Fantasy Football 2012: Breaking Down the Washington Redskins

What can the Washington Redskins do for you this fantasy season? Check out Athlon Sports' team report as we break down the rookies, veteran players to watch and avoid, fantasy playoff schedule and more to help you get ready for the 2012 season.

Inside the Locker Room
with Rich Campbell, Washington Times

What are reasonable fantasy expectations for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III?
It would be difficult for any rookie to equal what Cam Newton did last season. RG3 could get there, but let’s start lower. Grossman and John Beck last season combined for 4,009 yards, 18 touchdowns and 24 interceptions with a 58.4 completion percentage. The yardage total is a testament to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s ability to devise a quality scheme and exploit matchups. Griffin completed 72.4 percent of his passes at Baylor last season with 36 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Despite being a rookie, he should protect the ball this season better than Grossman and Beck did. You also can expect some rushing production. That at least makes Griffin a viable fantasy option after the first and second tiers of proven NFL passers. And if you’re in a keeper league, RG3’s value skyrockets.

Will Mike Shanahan pick one running back and stick with him? Or is Roy Helu Jr. doomed to be part of a committee?
The Redskins are going to employ a committee approach until they acquire a running back they can’t afford to take off the field. Think Terrell Davis or Arian Foster level. Washington is still searching for that player, so for now they’ll go with Tim Hightower, Helu and Evan Royster. Hightower is positioned to be the starter despite coming off a torn ACL in his left knee. Redskins coaches believe him to be a strong fit for the outside zone scheme because of his speed and vision. Helu fits more as a backup for now.

Will Fred Davis be the top pass-catching fantasy option on this team? Or will it be one of the young, promising wide receivers?
Kyle Shanahan wants to spread the ball around and exploit matchups. That Davis led the team in receptions last season at the time of his suspension was as much a product of a lack of other receiving options as it was Davis’ talent. Now that Davis is surrounded by receivers such as Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, relying on Davis to consistently be the top pass-catcher is a mistake.

At 37 years old, can London Fletcher still be a productive fantasy starter?
Fletcher continued to defy his age last season and led the NFL with 166 tackles. His vision, intelligence and preparation help him make plays, but he still is physically stout, as well. At some point his body is going to break down, but he has played in 224 consecutive games, so feel good about riding this wave until it does.

Athlon's Best Bets

Sleeper: Pierre Garcon, WR
Deep-Sleeper: Evan Royster, RB
Overvalued: Roy Helu, RB
Top Rookie: Robert Griffin III, QB
Bounce-Back: Leonard Hankerson, WR
Top IDP: London Fletcher, LB

2012 Draft Class

1. Robert Griffin III QB 6-2 223 Baylor
3. Josh LeRibeus G/C 6-3 312 SMU
4. Kirk Cousins QB 6-3 214 Michigan State
4. Keenan Robinson ILB 6-3 242 Texas
5. Adam Gettis G 6-2 293 Iowa
6. Alfred Morris RB 5-9 219 FAU
6. Tom Compton T 6-5 314 South Dakota
7. Richard Crawford CB 5-11 191 SMU
7. Jordan Berstine S 5-11 205 Iowa

Fantasy Impact: After years of mediocre quarterback play, the Redskins traded up to acquire Robert Griffin III as the team’s new signal-caller. Alfred Morris was a solid late-round pickup and is a good fit for Washington’s zone-rushing attack. However, he is a long shot to have any fantasy value this season. Kirk Cousins has a shot to serve as Griffin’s backup.

Fantasy Playoff Run: Weeks 14-16 (BAL, at CLE, at PHI)

It could be tough sledding for the Redskins and RGIII in the fantasy postseason. The Browns and Ravens were ranked first and third, respectively, against fantasy QBs last season and the Eagles ranked 15th. And the Browns and Ravens were first and sixth, respectively, against WRs. On the flip side for Roy Helu, the Browns and Eagles and both ranked poorly against fantasy RBs.

Dominate Your Fantasy Football League! Click here for the ultimate online resource for mock drafts, positional rankings, Athlon's Top 250 and more.

You can order your award-winning Athlon Sports NFL Fantasy Football preview magazine here.

More Stories: