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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
Broncos K Brandon McManus hooks lone FG attempt wide left
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:25 am ET) Broncos kicker Brandon McManus hooked his only attempt -- a 53-yard shot -- wide left in a Week 8 victory over the Chargers.

McManus missed his kick in the fourth quarter while trying to extend the lead for the Broncos. He finished 0 for 1 in field goal attempt, adding five extra points in a 35-21 victory. He has converted only 6 of 8 field goal attempts this season.


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(12:25 am ET) Chargers defensive back Jahleel Addae is dealing with a stinger, according to 1090 Sports Radio.

Addae took a couple big hits during the game, and came up wobbling. He was given a concussion test on the sideline, which he reportedly passed during the game. Addae recorded four tackles.


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by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:21 am ET) Chargers corner Jason Verrett had his arm in a sling following Thursday's game against the Broncos. 

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Broncos TE Julius Thomas held in check vs. San Diego
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:19 am ET) Broncos tight end Julius Thomas took another step back in a Week 8 victory over the Chargers on Thursday.

Thomas, who's fresh off a disappointing four-catch, 27-yard outing, was held in check by San Diego's defense. He caught a 6-yard pass on the second drive of the night, followed by a 17-yard grab in the fourth quarter. He was targeted six times and finished with two catches for 23 yards -- all season lows for the tight end.

Thomas has 30 catches for 327 yards and nine scores on the year. He'll be seeking a bounce-back performance Week 9 at New England.


Chargers kicker Nick Novak gets no field goal chances
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:15 am ET) Chargers kicker Nick Novak did not receive a field goal opportunity Thursday against the Broncos.

Novak did manage to hit all three of his extra point attempts, but that was it. With the team falling behind early, Novak wasn't a factor later in the contest. Near the end of the third quarter, the team could have opted for a field goal on fourth down, but instead decided to play for the score. They managed to convert, giving Novak one point instead of three. 

Novak will look for more Week 9 against the Dolphins. 


Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders scores three times in breakout game
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:13 am ET) Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders entered Week 8 with only one touchdown reception. He came down with three in a 35-21 victory over the Chargers at home on Thursday.

Sanders came down with a deep 38-yard reception late in the opening quarter. He capped off that drive with a 2-yard touchdown reception in the back of the end zone early in the second quarter. He beat Richard Marshall down the field for a 31-yard touchdown reception with 39 seconds remaining in the first half. He made a 3-yard touchdown grab on the opening drive of the third quarter. Sanders caught all nine of his targets for 120 yards and three scores.

Before signing with the Broncos in the offseason Sanders had never cracked the century mark. He now has four on the season. Sanders has 634 receiving yards through seven games. He'll look for his fifth 100-yard game Week 9 at New England.


Chargers' Eddie Royal, Ladarius Green do little Thursday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:12 am ET) Chargers pass catchers Eddie Royal and Ladarius Green did lttle Week 8 against the Broncos.

Royal had the better game, catching three balls for 29 yards. He caught all three of his targets. Green had just one catch Thursday, picking up 9 yards. 

Both players will look for more Week 9 against the Dolphins. 


Chargers TE Antonio Gates comes up big Thursday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:10 am ET) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates came up big Thursday night against the Broncos.

The Chargers offense wasn't all that impressive early, but Gates still managed to make some plays. He only had 3 yards in the first quarter, but got going in the second. On the team's second drive of the quarter, Gates drew a defensive pass interference penalty and picked up 37 yards on two catches. He really started to come on during the second half. On Gates' first reception of the third quarter, he managed a 4 yard touchdown. On the next drive, Gates hauled in a 10 yard score from Philip Rivers. He finished with five receptions for 54 yards and two scores. 

Gates will take on the Dolphins Week 9.


Broncos WR Wes Welker makes game-saving fumble recovery
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(12:07 am ET) Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker didn't have a busy night, but made a key fumble recovery in Week 8 against the Chargers.

With Denver ahead by 14 points in the fourth quarter, his teammate Emmanuel Sanders was stripped by Eric Weddle. He made a scrappy recovery to maintain possession. Welker was limited to only two grabs for 5 yards on two targets in a 35-21 victory. He's been targeted only six times over the last three games.

He'll look to get back on track against his former team, the Patriots, in Week 9.


Chargers WR Malcom Floyd battles injury Thursday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:05 am ET) Chargers wideout Malcom Floyd battled a shoulder injury Thursday against the Broncos. 

Floyd hauled in four passes for 58 yards during the contest. He was injured on his second catch of the night. Floyd went up between two defenders, and came down hard on his shoulder. He left the game briefly to head back to the locker room. Floyd was diagnosed with a shoulder injury, but was probable to return. He did return to the contest, and was able to pick up two more catches.

Floyd will look for more Week 9 against the Dolphins. 


 
 
 
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