Fantasy Football Offensive Evaluation: Washington Redskins

It's one thing to have an offensive team moniker like "Redskins" but its another thing to go out and just play terribly.  At least give us a good show while you go out there and disgrace an entire race and community.

The last decade of Washington football is a testament to the fact that you can't just try to get by on "good enough" at the quarterback position.  Patrick Ramsey, an old Mark Brunell, and Jason Campbell have gotten them no higher than 13th in the NFL in scoring and they've finished 20th or lower in 9 of the last 11 seasons. 

So far, that hasn't changed.  They gave it a shot with Donovan McNabb last season, and now with that experiment over, they're entering 2011 with perhaps the worst QB battle (or battle at any position) in the league in quite some time.  Rex Grossman or John Beck?  It's not quite the same as deciding if you're going to drive the Beamer or the Benz today, is it?

If that wasn't bad enough, they've moved on from the Clinton Portis era without a proven running back, their leading wide receiver is 32, and their number one tight endis questionable for the start of the season.  While NFC East-mate Philadelphia could have 3 players drafted in the first 2 rounds of fantasy drafts, the Redskins will be lucky to have 3 players total that would even be worth a roster spot. 

Let's try to find some bright spots on this offense, shall we?

Jump...

Quarterback

Rex Grossman

Remember when Rex Grossman was good?

Confused?  Yeah, that was a trick question.  Grossmanhas never been good.  Did I fool you?  You're probably thinking to yourself "Didn't he start in a Super Bowl though?"

Yes, that's true he did.  The Bears managed to somehow go 13-3 under Grossman and make the Super Bowl in 2006.  Despite his best efforts to stop them, they made it to the big one and then lost a lackluster game to the Colts

That year, he completed just under 50% of his passes for 3,193 yards, 23 TDs, 20 INTS, and a 73.9 QB rating.  Grossman had 4 games that season in which he threw 0 TDs against 3 or more interceptions.  Going 13-3 under Grossman isn't that much different than when they went 11-2 under Jim Miller.  At least Jim Miller was never expected to do anything.

Grossman is now in his 9th season and trying to get his first real starting gig since his Chicago days.  He made 3 starts for Washington last year, and he did top 300 yards in 2 of them with 7 TDs and 4 INTs.  He still can't complete 60% of his passes, he's still going to throw picks, he's still Rex Grossman.  There is really nothing to see here if you're seriously trying to win your fantasy league.

John Beck

Did you know that John Beck is a real person?   Apparently, he actually exists, and he wants you to know that he hasn't been given a shot in the NFL because its all their fault and not mine at all!  Beck was drafted by the Dolphins out of BYU in the 2nd round of the 2007 draft.  He started 4 games that year (they went 0-4) and he threw 107 passes for 1 TD, 3 INTS, and 559 yards.  That's all you will find on his player page.  That's it. 

He then spent time in Baltimore and now three full seasons past the last time he played in an NFL game, he's actually got a real shot at starting for the Redskins.  He's 30 years old and this is the Redskins savior?  He was 14 of 17 for 140 yards against the Colts in the last preseason game.  If I couldn't recommend you Rex Grossman, who is so bad that he's competing against John Beck, then how could I recommend you the actual John Beck?  This is like a vicious cycle of suckiness.

Running Back

Tim Hightower

He spent 3 years splitting carries in Arizona with some success, averaging 4.8 YPC last season.  But the Cardinals used a high draft pick on running back Ryan Williams and dealt Hightower to the Redskins.  (Oops)

With Portis gone, Hightower is going to make a good case for himself as the primary ball-carrier in Washington, and under a Mike Shanahan offense that isn't something to be ignored.  Right now, Hightower is dropping all the way to 126th on average in fantasy drafts.  There's good reason to be cautious against Hightower.  He's never had a big season overall, he's competing with Ryan Torain, it's the Redskins.  But there are at least a few reasons why you should snag Hightower before the 10th round:

  • The Cardinals have always stunk at running the ball and he was never given a real shot to be the premier back in Arizona. 
  • He rushed for over 100 yards twice last season and 5 touchdowns total in limited action.
  • Ryan Torain is hurt, giving Hightower the opportunity to set himself as the #1 back
  • Mike Shanahan
  • Hightower has a knack for breaking off the big run.  He had an 80 yard run last season, a 50 yard run in 2009, and a 30 yard run in 2008, his rookie season.

Hightower is an excellent sleeper option for the 8th round, but I think his stock will start going up soon.  He had a 58 yard run against Indianapolis in the last preseason game.

Ryan Torain

Shanahan originally drafted Torain in the 5th round in 2008 out of Arizona State to his Denver Broncos.  In his time in Denver, he was riddled with injuries andmissed the entire 2009 season with a torn ACL.  Shanahan brought Torain over to Washington after he was released by the Broncos, and Torain rushed 742 yards in 10 games.  He had 3 games of 100 or more yards, including 172 yards against Tampa Bay.  This can't be stressed enough: Torain still got injured last year, and he's recovering from a broken hand this year.  Still, because of the fresh taste of that 172-yard game or something, he's being drafted ahead of Hightower.  I'd personally much rather have Hightower, but either one could be the main back, or be in a ball-share, in Washington.  But I can't trust him to make more than a handful of starts before getting hurt again.

Roy Helu

Going completely undrafted will be 4th round pick Roy Helu.  He holds the Nebraska single-game rushing record with 307 yards, which he did against Missouri last year.  He's an interesting deep sleeper candidate in Shanahan's offense.  He rushed for 101 yards on 14 carries against Indy in preseason week 2, with a long of 51.

Wide Receiver

Santana Moss

He went from being a walk-on at Miami to their all-time leading receiver to a 1st round pick of the Jets.  Moss has long been one of the faster receivers in the league and even without much of a passing game in Washington has been steadily productive.  He caught 93 passes last year for 1,115 yards and 6 TDs.  He's now 32 years old and probably with an even lesser QB throwing him the ball this year than he's ever had.  He's going 35th amongst WRs in drafts, and that's probably good value as you're still waiting for age to catch up withhim.  But maybe it doesn't and that makes him an above-average WR3.

Jabar Gaffney

Last season in Denver, Gaffney had a career high 875 yards and in one game against the Colts he caught 12 passes for 140 yards.  Now he's in Washington, in a less pass-happy offense, with a lesser QB, and he turns 31 this year.  No thanks.

Anthony Armstrong

I have to admit that I'm new to the Anthony Armstrong bandwagon, but now that I've caught up on his story I'm rooting for him to have continued success.  Armstrong wasn't recruited much out of high school.  He went to West Texas A&M and wasn't on anyone's NFL draft radar.  He played in the Intense Football League and Arena Football League before catching on with the Dolphins practice squad in 2008.  Last season he made his NFL debut with the Redskins and he caught 44 passes for 871 yards and his 19.8 YPC was amongst the highest in the league.  Armstrong is still going completely unnoticed in fantasy, which is fair, but he could be an interesting sleeper to watch.

Leonard Hankerson

Moss passed Michael Irvin for most career receiving yards at the U, and Hankerson passed Irvin for most single-season receiving yards at the U when he had 1,156 last season.  The Skins drafted him in the 3rd round of this years draft.  The Skins are deep at WR, so Hankerson would have to really surprise to get a lot of PT this year.  He had 3 catches for 46 yards in the preseason against the Colts. 

Donte Stallworth

He is also here.  Man, the Redskins have a lot of interesting receivers. Too bad they don't have a QB to throw it to them.  If this was the Saints WR corps, I'd give them all nice upgrades.

Tight End

Chris Cooley

He's been one of the steadiest tight ends in the league since 2004, never really breaking out for a giant year, but always catching between 60 and 80 passes for anywhere from 700-850 yards and a few scores.  He's usually the tight end you throw in there when you don't want to punt the position completely, but don't want to spend a pick on one of the fancier models.  But Cooley is recovering from a knee injury right now and though he wants to be back by week 1, there's no guarantee he will be, or that it won't linger throughout the season.  I'd pass on Cooley until he's for sure healthy, and even then he has limited value in non-PPR leagues.

Fred Davis

He's a former 2nd round pick out of USC who always looked to me like a player who should be better than he actually is.  He's big, seems quick, should be a good target.  But he's been inconsistent and can't surpass Cooley on the depth chart.  Maybe if given an opportunity again, he could run with it to be a good fantasy tight end.  Cooley missed 9 games in 2009 and Davis stepped up for 41 catches, 464 yards and 6 TDs in the final 10 games of that season.  At this point, he's undraftable except for really deep leagues.  If Cooley doesn't play much this season, Davis is a sneaky option.

 

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