Fantasy Football Fanatics; Washington 2012 Offseason Breakdown

Fantasy Football Fanatics

Washington Redskins; 2012 Offseason Breakdown

By, Eric Hartvigson


Stadium: Fed Ex Field (Outside)

Schedule Strength: 18th

Postseason Weather issues: @ Cle Week 15, @ Philadelphia Week 16

Offensive Line Ranking:  26th

Head Coach – Mike Shannahan;    A quarterback in his playing days, Shanahan spent several years in the college coaching ranks before moving up the pro game as an Offensive Coordinator for the Broncos.  After a handful of season in Denver, along with his notorious stint as the Raiders head coach, Shanahan spent time as the OC in San Francisco making him yet another member of the Bill Walsh Coaching Tree connecting him to the West Coast Offense.  Shannahan is most famous for capturing 2 Super Bowls with John Elway as the Denver Broncos head coach in the late “90s”. But in the minds of Fantasy Football owners, Shannahan is infamous for popularizing the now widely adopted RBBC.  After turning everybody but my grandmother into a 1000 yard rusher, Shannahan decided; “why not try it with two RBs?”  It should be noted that Shanahan’s version of the West Coast Offense is more the traditional sense with a balanced run / pass attack utilizing short to intermediate passing to open up the defense.

*Side story; in college as a player, during a practice Shanahan took a vicious hit causing his heart to stop for 30 seconds.  A devout Catholic a priest was even called upon to read Shanahan his last rites. He obviously recovered but it is a reminder that every day is a gift.

Offensive Coordinator – Kyle Shannahan;    As the son of the Redskins Head Coach, Kyle is literally a replica of his father.  This team’s Offensive System will follow the history of the elder Shanahan west coast roots.

QB – Robert Griffin III;    Examining the QB position over the past 15 years we find only 1 rookie QB has finished inside the top 10 in fantasy scoring, just so happens that was Cam Newton last season.  Although RG3 has a similar skill set, he doesn’t possess near the physical size to be a powerful goal-line threat.  With that said, Griffin is a special talent with the brains to be one of the leagues better young gun slinger (he wasn’t drafted #2 overall for no reason).   We should expect the Shanahans to lean on the running game and ease their rookie QB into the pace of the NFL.  I’m not willing to hang my season on a rookie signal caller, as Griffin should be viewed as more of a “spot starter” with a Player Rating of 7.8.

RB1 – Roy Helu

RB2 – Tim Hightower;    Right off the bat, the first problem we encounter when evaluating any Redskins runningback is head coach Mike Shannahan, who happens to be the modern day godfather of the “Running-Back-by-Committee (ugliest four words in Fantasy Football).  Last season Tim Hightower was touted as the “lead back” given his veteran status and superior pass blocking (rookies typically struggle with blocking assignments).  Hightower would suffer a devastating torn ACL in week 7 landing him on IR making way for rookie Roy Helu.  Taking over the starting job in week 8, Helu would finish 12th in fantasy scoring amongst all Runningbacks between weeks 8-15 (he missed week 16 with ankle and toe issues).  Perhaps more surprising, according to Pro Football Focus Helu finished the season ranked 4th in pass blocking behind only Fred Jackson, Michael Turner and Jason Snelling.  Entering 2012 and coming off a season ending ACL injury Hightower will be slow to recover, while being much more susceptible to a re-injury.  This will open the door even further for Helu who should emerge as the lead ball carrier by season’s end.  All told Helu deserves a player rating of 8.2 (sleeper?) leaving Hightower with a player rating of 6.0

WR1 – Pierre Garcon;    I’m going to be very straight forward and tell you, without Preseason I’m not sure what to expect from Garcon.  Based on recent comments, the Shanahans are excited to have Garcon stating that “he was the best Free Agent WR available” (must have been after the signing of Vincent Jackson).  We do know from time spent with the Colts that Garcon has good speed and size, making him a deep threat and a red-zone option.  We also know he has questionable body control and below average hands. It should be noted that Garcon will face “shutdown cornerbacks” Joe Haden and Nnamdi Asumgha in the fantasy postseason. I’m always interested in whichever wide receiver will lead his team in targets to become the teams #1 WR.  Reading between the lines, that player should be Garcon.  However, due to a rookie QB, and the presence of veteran WR Santana Moss, and the difficulty of his postseason schedule, I’ll stick with a conservative Player Rating of 7.7.

WR2 – Santana Moss;    Garcon may be touted as the best pure wide receiver on the Skins roster given his size, youth, strength and speed, however Moss is a savvy veteran posting decent numbers over the past few seasons despite poor QB play (a fluke broken finger last season caused him to miss 4 games).  Few teams are capable of sustaining two fantasy worthy wide receivers, and with Moss slated to receive a secondary role, his offseason player rating should be viewed in the range of 7.3.

TE – Fred Davis;    There are many different interpretations of the West Coast Offense (ie Andy Reid), and most will utilize the TE over the middle as a receiving threat.  That is the same system that Shanahan has run for years (think Shannon Sharpe).  Last season Davis was on pace to finish top 6 in TE scoring before testing positive for marijuana and crippling my team after being hit with a 4 game suspension in week 14 (tough finding a fantasy TE week 1 of the playoffs, while DeMarco Murry going down on Monday Night Football didn’t help). Playing in a contract year will create added motivation while being a solid red-zone option.  We must not forget that Chris Cooley is still on the roster along with a rookie QB under center.  Personally I still see Davis finishing inside the top 12, with upside deserving a player rating of 7.9.

Def -  Washington Redskins;     The Redskins have pieced together a formidable defense unit with Orakpo, Kerrigan, Fletcher and Hall.  The problem is they play in a very tough division with 3 highly productive offensive teams (NYG, Philly, Dal).  This equates to 6 tough matchups before we even examine their schedule outside the division (@ Philly week 16).  Therefore the Skins defense carries a Rating of 7.5, meaning we should be able to find a better option.

K – Graham Gano, Neil Rackers;    At this juncture, we don’t even know for sure who will be the Skins kicker. Neither is recommended.




About Eric Hartvigson