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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: Texans RB Arian Foster could miss first eight games of 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8/4/2015) Texans running back Arian Foster is expected to miss the first eight games of the season because of a 'major' groin injury, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

Foster suffered the groin injury during Monday's practice and hobbled off the field during a play. The injury, which may require surgery, could land him on the PUP list to begin the season. Foster dealt with multiple injuries in 2014, including a groin injury that forced him to miss two games.

The veteran ran for 1,246 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014 with 327 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns. 


Eagles RB DeMarco Murray sidelined by hydration issue
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8/4/2015) Eagles running back DeMarco Murray was forced to miss the first day of team drills on Sunday because of poor hydration levels, coach Chip Kelly said per the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"We did a hydration status test and he was a little bit high and obviously when you see guys that are high from a hydration standpoint, then you kind of pull them back a little bit because that's when they are susceptible for an injury," Kelly said.

"He's probably the most conditioned athlete on our team, but if you don't drink the requisite amount of water and electrolytes and have them in your system, it doesn't matter how fit you are," Kelly said of Murray. "Especially the weather - that was a big factor for us, too. We have had back-to-back, and going into three, 90-degree days. . . .You don't want to lose a guy in the first day."


49ers' Bruce Ellington, Ben Gottschalk dealing with injuries
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8/4/2015) 49ers wide receiver Bruce Ellington will be held out of the next few practices because of a strained left leg, reports the Bay Area News Group. Ellington sustained the injury during Monday's practice.

"I'm holding him [out]," coach Jim Tomsula said. "I want to make sure we're good there."

Meanwhile, offensive lineman Ben Gottschalk underwent a foot procedure and is out indefinitely.


Rams DE Chris Long returns to practice
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8/4/2015) Rams defensive end Chris Long was able to practice on Tuesday after missing the first three days with a back issue, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The veteran is expected to anchor a strong defensive line this year after playing just six games last season because of an injury. Long 51 1/2 career sacks in seven seasons in St. Louis.


49ers' Alex Boone shifting from right guard to left
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/4/2015) 49ers offensive lineman Alex Boone is expected to switch from right guard to left guard for the upcoming season, the veteran said per ESPN.com. He will replace three-time Pro Bowler Mike Iupati at the position.

"It's great," Boone said. "It's different, obviously, [after] playing next to Anthony [Davis] all those years, now you move over play next to Joe [Staley]. Both great tackles. Footwork's a little diferent, handwork is a little different, but at the end of the day it’s come along real well."


Report: RB Pierre Thomas to visit Texans
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8/4/2015) The Texans could be in the market for a running back now that Arian Foster could be dealing with an injury. Veteran free agent Pierre Thomas is reportedly going to visit with Houston, according to NFL Network. 

He is expected to workout for the team on Wednesday. Thomas spent his entire career in New Orleans where he ran for 3,745 yards and 28 touchdowns in eight seasons. 


Cowboys 'like the fight' in cornerback Tyler Patmon
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8/4/2015) Cowboys cornerback Tyler Patmon made news over the weekend when he got into a skirmish with star wide receiver Dez Bryant running the down the field. For the second-year player, it showed his tenacity and desire to play the game, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"Well, Patmon is a great story for our team," coach Jason Garrett said. "He came to the rookie mimicamp as an undrafted, unsigned tryout guy. For him to do what he did over the course of those three days his first year to show us that, 'hey, he's one of the better guys. I don't care who we drafted or who we signed we need to make sure that he's one of the guys that has a chance to make our football team.'

"So what he is all about was demonstrated right from the start. He's a guy that's all about what he does. It doesn't really matter where he comes from and what has happened to him and other people in the past. He wants to show you what he's all about by what he does each and every day. And I think he’s done that since he's been here. He's a competitor. He's a fighter. He's an instinctive player. He loves to play the game. I think he’s gotten better and better."

Patmon is fighting for a roster spot and the fourth cornerback position on the team. 


Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson misses practice on Tuesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8/4/2015) Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was unable to practice on Tuesday while dealing with a sore hamstring, according to ESPN.com.

Wilkerson left Sunday's practice while dealing with the injury and is being held out as a precaution. 

"He’s feeling OK, [the hamstring is] tight," Jets coach Todd Bowles said. "It’s day to day -- we’re gonna err on the side of caution."


Lions negotiating to re-sign Haloti Ngata, DeAndre Levy
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8/4/2015) The Lions are making a big push to re-sign defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and linebacker DeAndre Levy, according to The Detroit News. General manager Martin Mayhew said the team is in discussions with both player's agents on new deals. 

"[Levy's] a heck of a football player, just a playmaker on our defense," Mayhew said before training camp Tuesday. "Versus the run and the pass, the guy's an impact player, so we definitely want to keep him on our defense — very important to our football team. His leadership is also excellent, professional in every sense of the word, so he has a lot of value to us. And he's one of our own guys, so we want to definitely keep him around."

Ngata is entering his first season with the Lions after being traded from Baltimore in March.

"He's a phenomenal player," Mayhew said. "He can be an impact player for us as well along the defensive line. I don't really need to see a whole lot more. … I've seen enough to know that I want to have him around."


Eagles release WR Devante Davis, sign Josh Reese
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8/4/2015) The Eagles have released wide receiver Devante Davis and signed free agent rookie Josh Reese, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Davis a rookie pickup and yet to play in the league.


 
 
 
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