With seven games left, there is still time for teams to make a push for the postseason, but in fantasy football, that window is getting smaller with three weeks left before the playoffs in many leagues.
Like the Washington Football Team, NFL fans are adjusting their fantasy rosters to put themselves in position for a strong finish to the season. They're scrolling through fantasy analyses to find the move that will give them a big payoff on Sunday.
So, let's take a look at which Washington Football player fantasy owners should put in their lineup ahead of Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
(NOTE: All rankings are based on ESPN Standard scoring, which includes one point per reception.)
Start: QB Alex Smith
Quarterback Alex Smith has been Washington's starting quarterback for nearly two weeks, and so far that has meant good things for the offense.
In the past two games, Smith has completed 71% of his passes for 715 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. He recorded career-highs in attempts (55), completions (38) and yards (390) as well as had back-to-back 300-plus yard games for the firs time in his career. As a result, Washington has performed well above its yearly average with 402 yards against the New York Giants and 464 against the Detroit Lions.
"He does it exactly how we ask him to do it, and then he does it with decisiveness," quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese said of Smith. "Everything's thought out. Every look is thought out. When I'm going to this guy and why. When it happens on game day, it's natural, it's quick, it's decisive, and it goes to where we said it was supposed to go. You love that as a coach. The things that you talk about during the week happen on game day—that's a huge positive. It makes you want to give more and more."
Smith led the league in passing yards during that two-game stretch, but his production has not led to fantasy production. His three interceptions against the Giants led to just 11.0 fantasy points, and while he did not commit a turnover against the Lions, he did not throw a touchdown pass, either, and finished with 16.0 fantasy points.
Smith is rostered in 9.8% of leagues, but his fantasy value could continue to climb this week against a Bengals' defense that has scored four fantasy points all season.
The Bengals, who give up 265.1 yards per game, have allowed quarterbacks to earn at least 20 fantasy points five times this season, including three in the last four weeks. Baker Mayfield, who had 29.78 points in Week 7, and Ben Roethlisberger, who had 29.32 points, both had career-highs in fantasy performances against the Bengals in the past three weeks.
The Bengals have also struggled to force turnovers this season; while they do have eight interceptions, they are also tied for 22nd with a -3 turnover differential. They did not force a takeaway last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers -- the first time since Week 1 -- and only have three in the past month. The unit has allowed 31.0 points in the past three games, which ranks 28th, and given up a fourth-worst 30.4 points on the road.
What's more, the Bengals have only recorded 11 sacks this season. That should bode well for Smith as he faces a defense that has the third-worst explosive play rate, according to Sharp Football.