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Jordan Reed's Injury Limits Robert Griffin III's Fantasy Upside

Oct 20, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) celebrates with Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (86) after a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2013

As if a matchup against a stout San Francisco 49ers defense wasn't tough enough, quarterback Robert Griffin III will now be without his steadiest option, tight end Jordan Reed, for the contest.

And it's an absence that really limits RG3's fantasy upside.

First the injury, from Mike Jones of The Washington Post:

The Washington Redskins have ruled rookie tight end Jordan Reed out for Monday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Reed left last week’s game with a concussion and hadn’t been able to practice this week.

Reed’s absence creates an opportunity for Fred Davis, who has been inactive five straight games, and six total this season. Logan Paulsen is expected to start as he has much of the season. Reed had served as primary receiving tight end, however.

Reed has come on strong since Washington's Week 5 bye—he has scored nine or more fantasy points in three of his past six games—and has 45 receptions for 499 yards with three touchdowns on the season.

Nov 7, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (86) dives for a touchdown pass during the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

He's a far more dynamic weapon in the passing game than Logan Paulsen and has proven to be far more consistent and reliable than Fred Davis has in recent years. 

With Leonard Hankerson out for the season with a torn ACL, Griffin is now without two of his primary targets in the passing game for Monday Night Football. Not a good scene for Griffin owners.

The Niners were already a difficult matchup for RG3.

The team gives up just 12.4 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week in standard-scoring leagues, ranking sixth in the NFL coming into Week 12. They give up just 220 passing yards per game, eighth in the NFL, and have allowed opposing quarterbacks to score 15 or more fantasy points just three times this season.

Worse, possessions could be scarce for Washington's offense with their 18th-ranked rush defense unlikely to slow down San Francisco's fourth-ranked run offense. And the Washington secondary is so bad, it wouldn't be shocking if Colin Kaepernick had a breakout game. 

Add it all up and Griffin is going to have to throw quite a bit on Monday night, likely playing catch-up for much of the second half.

In turn, that will allow the Niners to ratchet up their pressure. Without a reliable security blanket like Reed, Griffin could find himself running around like a chicken with its head cut off. 

If this is a one-week injury, both Griffin and Reed should have a nice game next week when they face the New York Giants. But with no Reed and the matchup already brutal, don't be surprised if RG3 really struggles on Monday Night Football.


Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions, tweet random fantasy musings and propose theories for how Antonio Brown overcame Joe Haden's fantasy kryptonite

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