark of 4.1 catches per game. In addition to manning the slot in three-wide formations, he should get some playing time outside in two-receiver sets.
Crowder has already made a strong impression on new quarterback Alex Smith, ESPN.com's John Keim reports. "[Crowder]'s so easy to read," Smith said. "Such great body control, body language. He sees defenses well and it's hardest to do that in between the hashes. You get so many looks and leverages and you have to handle all those things. He's decisive and he's so friendly. He's always coming back to the ball, always working for you." The 25-year-old slot receiver put up solid marks of 12.0 yards per catch and 7.6 yards per target in 2017, despite dealing with a nagging hamstring injury from the beginning of training camp through December. He's had a healthy offseason heading into the final year of his rookie contract, and he might actually enjoy the switch from Kirk Cousins to Smith, whose 102.8 passer rating on throws to slot receivers over the last five years ranks third in the NFL (min. 30 starts) over that period. With TE Jordan Reed (toe) and RB Chris Thompson (leg) subject to major durability concerns and WRs Paul Richardson and Josh Doctson seemingly best suited for modest-volume roles, Crowder is a clear favorite to lead Washington in targets this upcoming season.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/23||Green Bay Packers||32||24.13|
|5||10/09||@New Orleans Saints||20||20.00|
|8||10/28||@New York Giants||25||20.75|
|10||11/11||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||31||23.75|
|14||12/09||New York Giants||25||20.75|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||94||64||747||4||35||11.67||97|