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Dynasty Capsule: Washington Redskins

As part of the premium content package, we’ve unveiled dynasty capsules for every team in the NFL all Spring and Summer. This year, we also had a precursor to every team capsule, with more detail on one of our favorite pieces – the dynasty sleeper. We finish our alphabetical journey through the NFL with the Washington Redskins.

Quarterbacks

Robert Griffin III

The Washington Redskins knew Robert Griffin III was the face of the franchise they needed and sent away two first round selections, plus additional compensation to land him.  There’s something to be said about making sure that you get the guy you want in a draft and we applaud the Redskins for leaving nothing in the tank toward getting the charismatic and strong-armed quarterback.

As the second pick off the board behind the once in a lifetime player that is Andrew Luck, many personnel men were said to favor Griffin over Luck due to his leadership, mobility and impressive arm.  With quick feet, laser focus and the ability to throw accurately on the run, RGIII will be an immediate force in fantasy and could even push for QB1 status in his first year.  While we do prefer Luck ultimately as the top rookie player, RGIII could very well be more productive in fantasy.

Griffin’s tangible physical qualities on the field are only eclipsed by his energy, personality and obvious leadership abilities.  One only needs to listen briefly to Griffin as he speaks to fall prey to his charisma and engaging personality.  In a league fraught with egos and poor judgment, RGIII provides a quality long term foundation for any fantasy team.  Draft him with confidence if you are building a young team or if in possession of an aging veteran QB1 with good depth at other positions – he’s the type of player that you can overdraft and feel good about it.

Rex Grossman

Grossman is finally off the fantasy map and he’ll do nothing more than hold a clipboard.  There’s no reason to roster him in fantasy, but that’s not to say he wouldn’t have value in case of injury to RGIII.  Grossman’s ship has sailed and the 32 year old quarterback can now collect his checks while watching RGIII mature and develop.

Kirk Cousins

In a somewhat surprising move, the Redskins stepped up to select Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins in the 2012 rookie draft.  Clearly believing he has the talent to be an eventual starter in the NFL, Mike Shanahan has provided a youthful foundation that should be very valuable in years to come.  Whether Shanahan expects Cousins to develop for potential trade value or that he will be a valuable backup to RGIII, the quarterback developing coach felt strongly enough about him to risk the pick.

As the preseason unfolds in 2012, Cousins has looked capable and confident and Shanahan has to be smiling about the potential value to be had as he continues to develop.  Without first round selections in 2013 and 2014, one has to believe that Shanahn believes in the opportunity to develop Cousins with the potential of  bringing value in trade.  In the meantime, he’s got an impressive young quarterback foundation.

Running Backs

Tim Hightower

Good luck solving the mystery that is Washington’s running back situation in 2012.  Truth be told, this is a standard phrase in any year for any Mike Shanahan coached team.

After suffering an ACL injury in week seven against Carolina, the guessing game was on as to who would become the primary ball carrier for the Redskins.  Hightower had done little to secure the job, averaging only 3.8 yards per carry and scoring only a single touchdown on the ground.  With no 100 yard games to his credit in 2011, the writing was on the wall for Hightower, ACL injury or not.  Now with recovery moving slower than anticipated thus far in the preseason, Washington’s running game is wide open.

It’s been said that Hightower remains atop the depth chart when he returns to full health.  “Atop the depth chart” and “Mike Shanahan” are two phrases fantasy coaches have come not to trust.  Even if healthy, we don’t believe Hightower will garner a lion’s share of the carries.  Younger backs with greater size are on the roster and performing well.  Hightower’s best placement is as a third down role player.  At only 26 years of age, there’s still a chance he can regain some of his dynasty value, but we’d look elsewhere for our running back sleepers.  Actually, anywhere else than Washington if given the opporutnity.

Evan Royster

You spin the wheel, you take your chances.

The 2011 sixth round choice has good size and an even better work ethic, so he’s making his case for greater carries in 2012.  Royster appears to be a Shanahan favorite and is primarily competing with Roy Helu Jr. for the primary ball carrier role.  He’s a downhill runner without a tremendous amount of agility who won’t make many miss in the hole, but his hard nosed running technique and ability to churn out tough yards fits will within Shanahan’s system.  If he can avoid putting the ball on the ground, something that will put a back in the doghouse very quickly, we think Royster is the odds-on favorite for a material number of carries.

We can’t suggest over drafting Royster due to the enigma that is the Washington running game, but a selection near round ten as a risk-reward play is a worthy gamble.  At only 24 years of age, Royster still has the time to make a name for himself and as a lower round draft pick, Washington is just the place to do it.

Roy Helu Jr.

A fourth round selection himself in 2011, Helu managed to crank out 151 rushing attempts, gaining 640 yards, good for a 4.2 yards per carry average.  While this performance seemed to foretell greater production to come in following years, word has begun spreading that Helu is seen as a largely one dimensional change of pace back who is somewhat injury prone.  To wit, Helu is currently sitting out action with soreness in both Achilles tendons, but should be ready for week one duty.

Earlier a much higher pick, Helu’s value continues to slide.  With other backs stepping up their production and gaining practice reps, Helu appears to be one of those backs who could occupy a fantasy roster, but rarely draws a start, occupying valuable roster space.  We’re not suggesting that Helu be dropped to your waiver wire, however.  In a Mike Shanahan offense, all backs have value and Roy Helu’s value, while flagging, is half of what it was even earlier in 2012.

Alfred Morris

We highlighted Morris as our Washington Redskins’ sleeper candidate.

Tristan Davis

Only mentioned due to Mike Shanahan being in town.  He could be starting in week one or released.  In all seriousness, we don’t see Davis sticking on the roster with the play of Morris in camp to date.

Wide Receivers

Pierre Garcon

As one of the players involved in the mass exodus from Indianapolis, Garcon falls to a fine situation as the likely WR1 for Robert Griffin III.

Never a true WR1 in an offense before, having played across from Reggie Wayne, Garcon has the talent and ball skills to receive a significant number of receptions as the primary receiver.  Not having eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season, or more than six touchdowns, we like Garcon’s chances to do both in 2012.  Much will depend on Griffin’s development as well as the development of the young receivers around Garcon, but there’s a lot to like about his situation.

Ultimately, we’re not comfortable enough with his situation to hang a WR1 tag on his 2012 prospects, but as a low end WR2 or very high WR3, we like his upside.

Leonard Hankerson

With only 13 receptions in 2011, it’s difficult to project Hankerson’s 2012 impact.  As a sleeper candidate on many lists heading into 2012, we admit the athletic receiver out of Miami is an intriguing option in drafts in the early teen rounds.  He’s had a relatively quiet camp thus far in 2012, but at 6’2″, he has the size to be a difference maker, especially in the red zone.

He’s been inconsistent in the past, but at only 23 years of age, Hankerson makes for a nice buy-low candidate.

Santana Moss

Said to be on his way out of Washington following the draft, preseason is nearing completion and Moss remains a Redskin, working as hard as ever.  Having a good camp thus far and still a first team receiver, Moss will be forgotten too often in start-up drafts, in favor of players within the youth movement.  With only 12 games under his belt in 2011, Moss turned in his worst season since 2002, notching only 46 receptions for 584 yards and four touchdowns.

Like most of the Redskins’ receivers, it’s difficult to project just how productive Moss will ultimately be.  In the end, we expect the veteran to end up with the second most receptions on the team after Garcon.  That likely doesn’t amount to anything more than a flex role in fantasy, but Moss is not without upside should he develop a greater chemistry with new quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Josh Morgan

Always on the edge of fantasy production and flirting with rosters from his rookie year in 2008, Morgan now finds himself fighting for a roster spot on a Redskins team flush with receivers.  We don’t see Morgan as a rosterable player until such time that fantasy production is seen.  He’s been far too inconsistent both in the NFL and in fantasy and is he’s best as another dynasty team’s prospect or sleeper candidate.

Anthony Armstrong

Hope and a prayer for the 29 year old Armstrong.  Should he stick on the roster, he’ll likely be at the bottom of the depth chart and has little fantasy allure.  Move along, nothing to see.

Dezmon Briscoe

Signed by the Redskins following his release in Tampa Bay, Briscoe has another chance to make an impact, but has an uphill battle.  At only 23 years of age and with good size (6’2″/207), we like Briscoe’s chances of sticking on the roster and as an ultra-deep sleeper.  He’s not a player who needs to be rostered currently, but watch the development of the receivers around him as he awaits his chance.

Tight Ends

Fred Davis

Davis is slipping in drafts and can be had as late as the ninth round in new start-up.  Given his potential, we believe Davis makes for an intriguing TE1 selection.

He turned in a 59 reception performance in 2011, good for 796 yards and three touchdowns.  If not for a four game suspension due to a substance abuse violation, Davis was on pace for nearly 80 receptions and a likely 1,000 yards.  Vowing to learn from past mistakes and now with another year of maturity, 2012 is the year for Davis to prove his worth at the position.  With upside potential into the top five of the tight end position, we’re comfortable enough with Davis’ upside to select him as an under-drafted TE1, following the selection of other bigger names.

Chris Cooley

For everything that fellow tight end Fred Davis is not, Chris Cooley is.

Cooley had been counted on for material fantasy production from the position early in his career, only to fade over the past four years.  We did see 77 receptions for 849 yards in 2010, but that was followed by only eight receptions and 65 yards in an injury shortened 2011.

Cooley’s value is now purely as a backup should Fred Davis fall to injury.  Despite savvy route running and reliable hands, the big play potential of Davis is just too great to allow for Cooley to regain any significant level of fantasy production.  He’s rosterable in deeper leagues, but we believe other tight ends are more deserving.

That completes our exclusive dynasty capsules for 2012 for our premium content subscribers. Special thanks to all the writers of DLF who chipped in to produce no less than 64 of these articles, nearly 100,000 words, 500 player profiles and 32 sleepers over the past two months.

Jeff Haverlack
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