2013 Team Outlook: Washington Redskins
WR Santana Moss, WAS - Over the Hill (decreased production)
Just when we're ready to write off the aged Santana Moss, the shifty veteran plays the full 16 game schedule and scores eight touchdowns, his most scores since 2005. That TD production helped the Redskins offset injuries to Pierre Garcon and Fred Davis, but tread lightly into believing Moss is anything more than a deep league fill in going forward. He caught only 41 passes for 573 yards, both representing lows during his eight seasons in Washington. The Redskins didn't draft wide outs, but Josh Morgan is the starter opposite Garcon, Leonard Hankerson is the upside play and Davis is expected back. As a matchup play here or there, it is conceivable Moss is worthy of a pickup, As a back-bencher, fantasy owners in standard leagues with a 14-16 player roster would be wise to pass on Moss and go for those with true flyer potential.
WR Josh Morgan, CHI - Bust (overvalued)
Last offseason the Redskins hoped the addition of free agent receivers Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan would boost their passing game. Well, they got it half right. While Garcon rocked when healthy, Morgan turned out to be just what he was with the 49ers: a capable pass catcher that best helps an offense as a run blocker. That's good stuff for Alfred Morris, but another season with 48 receptions for 510 yards and two scores won't do much for fantasy owners. Because he's in the starting lineup, the 28-year-old will see enough snaps, but both Santana Moss and Leonard Hankerson offer more potential. Until further notice, he is just an option in deep, deep leagues.
WR Leonard Hankerson, WAS - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Update (8-20): Hankerson hauled in a spectacular one-handed catch for a 10-yard touchdown in the Redskins' preseason win over the Steelers on Monday night. The third-year receiver also left the game early with a right knee injury, the severity of which remains unclear. Assuming the injury is minor, Hankerson remains a risk-reward option worth considering in the final rounds for owners in 12-team leagues. The risk is the 6-foot-3 target remains the inconsistent and injury-prone player he has been through two seasons. The reward is he's the Redskin receiver to own after Pierre Garcon, though that's not saying much. He finished with two receptions for 26 yards.
Everyone loves looking for sleepers. Wide receivers entering their third season are always a popular spot to search for flyers. When fantasy owners do, they will come across the 6-foot-2 Hankerson, who showed good pop as a sophomore after injuries and inconsistency wrecked his rookie season. Last year in 16 games, the former product from the U hauled in 38 receptions for 543 yards (more than Josh Morgan on 10 few grabs) and three scores. Outside of Pierre Garcon, Hankerson has the freakiest physical gifts of the Redskins wide outs and offers RGIII a sincere Red Zone threat. Seeing as Morgan is more of a blocking option and Santana Moss is closer to the end than the beginning of his career, opportunity exists for Hank to emerge as a primary threat (though he'll likely start as a WR4 in Washington). Moss has more immediate fantasy value as a spot starter, but Hankerson has more home run potential. Don't sleep on this sleeper in the late rounds, assuming he builds on his more consistent second season during his third training camp.
TE Jordan Reed, WAS - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Update (10-20): The breakout is official. In Week 7, Reed burned the Bears for 134 yards and a touchdown on nine receptions. Forget just beating out Fred Davis (which the rookie has done with ease over the last month), now we're looking at the Redskins' second primary target after Pierre Garcon and a TE1 level player going forward.
Update (9-19): Through two games it's been the rookie Reed and not the veteran Davis producing as the Redskins TE. In the second half of Week 2's loss at Green Bay, Reed played 21 snaps compared to five for Davis. Not a full-blown changing of the guard, but a scenario to watch for sure.
Profile: Embracing the trendy two-TE plan sweeping the NFL, Washington drafted Florida's Reed in the third round. Essentially, the 6-foot-2, 236-pound target is a WR masquerading as a tight end (i.e. not much of a blocker), but he's certainly good at that pass catching thing, having hauled in 45 receptions for 559 yards and three touchdowns during a down season for the Gators offense. Seeing as starter Fred Davis is recovering from an Achilles injury and the Redskins' WR 2/3 positions are not locked down by studs, there is room for an emerging talent to shine. Is that guy Reed? Eh, probably not initially, but if he flashes enough potential he could make Davis expendable next offseason, which is why keeper and dynasty league owners should track Reed's training camp progress.
TE Logan Paulsen, WAS - Not Draft Worthy
The lumbering Paulsen showed some quality hands filling in for Fred Davis last season, catching 25 passes for 308 yards and a touchdown. He also showed that the Redskins couldn't rely on him as a downfield threat in case Davis' return from injury took an unexpected detour. Kind of noteworthy that Paulsen caught 13 passes in his best three-game stretch, but the Redskins lost all those games. He then had 11 receptions over the next seven games, all wins. Coincidence, eh, probably as Paulsen made key grabs during the winning streak, but it doesn't matter. With Davis and rookie Jordan Reed (is the upside play among the TE corps), Paulsen can return to his blocking and occasional pass catching role.
TE Fred Davis, FA - Sleeper (undervalued)
Update (8-25): Those looking for a high-end TE2 should focus their attention right here. Davis' return from an Achilles injury has been a pleasantly productive one and without any signs of setback. Against Buffalo on Saturday, his lone catch was a 31-year grab that set Washington up inside the red zone, leading to a Pierre Garcon touchdown. He's seen limited snaps to this point, but the entire first-team offense left game 3 rather early. Considering the Redskins' weakness at WR2 and his own playmaking ability, Davis could easily be the team's top target after Garcon.
Preview - Davis entered the 2012 season with significant momentum thanks to a breakout campaign the year before. He left it with a shredded Achilles in Week 7. That's the type of injury that historically takes a full year from which to recover, but Davis is expected for the start of Redskins training camp. What should fantasy owners expect out of the 6-foot-4, 247-pounder who went for 59-796-3 in 12 games during the 2011 season? That is a great question and for now one without a viable answer, though it is hard imagining Davis immediately returning to his downfield prowess. Though the Redskins drafted Jordan Reed to serve as a TE pass catcher, the starting role is Davis' (assuming he can answer the call). Considering the general weakness at the TE position, Davis is a sneaky fantasy play, but for now is simply a TE2, and a low-end one at that. Monitor his training camp progress. We certainly will, with great interest.