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Offseason Primers: Washington Redskins

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Redskins were one of the most intriguing teams in 2012, and we hope this year will provide even more excitement with their young cast of stars. The key, of course, is the health of quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Before we get into Griffin, let's recap last year. The Redskins were 3-6 going into their bye in Week 10, and coach Mike Shanahan declared the season over. It was a tremendous rallying cry as Washington ran off seven wins in a row to win the NFC East and make the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the playoff loss against Seattle proved costly as Griffin suffered a knee injury, and his status for the start of this season is now in doubt. But we expect him to be back for Week 1 barring a setback, and the Redskins should continue to shine.

2012 Touches Leaders
810 total touches (rush attempts + receptions)
Alfred Morris 346 (335 car., 11 rec.) 42.7%
Josh Morgan 51 (3 car., 48 rec.) 6.3%
Pierre Garcon 46 (2 car., 44 rec.) 5.6%
Santana Moss 44 (3 car., 41 rec.) 5.4%
Leonard Hankerson 40 (2 car., 38 rec.) 4.9%
All Others 283 34.9%

They have a tremendous young running back in Alfred Morris, who was a star as a rookie in 2012. And Pierre Garcon leads a decent receiving corps that is only made better by Griffin's presence. Bringing back tight end Fred Davis as a free agent was also a quality move.

With the NFC East having no dominant team -- the Giants and Cowboys are good but not great and the Eagles are starting over with a new coach in Chip Kelly -- the Redskins could again by playoff bound. If they can improve on defense -- getting Brian Orakpo back from a torn pectoral muscle will help -- Washington should continue to be in the hunt.

But they won't do it without a healthy Griffin, and all eyes will be on him in training camp to see if he's back at 100 percent.

Robert Griffin III -- Injury-risk sleeper

2012 Target Leaders
442 pass attempts
Josh Morgan 73 16.5%
Pierre Garcon 68 15.4%
Santana Moss 62 14.0%
Leonard Hankerson 57 12.9%
Logan Paulsen 38 8.6%
All Others 144 32.5%

Griffin is a wild card for Fantasy owners this season. He had surgery to repair a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus in January, and he's hoping to be ready by Week 1. If that happens, then Griffin could have an Adrian Peterson-like impact this year in his comeback from knee surgery. But if Griffin isn't ready by Week 1 or suffers a setback with his knee, then depending on when you draft him, he could be a bust. We consider Griffin a low-end starting option coming into the year based on the uncertainty. No matter what you do with Griffin, you better back him up with a quality No. 2 quarterback (think Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger or Jay Cutler, for example) in case he doesn't recover at 100 percent. When healthy, Griffin was a star as he showed last year with 344 Fantasy points, which made him the No. 7 quarterback in standard leagues. He averaged 22.9 points a week, something only four other quarterbacks (Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning) did last year, and we hope Griffin can make a full recovery without any problems. Gamble on him with a pick as early as Round 5 or 6.

Alfred Morris -- Worth the price

Morris was one of the best surprises in 2012, and now he has to avoid a sophomore slump this year. Morris won the starting job for the Redskins in training camp, and he had a tremendous rookie season. He had 335 carries for 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns and 11 catches for 77 yards. Morris was the No. 5 running back in standard leagues, and he had 12 games with double digits in Fantasy points, including six games in a row to close the season. Shanahan has said Morris could be more involved in the passing game this year, which would only enhance his value, but he'll be a quality option in standard leagues no matter what. He's a workhorse and a goal-line back with talent, and we know Shanahan has a great history with running backs. We expect Morris to play well again this year, and he should be drafted toward the end of Round 1 in standard leagues and Round 2 in PPR formats.

Pierre Garcon -- Breakout

Expected 2013 Draft Averages
Robert Griffin III 70-77 overall
Alfred Morris 7-12 overall
Roy Helu Undrafted
Evan Royster Undrafted
Pierre Garcon 51-58 overall
Santana Moss Undrafted
Leonard Hankerson Undrafted
Josh Morgan Undrafted
Fred Davis Undrafted

Garcon is hoping his second season with the Redskins is better than the first. His debut season in Washington was met with mixed results in 2012. When he played, he was dominant, but Garcon missed six games and was limited in two others because of a nagging toe problem. But he had double digits in Fantasy points in four of the eight games where he was close to 100 percent and finished the season with 44 catches for 633 yards and four touchdowns. Garcon avoided surgery on his foot, which is a positive, but the injury could still be a concern. It's also a problem that Griffin is coming back from major knee surgery. But if all the reports on Garcon and Griffin are positive through training camp then Garcon should be considered a solid No. 2 Fantasy receiver. We would draft him as early as Round 5 or 6 in the majority of leagues, and this should be a great season for him if he can stay healthy all year.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Report: Cardinals' Daryl Washington unsure of NFL standing
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/22/2015) Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington is approaching the one-year mark for his suspension though his NFL status is still in limbo. 

But according to a report from FOX Sports 910 in Phoenix, Washington is unsure about his status with the league. He was suspended a year ago on May 30, 2014 for being a multiple offender of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 

However, he was expected to apply for reinstatement a month ago but did not do so. 

Assuming Washington is reinstated to the NFL at some point he will likely be subjected to punishment under the NFL's domestic violence policy. On March 24, 2014, he pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-girlfriend. 


Titans' Massaquoi rehabbing shoulder, to miss OTA's
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/22/2015) Outside linebacker Jonathan Massaquoi will not participate in the Titans' first organized team activities, per ESPN.com.

Massaquoi, who was claimed off waivers from the Falcons earlier this year, is recovering from shoulder surgery. He had a bone spur removed from the area, but the procedure was categorized as a minor cleanup.

Massaquoi recorded 22 tackles in 15 games with Atlanta last season.


Entering third season, 49ers' Lawrence Okoye eyeing roster spot
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/22/2015) This might finally be the year Lawrence Okoye can crack a spot on the 49ers' roster, per the Bay Area News Group.

Okoye, a former British Olympics discus thrower and rugby player, is feeling confident about his improvements and feels like his potential is worth a roster spot.

“It’s very different from the first time I came here. I’m feeling very good about things,” Okoye said Thursday while sitting at his locker. “I’m just happy I was given the opportunity to stay here so long, so I could catch up. I have a good opportunity to show what I can do.”

Okoye has worked under new head coach Jim Tomsula for two years and with Justin Smith's retirement, his emergence might be rewarded.

“You’re going to get lots of people telling you things. But the main thing is to just keep yourself motivated, despite what people say about you," Okoye said. "People will write you off. People will say this or that. Just keep yourself motivated, keep going every day and you’ll be good.”

 


Bengals' Terrelle Pryor still dreams about winning it all
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/22/2015) Terrelle Pryor's chances of taking the Bengals to the Super Bowl and winning it are slim, but that won’t stop him from dreaming.

Pryor -- in his fourth year in the league -- dreams about winning the Super Bowl with quite some frequency, he just isn't sure what team he's doing it with.

“I don’t know the team. It’s always in black uniforms,” Pryor said. “I didn’t see any orange. No, it’s not the Raiders. But I believe it can happen because I can visualize it like that. I’m into visualization.”

Pryor hasn't played a down since the 2013 regular season, when he passed for 1,798 yards, seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 11 games.


Flowers' college position coach thinks he can fill in for injured Beatty
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/22/2015) Things are moving really fast for Giants offensive lineman Ereck Flowers. The eighth overall pick in the draft, because of an injury to Will Beatty, might have inherited a huge workload this season, per nj.com.

Art Kehoe, Flowers' offensive line coach at the University of Miami, thinks Flowers will be up to the task of protecting quarterback Eli Manning.

"I'm sure he raised his level up a notch or two, but I think he plays every week, I think he plays hard in practice," Kehoe said. "He's an unproven commodity at the next level, and he's a high draft pick, [the Giants] drafted him to be a fixer, so I'm sure he's going in there to do what he did in Miami — scrap his ass off every day in practice, and if you're supposed to be a badass the next weekend [against] your opponent, he's gonna be there and he's gonna bring everything he's got. That's what he does. He wants to know that there's a dude, and he has to take care of him, and he'll be up to the challenge.

Giants' 2013 first-round pick, Justin Pugh is also a top candidate to fill in for the injured Beatty.


Union: Goodell must back off hearing of Patriots QB Tom Brady
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/22/2015) NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith is growing impatient awaiting word from Roger Goodell on the request of the NFL commissioner to recuse himself as arbitrator of the appeal hearings ofPatriots quarterback Tom Brady.

The league suspended Brady for the first four games next season for his alleged role in the Deflategate scandal, claiming that he likely knew that game balls were being deflated for his benefit before the 2014 AFC title game.

Smith is claiming that neither Goodell nor the Wells Report, which investigated the incident, could legitimately claim impartiality. He added that the NFLPA will "advance the volume" of the request if they don't hear from Goodell by next week. Part of the union's press release reads as follows:

Given a process that has contained procedural violations of our collective bargaining agreement, the Commissioner's role as a central witness in the appeal hearing and his evident partiality with respect to the Wells report, the Commissioner must designate a neutral party to serve as arbitrator in this matter. The players also believe that the Commissioner's history of inconsistently issuing discipline against our players makes him ill-suited to hear this appeal in a fair-minded manner.

As for the Wells Report, Smith stated that "you can't really have credibility just because you slap the word independent on a piece of paper." He offered into evidence the findings in regard to NFL official Walt Anderson, who was a key figure in the investigation, citing one part of the report questions his memory and another credits it.


Zimmer happy with progress of Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/22/2015) Mike Zimmer has expressed optimism that underachieving Vikings wideout Cordarrelle Patterson is gaining a better understanding of route-running and the nuances of playing the position in the NFL, which would allow his talent to result in greater productivity.

Patterson took a step back in 2014 after a mediocre rookie year. He played in every game, but managed just 33 receptions for 384 yards and one touchdown. He has since stated that 2015 is his make-or-break year and is apparently acting like it in the offseason.

"He's done real well," Zimmer told Fox Sports North. "He's running routes good. He's working hard. So we just need him to continue to do those things and continue to keep getting consistent and keep improving. I've been impressed."


GM: Dolphins LT Branden Albert should be fine for Week 1
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/22/2015) Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey has expressed optimism that left tackle Branden Albert will be ready to roll by the regular season opener.

Albert has been rehabbing from a torn ACL and MCL sustained last November against Detroit. He had signed a five-year, $46 million contract the previous March and had been performing particularly well before going down.

"It's been a long rehab and he's really attacked it every day," Hickey told SiriusXM NFL Radio, adding that there was a "reasonable explanation" that he would be ready for Week 1. "We really like his progress. He's out there with his team working out. We're really encouraged by what we're seeing with him."

Ja'Wuan Williams was forced to move to left tackle following the Albert injury in 2014. But he struggled at that position and is expected to move to his more familiar right tackle spot this year.


Report: Bills still want to extend Marcell Dareus
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/22/2015) The Bills still want to extend the contract of defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, according to a report by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport

Despite the one-game suspension levied by the league against Dareus on Thursday, the team still hopes to have an extension wrapped up before the start of training camp. 

2015 is scheduled to be the last season of Dareus' current contract. He'll make $8.06 million.


Shanahan: Struggles of Robert Griffin III unrelated to injury
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/22/2015) Former Redskins coach Mike Shanahan does not believe injuries have prevented quarterback Robert Griffin III from maximizing his potential in the NFL. Rather, he feels it was the team not creating an offensive system that best fits his talents and his own belief that he could play a traditional role at that position.

Griffin sustained a serious knee injury in the 2012 playoffs. He then struggled in 2013 in an offense designed to transform him into a drop-back quarterback rather than one that took advantage of his mobility. He suffered another knee injury last year and did not perform well in the offense of new coach Jay Gruden.

"I don't think getting hurt has anything to do with it," Shanahan told 106.7 The Fan. "In college he didn't have a route tree, didn't have a playbook. That does take some time. ... If you take a quarterback like that you must run the kind of system that allows him to be successful. ... I really believe Robert thought he was more of a drop-back quarterback. He hasn't done things the NFL asks you to do. It does take some growing pains. You better really work on it inside and out."

Some have wondered why the Redskins went so hard after Griffin if they weren't willing to create an offense that maximizes his skill set.


 
 
 
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