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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
Titans receivers can thrive in YAC with Marcus Mariota's accuracy
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:02 pm ET) The Titans wide receiving corps could gain more yards after the catch this season because of rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and his accurate throws, per ESPN.com.

The Titans were 24th in the league in yards after the catch last season, but with Mariota under center that can all change.

“If you have an accurate quarterback, it allows us to get more yards after that catch,” wide receiver Harry Douglas said. “And that’s one thing that makes a receiver dynamic -- first being able to catch the ball and then being able to do some things with it after you catch it. I feel like [to this point] Marcus has done everything he needs to do to get the ball to his receivers.”


Saints RB Khiry Robinson doesn't feel he's on outside looking in
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:55 pm ET) Saints running back Khiry Robinson might be the least known of his backfield counterparts, but he doesn't feel like the off man out, per ESPN.com.

Robinson knows the team is heavily invested in the likes of Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, but he's still confident he can thrive in whatever role the Saints put him in.

“I’m the type of person, I’m gonna get what I get and do what I do with it. So whether it’s 20 carries or one carry, I’m gonna do the best of my ability every play,” Robinson said.

Robinson has shown flashes of success during his three years in the league. Injuries played a key role against him last season, which can ultimately put him as the third back on the depth chart. He will use the offseason to continue to improve and challenge his counterparts for playing time.

“I just gotta keep working,” Robinson. “It’s all love in the backfield. We all work together, try to help each other. So I think it’s a good thing we’ve got a full backfield again. So if anybody goes down, we’ve got another player right up there to do the same thing.”


Browns OL Michael Bowie itching to compete for starting spot
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:47 am ET) Browns offensive lineman Michael Bowie is not required to report to training camp until the end of July. But never mind that - he's heading out after the last Independence Day firework explodes in the sky.

Bowie is itching to get started. He missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury after starting for Seattle on its Super Bowl title team in 2013. He is seeking to stay in tip-top shape in an attempt to land a starting spot on a Cleveland line that is the strength of the team.

"It's up to them to decide who is the best five," Bowie told the team website. "All I can do is take care of my business. Hopefully I can get a shot. That's what I'm working for."

Bowie participated fully in the offseason program, working mostly with the second team at right tackle. That will likely be the spot at which he competes for a starting job. Incumbent Mitchell Schwartz has not performed particularly well there and Mike Pettine has vowed there will be competition all over the field in camp.


Redskins OLB Ryan Kerrigan nearly recovered from knee surgery
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:32 am ET) Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan appears to be on target to join the team for training camp after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery that prevented him from participating in earlier offseason activities.

Kerrigan, who registered a career-high 13 1/2 sacks a year ago, had the operation to alleviate pain in the area.

"My leg feels really good and I'm glad I got the surgery - not just for football but it makes my everyday life feel better so I'm glad I got it done," he told CSN Washington. "Now it's just a matter of getting stronger and getting into shape."

Kerrigan added that he's been running and now only needs to regain strength to insure his place at training camp.


Texans waive DT Brandon Ivory
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Texans waived rookie defensive tackle Brandon Ivory on Thursday, according to ESPN.com

Ivory was arrested on first degree burglary charges in Tuscaloosa, Ala. just one day ago. Ivory's agent Jeff Guerriero said Ivory is not guilty of the charge. 

"I spoke to Brandon he is not guilty and his name will be cleared of all charges," Guerriero said. 


Chargers TE Antonio Gates suspended 4 games for PED use
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy, the team announced. 

It's unknown at this time what drug Gates tested positive for. Gates, in a statement, said he was unaware that he took a banned substance

"In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails," Gates said. "I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them.

"As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me."

With Gates out for four games, the Chargers will turn to Ladarius Green as the team's top tight end, though it was expected for Green to continue getting more looks in the passing game. Green is entering the final season of his rookie contract. 

The Chargers expressed disappointment in Gates for his suspension but plans to stick with the longtime veteran through the suspension. 

"We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the Chargers stated. "Antonio is a member of the Chargers' family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level."  


Packers' Datone Jones out 1 game for substance-abuse violation
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones will be suspended for one game for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, according to NFL.com. 

Jones will miss Green Bay's season-opener against the Bears. In 2014, Jones totaled 22 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in 13 games played. 


Cowboys LB Rolando McClain suspended four games for 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Cowboys announced that linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season due to violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 

McClain hasn't been able to participate much in offseason workouts due to going under offseason knee surgery. McClain will be eligible to practice in training camp and is expected to be healthy by then. 

"I apologize to my family, the Cowboys organization, my teammates and Cowboys fans for my mistake. I will not break the rules of my profession in the future, and I regret my error," McClain said in a statement, via CSN Bay Area. "I look forward to returning to the field on week 5, when I hope to help my team beat the Patriots.

In 2014, McClain, who had previously retired twice before being traded from the Ravens to the Cowboys, totaled 81 tackles and a sack in 13 games played.


Jets DL Sheldon Richardson suspended four games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was suspended four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, the NFL announced Thursday.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans," Richardson said in a statement via the Jets, per Fox Sports. "However, words aren't enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don't want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won't be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I'm able to return to the field.”

Richardson, who was a 2013 first-round pick, is entering his third season in the NFL. He was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014.

He has totaled 84 tackles and 11 1/2 sacks in 32 career games. He also has one safety.


Texans DT Brandon Ivory arrested on burglary charge
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7/1/2015) Texans defensive tackle Brandon Ivory was arrested Wednesday morning in Alabama and charged with first-degree burglary, according to a Tuscaloosa Police Department report obtained by SportingNews.com.

Ivory and another man were allegedly involved in a home burglary when the two entered the residence by kicking open the back door and then demanding money from the residents. The two stole money and two Ipads from the residence. Ivory and the other suspect were arrested at their apartment shortly after the incident with the stolen money and property.


 
 
 
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