Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan finally has a quarterback who can run his offense to its fullest capabilities. Even though Robert Griffin III is just a rookie, he'll elevate the fantasy value of his teammates.
There's no question that Griffin will be starting for the Washington Redskins on opening day of the season, but should he start for your fantasy team? Griffin has the looks of a quarterback who can put up big numbers with his passing and running ability, but he's just a rookie surrounded with average offensive talent. However, he is worth drafting in the late rounds of seasonal fantasy leagues because of his upside.
Roy Helu will be Washington's feature running back to start the season. Helu played sparingly behind Tim Hightower in the first half of 2011, but took on a heavier workload as the season progressed. From Weeks 12 to 15, he received at least 23 carries and in three of those games, totaled at least 100 rushing yards. Not only is Helu a strong, decisive runner, but he is also a capable receiving option out of the backfield. While these attributes make Helu a very appealing option, Shanahan can instantly plug in another running back to produce. Without warning, backup Evan Royster or Tim Hightower could handle the majority of carries on any given week. To add to that, Griffin may even steal a handful of goal-line touchdowns with his scrambling ability. Overall, Helu is viewed as a risky No. 2 running back or flex option.
Receivers and Tight End
Leonard Hankerson, Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan figure to be Griffin's primary receiving targets. They complement Griffin's strong arm as each receiver can stretch the field with their speed. In Week 10, Hankerson showed his potential, recording eight receptions for 106 yards. Unfortunately in the same game, he suffered a season-ending hip injury. Hankerson is only worth considering in deep leagues. Garcon is a well-rounded receiver who can turn short gains into big plays but is versatile enough to run deep patterns. However, he always had issues with drops and inconsistent production from week to week. On the bright side, he did record career highs last year in receptions (70) and yardage (947) without Peyton Manning. Expect similar numbers with the Redskins. Santana Moss is no longer the threat that he once was. With younger receivers on board, Moss might be limited to slot duties. He is 33 years old playing in a crowded receiving group with a rookie quarterback, which makes him a late-round flier candidate at best.
Fred Davis played exceptionally well despite inconsistent play from his quarterbacks. He also missed the final four games of the season due to failed drug tests. If the offense can maintain consistency, Davis should have no problem building on his 59 receptions and three touchdowns.
The Redskins signed Neil Rackers during the offseason and is an upgrade over Graham Gano. Last season with the Houston Texans, Rackers finished seventh in total fantasy points for kickers. The Redskins offense is not as potent as Houston's, but Rackers has proven to be reliable, making him a borderline top-10 kicker.
The Redskins have skilled pass rushers in place with Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, but the rest of the unit is shaky. Washington had difficulty stopping the run and pass last year, so further struggles are expected since they did not make any significant upgrades in the offseason.
Travis Chan is a fantasy sports enthusiast and contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. You can follow him on Twitter @Travischan1.
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