As Redskins’ GM Scot McCloughan said in a recent interview about Kirk Cousins‘ break out season this year, “I saw a good football player.” A fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft from Michigan State University, Cousins spent most of his first three seasons serving as a back up to Heisman trophy award-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III, who was taken second overall in the same draft class. In 2015, Cousins formally usurped Griffin to become Washington’s full-time starting quarterback. Now entrenched as Washington’s starter at 27-years old, Cousins is angling for a mega-contract extension. Cousins is going to get paid, because both his counting statistics and advanced metrics demonstrates that he deserves to be designated as the team’s franchise quarterback and highest-paid player.
Kirk Cousins posted uneven performances in spot starts over his first couple seasons before providing a window into his ceiling as a starting NFL quarterback when he posted 8.4 (No. 2) yards per attempt in six games as a starter. During his six-game audition, Cousins demonstrated NFL starter-caliber efficiency in all quadrants of the football field evidenced by a 60-percent (No. 10) red zone completion percentage and a 46.2-percent (No. 10) deep ball completion percentage.
Washington conducted a genuine internal quarterback competition during the following offseason, and Kirk Cousins outright won the job. In his first season as the anointed starting QB, Cousins broke Washington’s single-season passing yards record finishing the season with 4166-yards, 29-touchdowns, and 11-interceptions all-the-while leading the NFL in completion percentage (69.8-percent). Pretty impressive, right? Especially after his emotional-yet-charming “you like that?” outburst, Cousins’ fantasy football stock must be skyrocketing, right?
Not so fast. The NFL’s most improved offensive player of the year continues to have more doubters than supporter in the fantasy community.
Beyond capturing the title of most accurate quarterback in the NFL, Kirk Cousins also ranking in the top-10 for every passing efficiency metric on PlayerProfiler.com. Most impressively, Cousins shredded the NFL secondaries in 2015 despite an offensive line that ranked second-to-last in the NFL in blocking efficiency.
Kirk Cousins should have removed any doubt that he is simply a “game manager” when the running game completely disappeared after week 4. With the offensive production sitting squarely on Cousins’ over-sized should pads, he propelled Washington to a top-10 scoring offense last season. Following up his 2014 success, Cousins successful threw the ball downfield in 2015 ranking No. 11 in deep ball completion percentage and No. 9 in total air yards. He also got creative in the red zone supplementing Washington’s underwhelming rushing attack by rushing for 5 touchdowns, placing him behind only Cam Newton and Tyrod Taylor in NFL rushing touchdowns.
Kirk Cousins muted support in the fantasy community may be traced back to his mid-round draft position, inconsistent college tape, slender frame, and/or his douchy face. Because Cousins does not fit the prototypical star-quarterback archetype, most fantasy owners remain apathetic about him in dynasty. This is great news for those value productivity and efficiency over narratives. Cousins is currently a strong buy across fantasy formats. Given the persistent negative bias clouding his perception, he should remain attainable at a discount throughout the 2016 offseason.