2012 Team Outlook: Washington

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2012 Team Outlook: Washington

A fantasy football preview of the Redskins this year. Profiled players include Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Rex Grossman, Alfred Morris, and Roy Helu.

The Heisman winner, blessed with a power arm, world-class speed and movie star poise, is ticketed for stardom – just maybe not in 2012. Unlike Cam Newton, RGIII's rookie year will not be played behind a stud line or with a reliable ground game, though receiving options could surprise. His own legs should help those fantasy numbers. Training camp progression will dictate draft status, but target Griffin's upside after the clear top 12-14 passers are gone.

The Redskins "other" rookie quarterback, Cousins shined during his days at Michigan State. Many a scout suggested Cousins would be among the ready-made passers in the 2012 draft and early on in the preseason he's shown that take is not a stretch. He's no threat to Robert Griffin III, but there is an outside the Redskins fourth-round pick could unseat No. 2 Rex Grossman. Regardless, Cousins is a long term hold, but unless he gets traded, there really is no reason to roster him.

Everyone's favorite passing piñata is the clear backup behind rookie Robert Griffin III. In 13 starts last season Grossman threw for 3,151 yards and 16 touchdowns, plus 20 interceptions and dozens of other ill advised throws. Should RGIII sit, Grossman is a sneaky fantasy play depending on the foe - if you can stand holding your breath the entire time.

Rarely do marginal sixth-round runners from non-BCS schools warrant even minimal fantasy consideration. The Redskins' lack of backfield depth makes Morris a potential exception, at least in truly deep leagues. The all-time leader rusher at Florida Atlantic offers an inside option should Tim Hightower and Evan Royster falter.

Update (8-25): Helu's impressive preseason continued Saturday night as he rushed for 70 yards on 13 carries versus Buffalo. Any questions about who serve as Alfred Morris' primary backup have long since been answered. Now Helu is reminding the football world of the burst and power he displayed as a rookie in 2011 when he turned RB1/RB2 level projection for several weeks before injuries cut him down. It's possible he'll have some bye week flex appeal during the season, as he's also Washington's third down back. Even non-Morris owners can stash Helu on their bench.

Following Tim Hightower's injury in 2011, Helu went from deep sleeper to electric fantasy star before his own late season ailments sidelined him. The dual threat topped 1,000 yards from scrimmage and finished with four 100-yard games, one coming as a receiver. The former Nebraska stud is best suited as a situational option; the Shanahan's seem to understand this, which is why early training camp depth chart talk has Helu not on the starter's line. If overworked with 20+ touches, could break down, but if used appropriately, could be viable RB2. Tricky scenario, but Helu remains the one Redskins runner to own.

Name recognition will have novice fantasy players viewing Hightower as a potential sleeper after his first campaign in D.C. ended with only 321 yards and a season-ending knee injury. Smart players will know the presence of Roy Helu Jr. and eroding skills limits the upside. Unless your league gives points for pass protection and veteran leadership, you can sleep on this "sleeper".

Injuries provided the Penn State rookie with playing time over the final two weeks last season and Royster powered his way to consecutive 100-yard rushing games. The sneaky option in the Redskins backfield, but lack of speed suggests a limited role unless more injuries pop up. He is handcuff worthy as long as he remains at least third on the depth chart and is only a Hightower injury away from a larger role.