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2014 Fantasy Outlooks: Washington Redskins

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Redskins are oozing with optimism this offseason, and there are plenty of reasons to be excited heading into 2014.

There's a new coach in Jay Gruden, a new weapon in DeSean Jackson and a healthy quarterback in Robert Griffin III.

The latter is easily the best news of all -- for Redskins fans and Fantasy owners. When last season ended, Griffin was on the bench because former coach Mike Shanahan wanted to protect his surgically repaired knee. Kirk Cousins was given a three-game audition, and he failed, not that there was any doubt Griffin would be the starter this year.

After last year's offseason where Griffin couldn't work out and was limited with a knee brace following his injury in the 2012 playoffs, he's 100 percent and ready to go. He's apparently picked up Gruden's offense already, and his receiving corps is loaded with the addition of Jackson and Andre Roberts to go with Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed.

On defense, the Redskins added defensive end Jason Hatcher to improve their pass rush and safety Ryan Clark to help the secondary, but replacing retired middle linebacker London Fletcher will be tough. Keenan Robinson has the inside track to start, but he will be challenged by Darryl Sharpton and Akeem Jordan.

The winner of that battle is someone to monitor heading into Draft Day for IDP leagues this season.

Bounce-back candidate ... Robert Griffin III

Griffin went from the No. 6 quarterback in standard Fantasy leagues in 2012 to No. 19 last year when he struggled to return from the knee injury in the 2012 playoffs. He passed for 3,203 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and had 86 carries for 489 yards, but he never looked comfortable despite six games with 20-plus Fantasy points in 13 starts.

We're expecting the Griffin from his rookie year to show up, and there's a lot to like about him this season. He has plenty of weapons with Garcon, Jackson, Reed and Roberts, and Gruden should allow him to make plays. He's also without restrictions on his injured knee.

Gruden has already said he wants Griffin to run more, which is a great sign, and Gruden also helped Andy Dalton finish as a Top 12 Fantasy quarterback the past two seasons. It won't take much for Griffin to return as a Top 10 quarterback this year, and he's worth drafting as a No. 1 option.

Health is always going to be a concern for Griffin, but you can wait on him with a late-round pick on Draft Day. He has the chance to rebound with a big year after last season's disappointment.

Still a stud ... Alfred Morris

Morris was viewed as a disappointment in 2013 because he scored six less touchdowns from the previous year, but that's unfair criticism. Yes, his touchdown total was nearly cut in half from 13 to seven, but he still had 276 carries for 1,275 yards. He had 335 carries for 1,613 yards in 2012, and his yards per carry were basically the same (4.8 in 2012 and 4.6 in 2013).

What you should like about Morris this season is the addition of Jackson and all the weapons in the passing game should open up plenty of open lanes at the line of scrimmage. Gruden still plans to use a similar scheme running the ball that Shanahan implored, which helped Morris finish as a Top 15 Fantasy running back the past two seasons.

The negative is Gruden could get pass happy, and Morris has struggled in that area with 20 combined catches for 155 yards in his career. He did catch four passes for 68 yards at the Pro Bowl, and Gruden said he could see Morris catching 20-25 passes a year.

We consider Morris a No. 1 Fantasy running back, and he's worth drafting in Round 2 in standard leagues and Round 3 in PPR formats. Even if he "struggles" again like he supposedly did in 2013, you're still looking at 1,300 total yards with the chance for double digits in touchdowns. I'll take that upside in what should be an explosive offense.

Tight end to target ... Jordan Reed

2013 Touches Leaders
808 total touches
Alfred Morris 285 (276 car., 9 rec.) 35.3%
Pierre Garcon 115 (2 car., 113 rec.) 14.2%
Roy Helu 93 (62 car., 31 rec.) 11.5%
Jordan Reed 46 (1 car., 45 rec.) 5.7%
Santana Moss 45 (3 car., 42 rec.) 5.6%
All Others 224 27.2%

We're all searching for the next Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski. Some will tell you it could be Dennis Pitta or Jordan Cameron. Others will look at Zach Ertz or Eric Ebron.

Reed is definitely in that discussion, and if he can stay healthy he could be a star. He might not be as good as Graham or Gronkowski, but the potential is there.

Reed finished his rookie season in 2013 with 45 catches for 499 yards and three touchdowns in only nine games. He missed the final six games with concussion issues, but he's expected to be fine heading into this year.

He averaged 7.5 Fantasy points a game when he was healthy last year, and if you project that over 16 games he would have finished as the No. 7 Fantasy tight end in standard leagues with 121 points. We think he's capable of being in that range, and he's a No. 1 Fantasy tight end coming into the season.

So if you're the owner who won't draft Graham, Gronkowski, Julius Thomas or Vernon Davis in the first four rounds, then look for Reed beginning in Round 6 or 7. I like him at No. 7 overall at his position after the aforementioned four guys along with Pitta and Jason Witten. Reed has the ability to be that good.

Schedule analysis

The first thing that jumps out on the Redskins schedule is four road games in a six-week period starting in Week 8. They play at Dallas and at Minnesota before a bye in Week 10. Then they face Tampa Bay at home in Week 11 before road games at San Francisco and at Indianapolis. Having the NFC West on the docket won't be easy, but the Redskins do avoid a trip to Seattle, which is a positive. And this offense should benefit with five games indoors, which will help based on their speed at receiver.

Training camp battles

Who's the No. 4 receiver? The Redskins are locked in with their Top 3 guys with Garcon, Jackson and Roberts. But the No. 4 spot could come down to Santana Moss and Leonard Hankerson, who is coming off last year's torn ACL. If Hankerson is healthy he could bump Moss down the depth chart, so keep an eye on his status during training camp. But no matter who wins this job, neither should be drafted in the majority of Fantasy leagues this year.

Bold prediction

Jackson was awesome last year in Chip Kelly's offense with career highs in catches (82) and yards (1,332), and he tied his career high in touchdowns (nine). But he's not going to duplicate those stats with the Redskins, and I don't expect him to finish as a Top 24 Fantasy receiver this year.

He accomplished that feat last season with Jeremy Maclin out, and Jackson struggled the previous three seasons when he wasn't the clear-cut No. 1 option. Garcon has that role with the Redskins, and he led the NFL in targets last year.

Jackson will still have his moments -- his two games against the Eagles in Week 3 and Week 16 should be dominant -- which make him a solid mid-round selection. But if you draft Jackson as a starter you will probably be left disappointed. I would only consider him a No. 3 receiver in 2014.

Injury report

Leonard Hankerson (knee), questionable for start of training camp.

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Miles Austin pitches in with touchdown in Sunday loss
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6:31 pm ET) Browns wide receiver Miles Austin continued Sunday to make strong contributions to his new team.

Austin finished with six catches - including his second touchdown with Cleveland - and 51 yards. His back-of-the-end-zone score came off a quick slant with 13 seconds remaining in the second quarter and gave the Browns a halftime lead. He has been consistent the last two games with 12 receptions for 95 yards.

The veteran can rest along with his teammates this week as they are on their bye.


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Woodhead injured the ankle when he was tackled on his first run of the game, and the injury will likely require surgery, according to the report. He has been diagnosed with a severe high ankle sprain and fractured fibula, injuries that will likely end his campaign.

At this point, the team has not given an update on his status.  


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It wasn't all positive for Cook, who appeared to shove past his quarterback on the sideline after a fourth-quarter imcompletion stalled a Rams drive at the Dallas 10-yard line and forced the team to kick a field goal. The pair hooked up for two receptions to open the team's next drive, which would result in a touchdown to bring the team to within three points. Cook has caught 15 of his 21 targets for 177 yards over the first three weeks. He'll get the next week off before the Rams head to Philadelphia in Week 5.


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Vinatieri got plenty of work during the contest. He nailed field goals from 25, 43 and 48 yards. He also hit all five of his extra point attempts. Vinatieri will look to keep it up Week 4 against the Titans. 


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Robinson had six tackles, including five solo, before leaving.


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(6:27 pm ET) The Colts DST allowed a couple late touchdowns in an otherwise strong game against the Jaguars.

Indianapolis shut down Jacksonville until Blake Bortles entered the game. Bortles managed two scores against the Indy DST. It wasn't all bad, as they also picked off Bortles for a touchdown late in the contest. The team racked up four sacks, two interceptions and one fumble during the game. 

The Colts DST will look for more Week 4 against the Titans. 


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by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:25 pm ET) Rams running back Benny Cunningham managed just 29 yards on nine carries and added one reception for five yards in his team's 34-31 loss to the Cowboys in Week 3.

Cunningham received more action in Week 3 than he had in the first two weeks, getting nine carries to 12 for starter Zac Stacy, but he failed to impress with his totes while the starter broke off 5.6 yards per carry. Cunningham averaged 5.6 yards per carry last season and could work his way into more carries if he can approach that level in the coming weeks. The Rams are off in Week 4 before facing the Eagles.


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The Texans did finish with 411 yards (119 rushing) and were playing without star running back Arian Foster (hamstring). But the Giants held Houston to no points, four first downs and 83 yards in the first half. 

Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara, safety Antrel Rolle and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie each had an interception Sunday. Linebacker Jameel McClain led the team with 11 tackles (nine solo). Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was second on the team with seven tackles (five solo). Amukamara and Rodgers-Cromartie each had two pass defenses.

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Greenway had three tackles, including one solo, before leaving. After recording 130-plus tackles in four straight seasons, he has only 13 through three games this season.


 
 
 
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