2014 Fantasy Projections for Redskins' Top Offensive Performers
With the draft finally out of the way, us fantasy football degenerates can now begin the grind through training camp, evaluating past seasons and projecting how players will perform in 2014.
Despite coming off an ugly 3-13 season just a year ago, the Redskins actually tote some pretty impressive fantasy football talent after a couple of new additions and a fresh coaching staff.
Here we take a look at the top offensive players for the Redskins and how they project fantasy wise in 2014.
All players are ranked in terms of overall fantasy output relative to their position, and scoring is based on points-per-reception (PPR) format. As usual, passing touchdowns are worth four points, whereas receiving and rushing are worth six.
Before mentioning the top options in Washington, here's three names that don't necessarily attract the spotlight. While they all won't carry much value in redrafts, deeper leagues and dynasty formats make them much more intriguing options.
There's no doubt Andre Roberts will get a fair run this season, but the receiver's stock certainly dropped following the Redskins signing DeSean Jackson.
Although Roberts may no longer be the Redskins' No. 2, he's a solid third option with good potential in the slot and the versatility to move outside. With all of the defense's attention focused on Jackson, Pierre Garcon and tight end Jordan Reed, things are bound to open up for Roberts in what should be an exciting offensive scheme.
This thing is growing on me. This whole idea that Lache Seastrunk, despite being drafted in the second to last round, is Jay Gruden's next basement project, as he attempts to a mold a natural athlete like Seastrunk, who brings incredible acceleration and agility, into the Giovani Bernard-like running back he had in Cincinnati last season.
Wishful thinking, I know. But Seastrunk's skill set in this offense, while complementing a style like that of Alfred Morris, provides plenty of intrigue for dynasty owners and leagues with 14 or more teams.
One last homer opinion on a fresh face in Washington, as receiver Ryan Grant has already impressed Jay Gruden in rookie minicamps.
"He plays like a 10-year veteran already," Gruden said, according to Rich Tandler of CSN Washington. "He’s very smooth. He understands route concepts. He understands depths and how important they are and how to set people up… Easy in and out of breaks, effortlessly."
With Garcon, Jackson and Roberts atop the receiving chart in Washington, it seems unlikely Grant will get much burn as a rookie. But there's no question Gruden enjoys passing the football, so don't count out subtle surprises late in the season.
Like Seastrunk, Grant is a stash item in dynasty leagues.
5. Alfred Morris
We'll start with Alfred Morris in the five-hole, simply because there's a modest chance we see a running back-by-committee approach due to Morris' shaky receiving skills out of the backfield. Because Jay Gruden loves to pass, having a legitimate threat to sneak out from behind the line not only gives the offense and quarterback another weapon, but it also puts more pressure on the opposing defense.
With more than 2,800 yards and 20 touchdowns in his first two seasons, Morris remains an RB1, and owners can rest assured he'll get his touches. But don't expect another 335 carries like we saw in Morris' rookie season. Or even the 276 carries we saw last year, for that matter. Between Roy Helu Jr., Chris Thompson and rookie Lache Seastrunk, Gruden has a few pass-catching backs who we'll see a little more of in Washington's new offense.
Projected Fantasy Stat Line: 260 carries, 1,196 yards, 9 touchdowns, 198.1 fantasy points
4. DeSean Jackson
Coming off a career year in 2013, DeSean Jackson dons new colors this year, with a new team, in a new scheme, with a new quarterback in a new city.
The excitement surrounding Jackson's arrival in Washington (unless you're an Eagles fan, probably) is warranted given the receiver's playmaking and home run ability. But tread cautiously with the belief that Jackson can build on last year's 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. With Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts and Jordan Reed helping to round out a solid receiving corps, Jackson isn't likely to see another 125 targets, according to Pro Football Focus, in 2014.
As a Redskins fan and dynasty owner, I'm hoping and expecting Jackson has a productive season. But coming off such a high a season ago—in addition to other (new) team specifics—there's room for decreased production (not to be confused with a decreased role, because Jackson will be a key weapon for the Redskins).
Projected Fantasy Stat Line: 68 catches, 957 yards, 7 touchdowns, 212.9 fantasy points
3. Jordan Reed
The fantasy equation between coach, situation and player adds up to make Jordan Reed a stellar fantasy option in 2014. The only drawback, however—and hence his ranking position here at No. 3—is Reed's reliability based on health.
Let's breakdown said equation.
While serving as offensive coordinator in Cincinnati, Jay Gruden not only liked to pass the football, but he especially liked getting his athletic tight end(s) involved. In his first two seasons, tight end Jermaine Gresham finished each season as the Bengals' second-leading receiver (56 and 64 catches, respectively), trailing only A.J. Green. And last summer, after drafting Tyler Eifert and adding him to the tight end mix, Gresham's reception total decreased, but the tight ends combined to rank second on the team in catches.
From a situational standpoint—with some leading back to the coach—the Redskins are going to throw the ball plenty in 2014. With Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts threatening from the wide receiver position, things naturally open up for Reed, who will generate an incredible number of mismatches.
And finally, from a player perspective, we all saw just how good Reed can be in only the nine games he played last season. Over those nine, Reed hauled in 45 catches for nearly 500 yards and three scores. He's a natural pass-catcher with superb athleticism and the ability to make things happen after the catch.
But last season's stat line is also the red flag for Reed, as he was only available for nine games on the season due to injury.
When it comes to the nuts and bolts of fantasy football, Reed is a top option. A fickle injury history after just one season in the league, yes—but if Reed's healthy, you can expect huge gains and a consistent performer at a key position.
Projected Fantasy Stat Line: 65 catches, 715 yards, 7 touchdowns, 178.5 fantasy points
2. Robert Griffin III
After mentioning three of the biggest weapons on the Redskins roster, the engine behind the machine is quarterback Robert Griffin III, allowing him to fit here at the No. 2 spot.
As much as we'd like to forget Griffin's miserable 13 games last season atop a bum knee and decked with poor mechanics, those throws happened, the three-win record was real and there's a ton at stake for the former Heisman Trophy winner entering his third NFL season.
Like the fantasy equation mentioned when discussing tight end Jordan Reed, Griffin fits a similar statement given his fresh start under head coach Jay Gruden. Taking a quarterback like Griffin, who totes a powerful arm, good leadership and elite athleticism, and combining that with the preferred volume and pace of Gruden helps to create a lucrative pairing for fantasy owners (read more about RG3's potential rebound here).
Projected Fantasy Stat Line: 3,926 total yards, 30 total touchdowns, 305.8 fantasy points
1. Pierre Garcon
Coming off a career year last season, Pierre Garcon is again expected to have another huge season in 2014.
Although he may not be the fastest receiver on the team, Garcon has reliable hands and he's a grinder after the catch. With guys like DeSean Jackson threatening deep, and Andre Roberts and Jordan Reed eating up the middle of the field, things are going to get easier for Garcon as he faces more and more single coverage.
Expect Garcon to remain Robert Griffin III's most trusted receiver, and the guy he looks to in tough spots, or when he's scrambling away from trouble in the pocket.
The one area where you'd like to see Garcon improve is in the red zone. More weapons in Washington certainly increase his chances, but it's still not an area I'd bank on.
Garcon is a reliable, consistent and perhaps undervalued WR1 option.
Projected Fantasy Stat Line: 90 catches, 1,280 yards, 5 touchdowns, 252 fantasy points