QB Robert Griffin III
(2012 QB Rank – #9, 24.4 FPts/G)
Sometimes trades work out for both teams. Washington head coach Mike Shanahan moved heaven and earth (okay, not quite, but three first-round picks and a second is close) in order to move up in last year’s draft to select Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, and Redskins fans weren’t disappointed with the move. Not even after he tore his ACL in the Redskins playoff loss to the Seahawks. In RGIII, the Redskins have one of the game’s most exciting players. As a passer, he hits his receivers in stride so they can rack up yards after the catch, he has a strong arm and can throw the deep ball, his pocket presence and mobility allows him to sidestep oncoming rushers, and he is adept on rollouts and when forced out of the pocket. His ability to run the ball also stresses defenses, freeing up space for the team’s running backs. Then there’s the downside. RGIII is as close to superhuman as they come, and he’s just too young to know how valuable he is to the team. His willingness to learn when to be smart instead of going all out on every play is what will determine his longevity in the league. Is he ready to throttle it down a bit in 2013? It seems doubtful, but if he can and if he is ready on opening day (not a long shot by any means), he seems likely to improve on a rookie season in which he threw for 3,200 yards with 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions while completing 65.6 percent of his passes and running for 815 yards and seven touchdowns. If you’re willing to accept the risk and get a solid backup QB, RGIII is your man. If not, let somebody else grab him. And as we all know, there is usually one owner in every league that loves the players getting hyped. RGIII is certainly one of those players.
QB Kirk Cousins
(2012 QB Rank – #39, 13.8 FPts/G)
When RGIII is the man in front of you, you need to keep your helmet by your side. Cousins, a fourth-round pick in last year’s draft, got into four games last season and was impressive, completing 33 of 48 passes for 466 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. If you need a bye-week fill-in and Cousins is on the wire with a decent matchup, he just might help win you a game.
RB Alfred Morris
(2012 RB Rank – #5, 15.4 FPts/G; #7 PPR, 16.1 FPts/G)
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan worked his running back in 2012, turning rookie sixth-round pick Alfred Morris into the league’s second-ranked rusher, with 1,613 yards on the ground. The Florida Atlantic product propelled himself into a workhorse role in the Redskins backfield with 335 rushes, 13 of which resulted in touchdowns. Morris was good at taking what the defense gave him, with a propensity for running over defenders when necessary but displaying decent agility as well. While Morris has only a couple of holes in his game (pass blocking, receiving and a lack of blazing speed), questions remain as to how much he benefitted from playing alongside Robert Griffin III at quarterback. While it is easy to remain skeptical of Morris’s ability to once again top 1,600 yards, it is difficult to dismiss him as a one-year wonder. Consider him a mid-tier RB1 and a player you just might get as a bargain on draft day.
RB Roy Helu
(2012 RB Rank – #130, 1.6 FPts/G; #124 PPR, 3.9 FPts/G)
After showing some promise as a rookie fourth-round pick in 2011, Helu suffered a turf toe injury that landed him on injured reserve early in the 2012 season. At 5”11” and 216 pounds with solid speed and the ability to make tacklers miss, Helu has the potential to bring some playmaking ability to the Redskins backfield, but he hasn’t been able to shake the injury bug since college. Talent and upside don’t matter if you can’t stay healthy. With Alfred Morris entrenched as the team’s starting running back, Helu will need to beat out Evan Royster and rookie fifth-round pick Chris Thompson to earn a backup role. Provided he can stay healthy, we expect Helu will earn that role. And if that happens, Morris owners should grab him as a late-round handcuff.
RB Evan Royster
(2012 RB Rank – #81, 2.1 FPts/G; #73 PPR, 3.1 FPts/G)
Truth be told, Royster just hasn’t impressed during his two-year stay in the Washington backfield. Not fast, not shifty, not overly powerful, he does everything just well enough to stick around on an NFL roster. Sure, he averaged 5.9 yards per carry as a rookie in 2011, but that was smoke and mirrors since a lot of that production came during the final two weeks of the season against an Eagles defense that couldn’t stop the run and a Vikings defense that had already lain down to die. He averaged just 3.8 yards per carry in limited action last season and rates as one of the league’s worst backup running backs. He will need to beat out Roy Helu and rookie fifth-round pick Chris Thompson to retain that role, but we would be surprised if that happens.
WR Pierre Garcon
(2012 WR Rank – #53, 8.9 FPts/G; #55 PPR, 13.4 FPts/G)
I just love guys that make me look bad. Guess that means I love Garcon. After panning the former Colt and dismissing his ability to establish himself as anything more than a low-end WR3, mostly based on a reception-to-target rate of just 54.0 during his first three years in the league, Garcon was actually surprisingly good in 2012 despite having to play through a foot injury. He established a solid connection with Robert Griffin III, hauling in 44 of his 67 targets (ahem, 65.7%, grrrr) for 633 yards and four touchdowns. Had injuries not held him back, it is safe to say he would have topped 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career. RGIII’s injury issues might be a cause for concern but it’s worth noting that Garcon was targeted 12 times during Kirk Cousin’s only start of last season. Garcon has plenty of talent and it looks like the light has turned on. Now if only he can make the foot injury a thing of the past. Consider him a solid, mid-tier WR2 with major upside.
WR Josh Morgan
(2012 WR Rank – #69, 4.1 FPts/G; #64 PPR, 7.1 FPts/G)
I’m not a believer in Josh Morgan, folks. While Morgan is valuable to the Redskins because of his solid size and blocking ability, coupled with a willingness to make tough catches in traffic, he has virtually no upside for fantasy purposes. Sure, he has somehow managed to average a very respectable 12.7 yards per reception over his five-year career, but the Redskins kept a leash on him last season, as he managed just 510 yards on 48 receptions with a pair of scores. Go for someone with more upside than Morgan has to offer.
WR Santana Moss
(2012 WR Rank – #41, 6.7 FPts/G; #48 PPR, 9.2 FPts/G)
It seems like the 34-year old Moss is the receiver the Redskins just can’t make go away. Of course, when the young bucks fail to step up, it’s hard to put the old ones out to graze. Moss averaged a very respectable 6.6 PPG last season; but don’t be fooled by that, as he caught a whopping eight touchdown passes, the third most of his 12-year career. With 41 receptions on the season, that works out to one touchdown for every five receptions, a ratio that isn’t sustainable. Don’t chase the touchdowns, folks, and that means passing on the declining Moss in 2013.
WR Leonard Hankerson
(2012 WR Rank – #63, 4.9 FPts/G; #67 PPR, 7.4 FPts/G)
After sitting out the opening week of the season, Hankerson put together three solid performances, gaining 181 yards and scoring a touchdown. Then he got mothballed, popping up a few times over the course of the season on his way to 38 receptions, 543 yards, and three touchdowns. The Redskins’ 2011 third-round pick has solid size at 6’2”, 205 pounds as well as decent speed, but inconsistency has been the hallmark of his career. While only the marginally talented Josh Morgan sits in front of him on the depth chart, it is also worth noting that the Redskins enter training camp with a deep group of wide receivers that includes older speedsters Devery Henderson and Donte Stallworth. Hankerson could break out in his third season or he could find himself on the street. Monitor his preseason and adjust accordingly.
These three players all possess outstanding speed but they are one-trick ponies, especially Henderson and Stallworth, a pair of aging veterans hanging around for one last shot. The diminutive Robinson was a big play waiting to happen in 2012 but just wasn’t given that many opportunities. With a crowded depth chart, we can safely conclude that it is best to avoid these three speedsters.
TE Fred Davis
(2012 TE Rank – #44, 4.7 FPts/G; #41 PPR, 8.1 FPts/G)
Davis averaged 54 receiving yards per game over the first six weeks of last season before suffering an Achilles injury that landed him on injured reserve. The fantasy world seems to be down on his prospects for 2013 due to the injury and his subpar 4.6 PPG average from last season, but there is a decent chance he could play a big role in the Redskins passing offense this year. Retained as a franchise player, head coach Mike Shanahan is clearly enamored of Davis’s potential, if not his maturity. It takes all of a couple of pass patterns to see that Davis is a talented player whose speed makes him dangerous up the seam and whose size shields defenders from making plays on the ball. He failed to find the end zone last season, hence his low PPG total, but he offers intriguing potential in a Redskins offense that features just one consistent playmaker at receiver outside of the aging Santana Moss. With the fantasy love for Davis in decline, you can grab him cheaply, and that’s a low-cost gamble that could pay off big.