The 2013 NFL season is already hurtling toward Week 7, raising the stakes not only for all 32 teams but also for fantasy football owners, whose outlook for the year is becoming easier to determine.
Some players are dependable on a weekly basis, but there have certainly been fantasy disappointments abound. But in looking at this week's slate of games and projecting the top stars, there is one name in particular who some may be surprised to see listed at the top of his position.
His name is Robert Griffin III, quarterback of the Washington Redskins, and all the pieces are in place for him to be Week 7's top fantasy option under center.
Read on to find out why Griffin's outlook seems so promising, along with the other top players at each offensive position, followed by a list of rankings at the end.
Quarterback: Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
When will Griffin truly emulate the star he was as a rookie?
This is the time for the RGIII of 2012 to resurface—or to at least resemble what took the NFL by storm last season.
Washington faces the Chicago Bears at home this week, whose defense is ranked 23rd versus the pass this season.
Much of Griffin's inflated passing numbers this season have come in garbage time, but without much more room to turn the 2013 campaign around, this will be the sophomore coming-out party of sorts for last year's No. 2 overall pick.
Griffin still doesn't look quite the same running the ball, yet he's still healthy enough to move faster than just about any quarterback in the league.
In Week 6, he carried the ball nine times for 77 yards, including a 26-yard burst that suggests his knee is responding better. The trick now will be for him to get his sea legs back under him in the pocket, where he completed just 19-of-39 passes against a favorable matchup in the Dallas Cowboys' secondary last week.
One positive from Robert Griffin III last night: Seems to be running with some of that aggressiveness again. Accuracy wasn't there, though.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 14, 2013
Look for a statement game from Griffin to vault his team back into the NFC East picture, where Washington can still be well within reach of defending its title with a win on Sunday.
Projected numbers: 22-of-35, 310 yards passing, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 8 carries, 50 yards, TD
Running Back: LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
After a surprising slowdown against the winless New York Giants (2.3 yards per carry) two weeks ago, McCoy got back on track in Week 6, as he ran for 116 yards on 25 carries in a 31-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The uncertain quarterback situation in Philadelphia at the moment makes it difficult to endorse either Michael Vick or Nick Foles from a fantasy standpoint, but McCoy should be counted on this coming Sunday.
. @Eagles RB LeSean McCoy leads the NFL with 630 Rush yards, MOST through 6 games in team history.— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 15, 2013
Although the NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys have been far more vulnerable against the pass than the run, they haven't faced an up-tempo, rush-heavy attack quite like the one the Eagles deploy.
Philadelphia should be giving Dallas a potent dose of the real, electric McCoy, who is also a great receiver and a nightmare for defenders in the open field.
Considering that the Cowboys don't have good linebackers to drop into coverage, the stage is set even more favorably for McCoy to go off for a monster game.
Projected numbers: 22 carries, 150 yards, 2 TDs; 6 receptions, 50 yards, TD
Wide Receiver: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Discounting Green at this point is silly, despite the fact that he has a liability at quarterback in Andy Dalton.
All Dalton can do consistently is chuck it up to Green and hope for the best. Thankfully for him and the AFC North-leading Bengals, that strategy works out pretty well since Green is such a special player.
Green is on pace for an outrageous 187 targets this season, per ESPN.com—a number he might even exceed with the way Dalton relies on him.
As amazing as Green's ball skills and route-running are, he showed off unique field vision in ripping off a 55-yard gain off a screen play against the Buffalo Bills in Week 6.
And AJ Green takes a screen for 55 yards to get the Bengals deep into Bills territory.— The MMQB (@theMMQB) October 13, 2013
He also made this TD grab:
Here's to wishing the Detroit Lions' super suspect secondary the best of luck in trying to stop Green in Week 7 on the fast track of Ford Field.
Projected numbers: 11 receptions, 145 yards, TD
Tight End: Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta's other star wide receiver, Roddy White, has been banged up as well, though he's never missed a game in his NFL career. However, how effective will White be moving forward as he plays through pain?
That leaves a rare scarcity of playmakers for the Falcons in terms of skill positions—save for the ageless wonder Gonzalez, who was hoping to come back for a Super Bowl push. Instead, the team is 1-4 and staring a disappointing season in the face.
Falcons' Tony Gonzalez: "What are we going to do? Feel sorry for ourselves? I'm not throwing my hands up and saying the season is over."— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) October 8, 2013
It's up to the future Hall of Famer to pick up the slack in Jones' absence and to succeed in spite of being the main focus of the opposing defense.
The Falcons haven't been able to run the ball with consistency all year, making Gonzalez all the more valuable to fantasy owners in a home game against a winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad in Week 7.
Projected numbers: 10 receptions, 110 yards, 2 TDs
|Rank||Quarterback||Running Back||Wide Receiver||Tight End|
|1||Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins||LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles||A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals||Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons|
|2||Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos||Arian Foster, Houston Texans||Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears||Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers|
|3||Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers||Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions||Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts||Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns|
|4||Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers||Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings||Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers||Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys|
|5||Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons||Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs||Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins||Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins|
Rankings are personal opinion