Fantasy Stud — Robert Griffin III, QB
RG3 proved as a rookie that he is for real. The Heisman Trophy winner took the nation by storm in 2011 when he was dominant at Baylor, earning him the highest award in college football and the #2 pick in the draft behind only Andrew Luck.
Griffin’s rookie season was absolutely stellar, helping lead the Redskins into the playoffs and a 14-0 lead over the Seahawks before completely collapsing, and that’s where things got bad for him.
Griffin re-injured the knee he’d been playing hurt on, and this time, it was severe. Despite tearing ligaments in his knee, Griffin is fully expected to be back this season, possibly even by week one.
Redskins backup QB and fellow class of 2012 member Kirk Cousins says that Griffin will be ready for week one, and we have no reason not to believe him. Griffin re-injured his knee in the wild card round of the playoffs this year, and is already out on the field running and throwing, and now he’s apparently changing direction with no problem.
Griffin is on a freakish pace similar to Adrian Peterson, and typically when guys hurt their knees like this you either come back stronger than ever or you’re never the same again. With the way medicine and technology have advanced, tearing ligaments in your knees is not necessarily the worst thing that could happen to you. In fact, we saw the most dominant season by a running back in recent memory from Adrian Peterson last year after suffering a gruesome knee injury.
Griffin is a smart QB who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, and he has a ton of speed and ability to make plays with his legs. I think he is a superstar fantasy QB if he’s healthy, and right now, we have no reason to assume he won’t be. I’d say he’s a top five or six QB easily this year.
Fantasy Risk — Alfred Morris, RB
Even more of a risk than Griffin in my mind is 2012 sixth round pick Alfred Morris, who faces the dreaded running back sophomore slump. Morris isn’t going to surprise anyone this year, so the pressure is on for the guy who was second in the NFL last season in rushing yardage (1,610).
The Redskins’ offense is very favorable to Morris’ skills, so he has a chance to be a very good back yet again this year, but I’m not expecting him to put up the All-Pro numbers he did last year. If not for Adrian Peterson’s beast of a season, we’d have been talking about Morris a heck of a lot more.
This is a guy who rushed for over 1,600 yards as a rookie with seven 100+ yard games and 13 touchdowns. It’s going to be really hard for him to duplicate that, but Morris could be even more valuable than last year if he can find a way to get more involved in the passing game, where he only caught 11 passes last season.
In my mind, I think Morris will be an upper level RB2 this year, but he will be drafted in most leagues as a RB1. I think he’s a bit of a risk in that spot.
Fantasy Sleeper — Pierre Garcon, WR
Garcon was well on his way to being the clear #1 receiver in Washington last year before an injury derailed his season. He only played in 10 games total, but still managed to catch 44 passes for 633 yards and four touchdowns. The Redskins have such an unclear situation at the WR position right now, but Garcon looks like the best bet to lead the team in targets at this point.
He is still only 26 years old, and perhaps his best football is ahead of him. In Mike Shanahan’s offense, Garcon has a lot of upside because of the play-action emphasis and how he can create separation downfield. This is one of the better deep ball receivers in the league when healthy, and the Redskins could look to stretch the field quite a bit this season.
I think Garcon has more upside than most people think, and he’ll be underrated on draft day because of his injury.
Rookie to Watch — Jordan Reed, TE
Reed was the highest offensive player the Redskins drafted this year, and based on his body of work at Florida, if this guy is healthy you can expect him to have an impact on the offense.
He is an athletic TE prospect with skills to line up in the slot or in line as a blocking TE, and the Redskins can use him in a variety of ways. With Fred Davis back this season, it’s hard to see Reed’s role right now, but as the season progresses, we could see him get on the field a lot more as he continues to get healthy.