Fantasy Football Projections for the Top Washington Redskins

Shae CroninCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2013

Fantasy Football Projections for the Top Washington Redskins

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    If it hasn't come and gone already, your fantasy football draft should be right around the corner.

    Whether you participate in a re-draft league or dynasty format, rankings and projections are part of your summer curriculum. Jot your notes, target your players, do your homework and leave your opponents trembling once they sneak a peek at your latest roster.

    Coming off a rather surprising 10-6 season and division title, the Washington Redskins posted impressive offensive numbers last year, including a scoring average of 27.2 points per game -- good for fourth-best in the NFL.

    Entering this season, the Redskins tote some attractive artillery for your fantasy roster. But you'll have to devise effectively. The firepower in Washington is no longer a secret.

    The following pages will breakdown the potential fantasy production at every relevant position, as well as key you in on players' average draft position and the differing analysis based on your league's specific format.

    *All evaluations based on PPR format

Quarterback

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    Not that you need me to tell you, but Robert Griffin III's production this season (and beyond) depends solely on the knee. You know, that one that crumpled to the dirt at the end of last season by way of a torched ACL?

    If Griffin jumps onto highlight reels as quickly as he did to start his rookie campaign last season, he's a fantasy stud in either format. His recovery and current rehab in just seven months since the injury has been remarkable, proving that perhaps he really is a freak of nature.

    In dynasty formats, Griffin has an average draft position of 5.43 amongst quarterbacks, and 34.33-overall according to Dynasty League Football.

    Meanwhile, ESPN ranks Griffin ninth-overall amongst his position in re-draft leagues and 58th-overall.

    Regardless of the player, there's much more risk in a dynasty league than a re-draft. But if you trust Griffin's recovery and durability moving forward, he's a prime signal-caller in dynasty and keeper formats.

    Even if Mike Shanahan tones him down a bit as a runner, Griffin's 815 rushing yards and seven scores as a rookie are intriguing. There's a lot of wiggle room in those numbers, still allowing for decent production on the ground.

    While Fantasy Pros projects Griffin to score somewhere near 280 points this season, I'd be willing to go a bit further.

    An unforeseen injury would obviously make me an idiot, but I like Griffin for more than 300 points in 2013.

     

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    It may seem a bit premature at this point, but backup Kirk Cousins has potential if you have room on your dynasty roster to draft and store. Especially if your league allows practice squads.

    Although Cousins has a chance to see time in Washington by way of spot starts, his real value is a bit further down the road if your gut tells you the Redskins would trade him in a year or so to a team that wants to make Captain Kirk their starter.

Running Back

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    Alfred Morris burst onto the scene last season as a rookie, rushing for 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns on his way to a top-five fantasy points finish amongst running backs.

    There's a lot to like about Morris heading into 2013. In addition to being just 24 years old, Morris is a bruising downhill runner who shines in Washington's system and appears to be one of the more durable backs in the game.

    His downfall, however, is his versatility. Or lack thereof.

    Despite hauling in 68 percent of his targets last year, Morris only saw 16 total. He's not a guy the Redskins like to throw to out of the backfield. And in that regard, guys like Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy or C.J. Spiller—who could fall in the range of where Morris is picked—hold more value in PPR formats.

    Dynasty League Football lists Morris at 22 in overall average draft position, placing him behind nearly every elite and top-tier wide receiver, about nine other running backs and more than likely Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.

    But that's not to write Morris off. Expect a lighter workload than the 335 carries we saw last season, but don't be surprised if you see 1,400+ yards and a dozen touchdowns.

     

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    As a rookie in 2011, Roy Helu Jr. led the Redskins in rushing with 640 yards, adding another 379 receiving yards on 49 catches. 

    Helu Jr. missed most of last season with lower leg injuries (toe, Achilles) and went through a tough rehab. If he can return full-speed and regain his explosiveness, Helu Jr. should be the favorite for third-down duties. 

    Dynasty League Football currently has Helu Jr. ranked 75th-overall amongst running backs. 

Tight End

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    The Redskins enter the season with a nice young stable of tight ends on the roster, assuming they retain four players at the position. 

    But Fred Davis is your best (and perhaps only) fantasy option. 

    Although an Achilles tear last year forced him to miss much of the year, Davis is expected to start Week 1 and he has the versatility to move about the line and create mismatches. 

    In addition to talent, Davis (27) is playing on a one-year deal in Washington—putting himself on stage to prove his talent and earn his next paycheck. This can be a great thing for fantasy owners. 

    Due to the amount of suitable tight ends in the NFL, Davis isn't worth nearly as much in re-draft leagues as he is in dynasty formats. Owners willing to draft him this season should have plans of using him in the future and taking advantage of his next gig, wherever it may be.

    If he doesn't work out, chalk it up as a miss. If he does, you come out with a valuable late-round find. 

    Davis' average draft position is 17.57 amongst tight ends and 166.17-overall, according to Dynasty League Football

     

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    If you're a dynasty league player, rookie Jordan Reed is probably the most intriguing tight end on the Redskins roster. 

    The Redskins selected Reed in the third round of last April's draft, to the surprise of most. The team didn't necessarily need a tight end, but the selection came with good value. 

    Reed is a natural pass-catcher, an incredible athlete and a game-breaking type of player. His skill set allows for offense coordinators to get even more creative, lining Reed up in different spots and finding ways to get him the ball.

    No one knows what happens with Davis after the 2013 season. Perhaps he doesn't make it through a season maintaining good health? Maybe the Redskins don't think he's worth the money following the end of the season? 

    In any such case, Jordan Reed is your new pass-catching tight end. 

    At the end of the draft, when some guys might get a little lazy, take a shot on Reed and put him on the bench. 

    You may be playing him sooner than you thought. 

Wide Receiver

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    Regardless of format, the only true fantasy threat by way of Redskins receivers is Pierre Garcon.

    After signing him as a top-tier free agent last summer, Garcon proved to be a difference-maker for the offense, leading the team in receiving yards despite missing six games due to injury.

    Garcon enters this season healed and cleared to practice. He presents the most consistent downfield threat for Robert Griffin III, and he's dangerous with the ball in his hands (YACability we like to call it).

    Garcon is currently about the 23rd receiver taken amongst dynasty leagues, according to Dynasty League Football. And in re-drafts, ESPN has him going 27th amongst his position based on 10-team leagues.

    Drafting Garcon does come with some injury risk, but his connection with RG3 is something serious. At just 26 years old, that QB/WR combo has plenty of fuel left in the tank.

    Given he plays a full 16-game season, I like Garcon to put up career-highs in both receiving yards (proj. 1,150) and touchdowns (proj. 8+) in 2013.  

     

    Pay Attention

    If you're looking for receivers of the future, Leonard Hankerson will be a name to watch.

    Entering his third NFL season, the 24-year-old Hankerson should be putting things together and showcasing what Redskins fans have to look forward to. He has the size (6'2) and the speed, but Hankerson needs to develop his focus and consistency.

    His current ADP in dynasty leagues is 75th amongst receivers.

    And if you're in a re-draft league and looking for one-year production, Joshua Morgan and Santana Moss should both be available in the later rounds (79 and 59 amongst receivers, respectively, according to ESPN). 

    Don't expect Moss to see the same number of targets from a year ago (41 catches), assuming Garcon stays on the field, but he has the potential to net you some yards as arguably the most reliable set of hands on the team.

    Morgan, on the other hand, will likely be the Redskins slot man, entering his second year with the team and coming off a season in which he pulled in 48 balls for 510 yards and two scores.  

Defense

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    At one point last season, the Redskins were so lopsided that it seemed more beneficial to forget about punting and allowing the offense to stay on the field for every fourth down.

    While the offense was that good, the defense was that bad.

    The defense eventually turned the corner midway through the season, thanks in large part to Jim Haslett (a guy who I bashed up until Christmas). And according to FF Today, the Washington defense finished the season middle-of-the-road with 88 fantasy points.

    While I do expect the Redskins defense to be improved, I don't think that necessarily translates to the fantasy game.

    Assuming you have 14 teams or fewer in your league, the ultimate question is whether or not you think the Redskins are a top-15 defense.

    Are they better than Chicago, Denver, New England, Baltimore, Seattle and a handful of others when it comes to generating fantasy points?

    If the answer is no, then the Redskins defense is nothing more than a spot-start at the bye week.

     

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    If you're fantasy football crazy and participate in IDP (individual defensive player) leagues, I'd keep an eye on pass-rushers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan.

    Orakpo is entering the final year of his contract, and while a long-term deal seems imminent, the 27-year-old linebacker has something to prove in terms of durability and potentially elite production.

    Meanwhile, Kerrigan benefits from a healthy Orakpo, making his 8.5 sacks from last season look like a stepping stone to double-digit totals.  

Kicker

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    Despite being the most accurate field goal kicker in the league last season, Kai Forbath finished near the bottom in terms of fantasy production at his position.

    But with good reason.

    For starters, Forbath only played in 11 games. He was added to the Redskins roster after the team realized that Billy Cundiff was Billy Cundiff.

    Second, Forbath finished the year with just 18 attempts -- the lowest number for any kicker with at least 11 starts.

    Not only did he not see a full set of games, but Forbath was also kicking on a team whose offense was high-powered and accustomed to scoring touchdowns. Hence the 34 PAT attempts in just 11 outings.

    This season, look for better output from Forbath. He earned the trust of coaches last year, demonstrated his strong foot and should see a few more long-range field goal attempts this season.

     

    Pay Attention

    Don't sweat drafting a kicker. Ever.