INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The Washington Redskins were truly an enigma last year. They were a squad who lacked star power on offense and had a quarterback situation in flux and a backfield that was a crowded mess.The Redskins believe they’ve cleared up the quarterback situation by drafting Robert Griffin III in the April draft, but their RB situation remains muddled to say the least. Last year their entire team rushed for only eight TDs and barely averaged 100 yards per game. It was good for the 25th best rushing attack. Whether this situation is better or not remains to be seen, and anyone who’s followed fantasy football long enough knows that head coach Mike Shanahan is generally a fantasy RB killer. So questions remain within the Beltway and for your fantasy squad as far as the running game goes.
The Redskins will benefit from one of the easier schedules in the NFL. Their combined opponents have a .488 winning percentage from last year and they were presented with the 24th ranked schedule this year. The Redskins don’t play any of their NFC East foes until after their bye in Week 10, so enjoy a nice early season ride with them.
The Redskins traded up in April’s draft to acquire what they believe to be is their quarterback of the future in Robert Griffin III. Drafting an NFL quarterback and starting him in the first year is always a crap shoot, RG3 will undoubtedly have some growing pains. But many thought the same about Cam Newton last year, and RG3 has a lot of similarities to Newton. I would not count on Griffin to be a QB1 this year, but in dynasty/keeper leagues he has tremendous upside. His ceiling and long term value as a potential stud are very high. This year, keep your expectations low, draft him as a QB2 and hope to catch lightning in a bottle, like Newton owners did last year.
Tim Hightower came in as a big free agent signing last year. Many fantasy owners drafted him as their RB2 and lived to regret that decision. Make sure you learn from history and avoid Hightower, regardless of the round. He is not a viable fantasy running back and Shanahan’s presence only compounds that more.
Provided he can give up his recreational activities that seem to land him on the failed drug test list, Fred Davis can be a super sleeper for the Redskins and for your fantasy squad. In a 12-team league, he’s a starting tight end. And in all leagues, he’s worthy of being drafted and can be counted on for 3-5 catches per game and about 6-7 TDs. The weapons that were added only increase Davis’ value further.
Pierre Garcon was one of the big offseason free agent signings for the Redskins. And it was a nice addition to the team. He can line up opposite Santana Moss and give the Redskins a real weapon for RG3 to throw to. Last season Garcon caught 70 passes for 947 yards and 6 TDs with an awful quarterback throwing to him in Indy. He and RG3 have established a clear repoire already and look for Garcon to improve upon last year’s stats, gaining 1,000 yards and maybe even increasing his number of touchdowns.
I want to state it again, and put it in all caps for emphasis: MIKE SHANAHAN HATES FANTASY FOOTBALL OWNERS. Case in point, the mess that is the Redskins backfield. It already showed in preseason, where Roy Helu came in as the expected starter. Helu has been dinged up and as such Shanahan gave some touches to Evan Royster, another one of his darlings from last year. Then, out of nowhere comes Alfred Morris, the late-round rookie, who’s climbing up draft boards after an impressive preseason performance. The fact is, depth chart means nothing in Washington. Starting means nothing under Shanahan. Fantasy owners are advised to steer clear of any of these RBs. If you must draft some, don’t count on them as anything more than RB3 or bye-week fill ins. Helu has the most upside of the bunch followed by Morris and then Royster. Personally, I’m going to pass on Redskin running backs and let my competition inherit that headache.
Santana Moss will likely slip far down your draft board. You’ll be into the middle rounds and likely ask, hey, is Santana Moss still there? And the answer will be yes. Take that moment to enjoy grabbing someone like Moss. No longer a WR1 or even a WR2, Moss is a great option for your bench. RG3 will look to his clean route running and veteran savvy to help him. I expect some improvement over Moss’ pedestrian numbers last year. Somewhere in the ballpark of 600 yards and about 6 TDs makes Moss a nice bench holder for your squad.
Fantasy Football, NFL