What football fan (young or old) isn't excited about the upcoming 2013 NFL season that is now less than 25 days upon us?
With eternal optimism reaching every fanbase from Cleveland to Jacksonville, this is the time when we all think as diehard fans, "Hey, if things play out this way and we catch a break or two, who knows?"
What might even be more exciting is the prospect of starting up a fantasy football league once again.
I, like many veteran fantasy players out there, return to league(s) that have been going on for several years. As draft dates are set around the country as we head into late August, it might be time to do some homework on the transgressions around the league.
Today, I wanted to analyze the overall fantasy value of the 2013 Washington Redskins both on offense and defense.
Washington Redskins 2012 Team Stats:
Points Per Game: 27.3 (4th in NFL)
Total Yards Per Game: 383.2 (5th in NFL)
Pass Yards Per Game: 213.9 (20th in NFL)
Rush Yards Per Game: 169.3 (1st in NFL)
Points Per Game: 24.3 (22nd in NFL)
Total Yards Per Game: 377.7 (28th in NFL)
Pass Yards Per Game: 281.9 (30th in NFL)
Rush Yards Per Game: 95.8 (5th in NFL)
What do these stats tell us?
The 2012 Washington Redskins had a magical season turning around a horrendous 3-6 start to win their last seven games and win the NFC East in dramatic fashion with a win over arch rival Dallas in Week 17.
As most of you know, rookies QB Robert Griffin III and RB Alfred Morris revolutionized the Redskins usually dormant offense to lead the league's best rushing attack. This helped RGIII tremendously in the passing game leading to a more patient and efficient attack leading to hardly any turnovers from the Rookie of the Year.
On defense, the Redskins routinely struggled against the pass and had a tough time generating consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks with the amount of injuries suffered in 2012, most notably All-Pro LB Brian Orakpo.
QB: Robert Griffin III - 3,200 Passing Yards, 20 TDs, 5 INT, 815 Rush Yards, 7 TDs
The season ended on a very sour note for the young phenom when he went down in the Wild Card playoff matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. We all saw the injury, it was ugly, really ugly. Only seven months removed from a total knee reconstruction, RGIII is pushing his limits already in training camp.
The Redskins have continued hope he will be ready by Week 1 to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. One cannot expect a total repeat performance from the quarterback in 2013.
He will be tested early and often and I expect defense(s) around the league to defend the famed 'Zone Read Option' a lot better in 2013. Even putting my fanhood aside, I would have to temper my draft expectations for RGIII as there are safer and more reliable options out there at QB, (i.e. Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, etc).
Draft RGIII at your own risk, but I wouldn't spend a pick on him until rounds 3-6. Backup Kirk Cousins is nice insurance if you can afford a bench spot pickup during the season as RGIII's running ability puts him at risk for injury at any point.
RB: Alfred Morris - 1,613 Rush Yards, 13 TDs
Alfred Morris deserved more credit and attention for the fantastic year he put together for the burgundy and gold. Finishing second in the league in rushing, behind only Adrian Peterson, Morris barely got any votes for Rookie of the Year and was a snub for the Pro Bowl.
The 6th round pick came out of nowhere last season to become the latest in Mike Shanahan's carousel of RBs to break out in a big way (Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Terrell Davis, etc). Many claim it's just the system, but I believe Morris is a gamechanger. He never goes down with the first hit and runs like a man possessed.
Expect a season very similar for Morris, and he is routinely going in the mid-to-late picks of Round 1 in fantasy drafts.
Handcuff yourself with backup RB Roy Helu Jr. as he looks to return from injury in 2013. The speedster is a perfect compliment to the hard-nosed style Morris brings and is a elite pass catcher out of the backfield.
WRs: Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson
On draft day, one shouldn't concern themselves with the group of Redskins' receivers for 2013.
Although not the worst group in the league, many outside of the diehard Redskins' fan base will not see much potential here.
The only must-own of the group is Pierre Garcon who has some injury questions himself after missing seven games last year due to an injured foot.
Garcon turned down offseason surgery on the foot and has said he just needs to learn to play through the discomfort at times.
This is alarming for the Redskins No. 1 option on the outside. The 'Skins were 9-1 with Garcon in the lineup and he is worth owning as a WR2 or WR3 in most standard leagues.
Outside of that, Morgan, Moss, Hankerson and Robinson are all basically the same player in terms of fantasy value. Think a few hundred yards, 40-50 catches and maybe a couple touchdowns, but nothing spectacular. Moss led the team with eight last season but is another year older and routinely dissappears in some games out of the slot. Hankerson is the real question mark here, in his third-year, the expectations are for him to take that next step. Who knows?
TE: Fred Davis, Jordan Reed, Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen
Similar to the WR position, the Redskins have intriguing options at tight end, but nothing spectacular enough to salivate over come draft day. Obviously, Fred Davis is the No. 1 option here and his rapport with RGIII is uncanny, hitting the seams of the defense in the play action passing game. Davis can be an explosive game-changer but is coming off an torn Achillies injury suffered in Week 7 @NYG.
Watch him in preseason to see if he has his athleticism back, otherwise look elsewhere for a TE. The backups here need no mention in terms of wasting a pick in fantasy drafts, they are only names in case of another injury to Davis and someone is really, really desperate for a tight end during a bye week or something of that sort.
The Redskins have always been what I can best describe as a "tweener" defense in terms of fantasy value. Good enough to own on most weeks but we give you a it's share of clunkers. Definitely not in the same conversation as a Seattle, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, etc, but not in the depths of despair with the likes of Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, ranked at the bottom.
The return of Brian Orakpo should help their pass rush which struggled in 2012. Pairing him with LB Ryan Kerrigan gives the 'Skins a formidable one-two punch from the outside which should increase sack totals.
The secondary is cause of concern but has been infused with youth in both the draft and free agency and should be at least a little bit better (couldn't be much worse in 2012). Rookies CB David Amerson and SS Baccari Rambo look to make immeadiate impacts as starters. FS Brandon Meriweather also looks to return after a torn ACL in 2012.
Kicker: Kai Forbath, 17/18 FGs
The rookie was a revelation last season for the Redskins giving fans hope of a legitmate kicker the franchise hasn't had in nearly 10-15 years. With the way the Skins move the football and score points, don't sleep on Forbath on draft day.