After a dismal 2011 in which the Redskins finished the season at 5-11, Mike Shanahan and company made huge strides in 2012 by finishing on a seven-game winning streak. Thus ending the year at 10-6 and winning the NFC East Division title. Their first title since 1999. Not only was it an excellent bounce-back year in terms of offensive output, but the Redskins also displayed several fantasy football options that owners should lookout for in 2013.
The obvious player to list first is Robert Griffin III, 2012’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. After being selected at No. 2 in the 2012 NFL Draft, Griffin surprised many by becoming a legitimate fantasy weapon in just his first season. Griffin amassed 4,044 total yards and 27 total touchdowns. While those numbers were surprising, it’s his 20:5 TD:INT ratio that is making him one of the top quarterbacks selected this summer. His current overall Average Draft Pick is 69.07, behind guys like Andrew Luck and Matt Ryan. That number should increase with the news that he is well ahead of his recovery from knee surgery. If Griffin shows that his knee is 100 percent once training camp begins, he will continue to be a top-10 QB1 with the upside of a top-5 quarterback due to his rushing ability (55.5 rushing yards a game).
As fantasy owners, we know how Mike Shanahan works in regards to running backs. And we hated him for it. 2012 finally showed us that Shanny will stick with one back as long as that particular player keeps mistakes to a minimum. Of course I’m talking about second-year running back Alfred Morris. Morris’ NFL stock dropped because he was considered slow (4.67 40 time) coming out of Florida Atlantic. But just like other players whose value dropped due to slow 40 times, Morris more than surpassed expectations by ranking second in both rushing yards (1606) and rushing touchdowns (13). What do I expect of him this year? It will be hard seeing him match his rushing yards. A rookie who puts up a huge outing in his first year rarely matches or exceeds those numbers in his sophomore season. However, 1300-1400 yards is easily attainable. It also helps that there is literally no one on the roster who will give Morris legitimate competition for snaps. Evan Royster? Roy Helu? I don’t think so. Look for Morris to be a big part of goal-line packages once again. Meaning double-digit touchdowns are a lock.
There is some downside to Morris. Mainly his lack of involvement in the passing game after catching only 11 passes last year. Morris’ value in PPR leagues is lower than usual (ADP-15.22) simply because he isn’t predicted to be a bigger part of the team’s passing game this season. That still shouldn’t deter owners from making him an RB1. Morris will make up for that missing piece with his rushing yards and scoring opportunities alone. Think of a younger Michael Turner. He’ll hover around a low-end RB1 to a high-end RB2, depending on your league’s scoring.
In regards to the Redskins’ receiving unit in terms of fantasy value, there is only one player I trust enough to list: Pierre Garcon. Tight end Fred Davis isn’t a lock to be 100% due to an Achilles’ injury, so that leaves Garcon as the only true receiver in this offense who can put up consistent fantasy numbers every week. After signing a huge contract with Washington last offseason, Garcon looked like a true No. 1 receiver after catching 4 passes for 109 yards and a score against the Saints. Unfortunately, it was an up-and-down season after that due to a torn ligament in his right foot. However, Garcon’s end to the 2012 regular season gave us a glimpse into his potential when healthy. Or at least healthy enough to play. Over the course of the last six games, Garcon notched 34 receptions, hit 80 yards or more in four of those games and scored three touchdowns. Garcon is going right around the 5th-6th round in fantasy leagues so far. His value is low because of that foot and the chance of a re-injury. If you drafted him any later in one of your early leagues, he could be an excellent value pick. His chemistry with RG3 will continue to develop, but he is one of the top high-risk/high-reward players in the fantasy world.
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With RG3’s rehab going better than expected, he’ll be a top-10 fantasy quarterback with the upside of a top- in 2013.
Alfred Morris won’t get many passing yards, dropping his value in PPR leagues. However, he is still worth a high pick because of his rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and no competition behind him.
Pierre Garcon is the only legitimate passing option with any real fantasy value due to Fred Davis’ rehab from an Achilles’ injury. Garcon could be an excellent value pick if his injured foot doesn’t cause him to miss games throughout the season.