COMMENTARY | It's that time of year again. Players have reported to camp, pigskin is flying, draft picks are getting their first taste of NFL life, and fans can barely contain their excitement.
That's right, it's almost fantasy football season.
For fantasy football owners, the only thing more exciting than watching Robert Griffin III get back on the football field is hearing Pierre Garcon boast that this offense could be "the best offense ever."
Here is a look at the Washington Redskins' fantasy prospects for all you budding general managers out there:
Griffin is obviously one of the most dynamic talents in the league, but his health is still a question mark. As good as he looks in camp and as "superhuman" as he has seemed in his recovery, Griffin was unable to finish three games in his rookie season and sat out a fourth.
His mobility as well as his pinpoint accuracy make him a dangerous player, but until he proves he can stay healthy he is not someone you want to take too early in the draft. Let him fall a few rounds then try to grab him as a steal.
Kirk Cousins is someone to keep an eye on. Not that he will play to start the season; he won't. Still, Cousins proved himself more than capable in relief of Griffin last season. With his rookie year under his belt and an entire offseason with the starters, he could prove to be very good if something should happen to Griffin.
Of course, Cousins will never see the field if Griffin stays healthy. He is not someone to draft, but he is someone to remember if Griffin goes down and you are in dire need of a quarterback.
Alfred Morris is the best fantasy prospect the Redskins have to offer. According to NFL.com, he was second in the NFL last season with 1,613 rushing yards and second in rushing touchdowns with 13.
Of course, sophomore slumps are always possible and there are a few reasons why Morris may struggle more than he did in 2012.
Morris flew largely under the radar last season as defenses focused far more of their attention on stopping Griffin. He is not likely to catch anyone by surprise this year. The Redskins are also determined to find a change-of-pace running back to plug in behind Morris. With Roy Helu Jr.'s injury last season, the team did not have another running back it could really rely on. This year, the Redskins will most likely try and cut back some on Morris' carries.
Morris may take a step back this season, but he still will likely be one of the best fantasy running backs in the league, especially in non-PPR leagues. He may not be your top running back, but he is definitely someone you will want to pick up.
Behind Morris, Helu is really the only guy to watch. While Morris is definitely the primary and goal-line back, Helu presents a better passing target. Don't waste a draft pick on Helu, but watch him to see if he is worth taking off the waiver wire.
Like Griffin, Pierre Garcon can be a huge fantasy player if he remains healthy. The ability to separate from defenders, Garcon showed in spurts last year show that he can produce big-time plays for big-time points.
Unlike Griffin, however, he is not an automatic superstar even if he is healthy.
Much has been made of the Redskins' 9-1 record when Garcon was in the lineup last season. That's certainly important, but team success does not necessarily translate into fantasy success. Fact is, Garcon has yet to prove he is a top NFL receiver. If he is healthy, he will be. But if you are thinking of drafting Garcon as one of your top receivers, keep in mind that the only thing Garcon has proved is his potential, nothing more.
The only player behind Garcon that may be worth anything is Santana Moss. He showed great chemistry with Griffin and hauled in eight touchdowns last season. At 34 years old, however, his career is certainly on the decline. A healthy Garcon and Fred Davis will also limit his touches. If either player is injured, Moss may make sense as a waiver pickup, but that's about it.
Davis is the team's biggest fantasy dark horse. He has the talent to be one of the best tight ends in the league, and he has great chemistry with Griffin; he was the team's leading receiver before getting injured in Week 7 last season.
Davis explored free agency but was unable to find the big contract he was hoping for and re-signed with the Redskins for only one year. At 27 years old, this season is critical. He is currently flying under the radar because he has not played a full season since 2010. But if he plays 16 games, I think he has a big year. I love him as a fantasy pick.
The Redskins are likely to carry three other tight ends on the roster, but no one else worth taking. Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul do not contribute a lot in terms of receiving. Third-round draft pick Jordan Reed could prove to be productive, but he is a rookie with some injury concerns; definitely not worth drafting.
The Redskins have not had a great history with kickers; their 19 in the past 10 years is the most in the NFL, but I think Kai Forbath is here to stay. He converted his first 17 kicks last season, an NFL record, and missed only one kick. Strength is an issue as he struggles to force touchbacks on kickoffs, but touchbacks do not count in fantasy. Ultimately, his weak leg could actually work in his favor.
To address kickoffs, the Redskins signed kicking specialist John Potter in the offseason. He will not challenge Forbath at kicker, but if they can manage to fit him into the 53 man roster, Shanahan would love to have Potter for kickoffs alone. Injury is always a concern for kickers when the ball is in play. If Forbath is on the sidelines for kickoffs, he is less likely to be injured.
From the scattered reports I have heard out of camp, Forbath looks just as good as he did last year. He may not be an established NFL kicker yet and a sophomore slump is always possible, but I think Forbath is a safe fantasy pick.
Are you kidding? According to NFL.com, the Redskins were ranked 28th in total defense last season, 30th in pass defense, and 22nd in points allowed. The return of Brian Orakpo and Brandon Meriweather is a boost, as well as drafting David Amerson, Phillip Thomas, and Bacarri Rambo. To think, however, that Orakpo, Meriweather, and a handful of late-round draft picks will vault this defense into one of the better units in the league is laughable. Find a different defense.
JJ Regan lives in the DC area and is a current freelancer for Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.
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- Pierre Garcon
- Alfred Morris
- Robert Griffin III