How Bad Is Kirk Cousins?
At 1-5, the Redskins continue to flounder. With their only win coming against the 0-6 Jaguars, we have to ask the question, how bad are the Redskins? Sitting at 24th in our Power Rankings, we know that Washington is a bad team. Naturally, the next question is then directed at the quarterback, so, how bad is Kirk Cousins right now?
For those of you new to numberFire, we use a metric called NEP, or Net Expected Points, which is a defense-adjusted calculation of a player's impact on his team's ability to score points. For example, if Kirk Cousins completes a pass for 2 yards on a 3rd-and-1, he has extended the drive and helped the Redskins scoring chances; an incomplete pass would end the drive and hurt those chances. That is how we will evaluate Cousins in this article.
Cousins By the Metrics
If you have watched the Redskins this season, you know that Kirk Cousins moves the offense well at times.
On a yards -per-game basis, his 314.2 passing yards per game rank 3rd in the NFL. However, his league-leading eight interceptions have crippled the Redskins offense and changed the outcome of games in a hurry.
There is no doubt that game script, the natural flow of a given game, has a lot to do with Cousins' lack of success. The Redskins have consistently fallen behind in games and have been forced to throw almost exclusively in the second half.
In these situations, Cousins has made poor decisions and forced the ball into tight windows. As a result of being forced into a one-dimensional approach, Cousins has been inefficient. He currently ranks 17th in quarterback pass success rate, which measures the rate at which his drop backs result in positive NEP gains for his team, at 48.21%.
Another great indicator of how numberFire metrics are far more effective than simply looking at the box scores: The Redskins passing offense ranks 5th in the NFL with 296.5 yards per game. However, according to our per-play metrics and factoring in schedule strength, they rank just 18th. Their Adjusted Passing NEP per play is 0.09, indicating that they can expect to add 0.09 points on each drop back.
Right now, Cousins is smack in the middle of the pack according to our Passing NEP metric. Cousins has a Passing NEP of 22.57, which puts him 16th among all NFL quarterbacks. His 0.12 Passing NEP per drop back is also 16th among quarterbacks.
You could make the case that Cousins has performed at an admirable level for a backup quarterback, but the eight interceptions have really hindered the Redskins efforts.
For fantasy football purposes, Cousins may be able to provide owners value for one more week because he faces Tennessee this week. After that, it is time to look elsewhere for fantasy production.
Reports out of Washington indicate that RG3, will begin to take part in more strenuous activity this week and could practice with the team next week.
For fantasy owners, the clock is about to strike midnight on the Cousins experiment if Washington views Cousins as the average-at-best quarterback he is.
The hope in DC was that Cousins would play well and win games so that Robert Griffin III could take his time in returning from his dislocated ankle. That has just not been the case.
Cousins' erratic play at quarterback is going to force the Redskins to send him back to the bench as soon as Griffin can go. You will very likely have to do the same with him on your fantasy squads.