After several months of crisscrossing through the National Football League, I have reached my final destination with this fantasy football preview of the Washington Redskins. Bleak would be the best way to describe the fantasy horizon in the Nation's Capital for several seasons now. After hitting rock bottom during the 2011 NFL campaign, some key off-season moves have brought some buzz to the Washington camp. Lets head to the fringes of the political beltway and check in at FedEx Field for some lowdown on the Redskins.
Washington Redskins Quarterback Fantasy Options
Quickly now, name the last relevant quarterback, in terms of winning in the NFL or in fantasy football, that called Washington home? If you answered never, you wouldn't be too far off. Back in 2009, Jason Campbell posted 290 fantasy points in red and gold. That makes JC the highest scoring Redskins pivot over the past 12 years. Twenty-two different quarterbacks have made appearances in Washington games over that span of a dozen years. Consistently bad is not good.
Redskin fans are hoping that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't another oncoming train wreck with the arrival of QB Robert Griffin III in the District. Selected second overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, the former Baylor Bear has created quite a stir in fantasy football circles as owners debate his merits as a viable QB option. Griffin produced 193 yards and two TD as he went 20-31 in the preseason. RG3 didn't toss an INT while showing off his cannon of an arm several times.
Redskins QB Analysis: This is another swim or sink scenario as QB Rex Grossman barely held off rookie QB Kirk Cousins for the backed role in DC. Yours truly participated in a 17th Annual Draft over the Labor Day weekend and Griffin was selected in the ninth round at 104th overall - as a backup to Matt Schaub in Houston. Here at FFTB RG3 is listed as a high-end backup in the QB15 spot. While I am of the opinion that round nine is too early to back up your QB, Robert Griffin III is definitely an option with upside.
Washington Redskins Running Back Fantasy Options
Once thought of a genius (in some circles) when it comes to producing quality running backs, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan hasn't had very much luck pushing the proper RB buttons in Washington. Ryan Torain (164 carries 742 yards) was the 'Skins best back in 2010, while RB Roy Helu was the top producer with 1,019 total yards on 200 touches in sporadic 2011 appearances. Four running backs had at least 60 carries in Washington last season.
Even with super-bust Tim Hightower getting released, the running back picture is still foggy at best in DC. Helu isn't even listed as the #1 back on the Redskins' depth chart - yet. That "honor" belongs to fellow second year RB Evan Royster . Rookie RB Alfred Morris represents the final piece of what is sure to be a running back by committee nightmare puzzle in Washington.
Redskins QB Analysis: When Shananhan landed in the District, I wrote about how he was "part of the system in Denver - not the system itself". That has certainly panned out, as the Redskins are a team without an identity that has gone 11-21 and finished last in the NFC East in his first two seasons. Don't trust any of the running backs in Washington as anything more than a RB3 at best. One may snake away from the pack as the leader, though I highly doubt it with Mad Mike pushing the buttons.
Washington Redskins Wide Receiver Fantasy Options
Previous results are not pretty when it comes to the wide receiver position in Washington as well. Apart from WR Santana Moss, only two Washington receivers have topped 1,000 receiving yards over the past dozen seasons and none since 2003. Moss is a bit of an enigma in my eyes as he hasn't topped the 200 FPT scoring plateau since his rookie season in 2005. At age 33, and relegated to the slot role in a non-slot friendly offense, Moss has fallen to the WR3 (possibly WR4) position for the 'Skins.
Pierre Garcon comes over from Indianapolis and has assumed the WR1 role in Washington. Garcon (WR31 FTTB ranking) appears to have developed some chemistry with his rookie QB as he had eight catches for 100 yards and one TD in preseason action. WR Josh Morgan and WR Leonard Hankerson appear headed for a 50/50 split as the "Z" wideouts opposite of Garcon. That said, both players could be Shananized at any time (which can be a good or bad thing – usually bad though).
Redskins WR Analysis: There are lots of questions surrounding the Skins' wide receiving corps. With a rookie QB, a run first game plan, and a mix of players that are not familiar with each other, this is a dicey situation. If Garcon falls to you, consider him as a mid-range WR3 with upside. After that, my best advice is to select Hankerson, Morgan and Moss as possible grab and stash candidates.
Washington Redskins Tight End Fantasy Options
Washington cut their longest current offensive player as TE Chris Cooley was released on August 28, 2012. Cooley toiled for eight long seasons in DC, but has been hampered by a knee injury that may force him into retirement. That opens the door for TE Fred Davis to step through and become the undisputed TE1 in the District. The "other" Davis at the tight end position registered 59 catches for 796 yards and three TDs in the Skins' anemic 2011 offense.
Redskins TE Analysis: Though the Skins tried to mix in TE Niles Paul during preseason action, the former Nebraska product was ineffective and will be a special teams player that eventually may be converted to the fullback position. Davis is currently listed as the TE7 here at Fantasy Football Tool box. If you miss the first wave of TE studs, Davis is a player to watch as the second tide rolls in and will be a serviceable TE1 on your fantasy squad.
Washington Redskins Fantasy Bottom Line: Not to be a hater, but I have never been a big fan of Mike Shananhan or his coaching tendencies. I like him even less in the rebuilding process in DC. If you draft Redskin players, not only are you hoping that they produce, but you also have to hope that Captain Hook plays them – regularly and consistently. The latter is never guaranteed with Shanahan pulling the strings. Select with caution whenever a Redskin pops up on your fantasy cheat sheet as your Draft Day 2012 rolls along!
Happy Drafting and here's hoping that you are point prosperous and injury free in NFL Fantasy Football 2012!