Fantasy Fix Week 5: Better days for RGIII?

Fantasy Fix Week 5: Better days for RGIII?
October 3, 2013, 6:15 pm
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Shanahan: Bye week "starts season all over"

(Cary Edmondson/ USA Today Sports)

Our weekly look at the Redskins' match-up from a fantasy football perspective goes into review and projection mode during the bye week. After starting with the wide receivers and tight ends, we turn to the runners, defense and that RGIII fella.

Alfred Morris

Then (from my Redskins fantasy season preview): "How does a sixth round pick rack up 1,613 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns and not finish as the top rookie on his own team? Only Robert Griffin III's star power could overshadow Morris's stellar campaign, but fortunate fantasy owners noticed. Based on the historical success of Mike Shanahan runners, reasonable minds can project another dynamic season. ... Morris equaling his rookie stats is likely a bridge too far, but the power back is still one to own in the late first/early second round range."

Now: Only LeSean McCoy has a higher a yards per carry average than Morris (5.3) among top-20 fantasy running backs. Alas, the Redskins first-half scoring woes have led to early deficits and limited carries. Morris hasn't topped 16 touches in any game this season, though he would have exceeded 20 last week against Oakland if not for the rib injury. Considering the Redskins offensive issues, fantasy owners cannot be displeased with Morris' production. Considering Roy Helu's likely expanded role _ assuming the Shanahan's want another playmaking threat on the field _ those same owners could be a touch frustrated going forward. Assuming the rib injury is indeed minor, Morris remains no less than a RB2 in all formats.

Roy Helu

Then: "Helu went from an explosive rookie season to missing virtually all of his sophomore season with leg injuries - and losing his starting role to Alfred Morris. The dual threat racked up over 1,000 yards scrimmage in his first season out of Nebraska, but at this point the Redskins would be happy if Helu can keep his shifty self on the field. ...Helu is expected to be ready for training camp and making it to opening day would be a win. If he does, we're talking about a late, late round flyer, but one who has flashed his productive ways before."

Now: Helu certainly produced in relief of Morris against Oakland, racking up 84 yards and a touchdown on 15 touches - nine more than he had combined in the previous three games. With the suspect pass defenses coming up on Washington's schedule, the coaching staff likely gets Helu more involved. Considering the inconsistency at tight end and the WR2/3 slots, getting Helu involved should be a priority regardless. That doesn't mean he's suddenly a weekly fantasy threat, but 7-10 touches could make him Flex worthy especially in PPR formats. For those holding Helu as a lottery ticket, keep holding.

Robert Griffin III

Then: "Well, how much fun was that? Talk about your showy debuts. RGIII kept his Heisman Trophy winning momentum flowing with a dynamic rookie campaign, one filled with breathtaking runs, precise passes and enough personality to melt the heart of even the most jaded sportswriter. ... If healthy, RGIII is a top-5 QB at the very least. However, even though his medical reports are apparently trying to outrace Adrian Peterson's for positivity, we're still not certain whether he'll be all in for Week 1. Also, will the Redskins put the face off the franchise in position to rush for 815 yards as he did last year? Bottom line, fantasy football is supposed to be about fun and nobody is more fun to own than RGIII. Of course, it's also a game worth winning and therefore strategy counts. Considering the injury uncertainty (as of early) July and the incredible depth at the QB position this year, consider Griffin a low-end QB1 for now. If he's your starter, don't wait long to add a stable backup option like an Eli Manning, Joe Flacco or Sam Bradford in case RGIII isn't quite ready."

Now: Garbage points count, oh yes they do, but right now that's all RGIII is supplying for fantasy owners and certainly not rushing yards. Through four games, Griffin has 72 yards on the ground. In his first four games last season, RGIII twice rushed for over 72 yards in a single game. That's the area in which he proved no mere mortal, but he's certainly been all kinds of mortal this season. The good news is that he's now had four games _ i.e., a preseason _ plus a bye week to rest and learn. Griffin also looked a bit more spry in the win over Oakland, though the running remained absent. For a quarterback, the upcoming schedule offers sincere opportunity. Five of Washington's next six games are against teams (Cowboys, Broncos, Chargers, Vikings, Eagles) ranked among the bottom-six pass defenses. Oddly enough _ and especially since he's on a bye _ Griffin makes for a worthy buy-low candidate right now. Just don't assume he'll be last season's dynamic fantasy threat until his legs start running north/south.

Defense/Special Teams

Then: "Another case of being better in the real world than the fantasy version. The Redskins' D turned in a strong performance, ranking top-11 in yards and points allowed. Of course, most of fantasy production comes in picks and sacks and in those areas, yikes. Washington tied for last with eight interceptions, 20th in sacks with 33. There is reason for hope with the dragging down the QB behind the line of scrimmage thing seeing as Brian Orakpo returns after missing 14 games with injury and Ryan Kerrigan has 16 in two NFL seasons. The secondary is a much bigger concern, especially on the NFL level, though DeAngelo Hall can make a big play at times. Consider the Redskins a bye week option.

Now: So, about that first line...Yeah, it's been opposite world for the Redskins defense. Pick-six galore, second in the NFL with 15 sacks. That's good enough for a top-10 showing in leagues that don't penalize for points and yards allowed. While the Kerrigan-Orakpo pass rushing force should continue, the interception returns should not. Ultimately the Redskins are matchup and big play dependant, which is not a recipe for weekly play not something they're showing is possible in the kick return game. Upcoming martchups against Romo and Cutler, Cassel, Vick and Eli Manning have promise if Washington can avoid falling behind lots quickly. Week 8 against Peyton Manning does not.