Haslett on Denver: 'I think our guys are up to the challenge'
Our weekly look at the Redskins' matchup from a fantasy football perspective...
Good news for Pierre Garcon: The Broncos have struggled against No. 1 receivers, allowing an average of 107 yards per game. Dez Bryant went for 141 yards and two scores on six receptions in Week 5 and then Justin Blackmon caught a staggering 14 receptions one game later. Victor Cruz and Denarius Moore also had their way with a Denver secondary that has allowed eight touchdowns on the season, which is good news for those owners still hoping Leonard Hankerson or Santana Moss can help.
All of that offers hope that Garcon will reach the century mark for the first time since Week 2 and find the end zone for the first time since Washington's bye week. No. 88 has at least five receptions in every game this season. Hankerson and Moss are not trustworthy options, but if you're ever going to use them, this might be the week for those in need.
As for Jordan Reed, great googily moogily has he been good, especially his catch radius. After catching all nine of his targets for 134 yards and a touchdown, the rookie faces a Denver defense allowing the seventh most points to fantasy tight ends. The Broncos allowed over 100 receiving yards to TEs in four of their first five games, but gave up just 75 combined (with a touchdown) over the last two games. Even if Denver figured something out, clearly the Redskins have has well. Feed Reed on slants, over the middle, wherever, just throw him the ball. Besides, you know he's going to catch it. Reed is easily inside the top-10 this week.
Here is what I wrote about Roy Helu and tangentially Alfred Morris this week in my Week 8 "Pickups" column: "Forget Helu's three touchdowns in Week 7. He's not duplicating that feat or possibly even scoring three more touchdowns over the rest of the season. Instead, focus on the usage. Over the last three games, Helu is averaging 12.3 touches and 69 yards (by comparison, Miami's Lamar Miller is averaging 11.3 touches over his last three games). That's way past handcuff territory, but rather legit Flex consideration. Actually, considering the numerous injuries and viable backs on bye, Helu is a RB2 option this week. With the Redskins facing Peyton Manning and the Broncos, expect Washington to throw lots. That means more Helu and less Alfred Morris (relative to their weekly norms).
Through seven games, Denver is allowing the seventh most points to fantasy running backs. Surrendering 10 touchdowns including at least one rushing score in each of its first six games doesn't help. Well, it helps those hopes for big weeks out of Helu and Morris. Considering the expected high-scoring scenario, those hoping should get their wish.
From Rotoworld's Evan Silva on Robert Griffin III - "Skins-Broncos has the week's highest over-under at 58.5 points. You want to play quarterbacks in high-scoring affairs, and this sets up as one with Robert Griffin III returning from his best game of 2013. Making incremental progress each week coming off January knee surgery, Griffin ran with explosion for the second straight game and passed with better ball placement than he has all year in Washington's Week 7 win over Chicago. More running from Griffin opens up the play-action game, making defenses easier to diagnose with "either-or" reads. RG3 is about to go on a roll." Yeah, what he said.
The defense and kicker
Logically, no fantasy owner should plan to start a defense versus Peyton Manning, especially in leagues that penalize for points and yards allowed. Then again, both Jacksonville and Indianapolis reached double digits over the last two weeks as the Broncos gave up a touchdown, four sacks, four fumbles and two interceptions. We know the Redskins defense has made a habit of scoring, but come on; you can find a better matchup. As for Kai Forbath, we love kickers in projected high-scoring games, but it's a touch dicey since keeping up with the Broncos doesn't mean kicking field goals. Consider Forbath a starter this week.
On the other side...
What's there to say other than start all your Broncos because 1) They're offense is great and 2) the Redskins defense is not. It will be interesting to see if Peyton Manning's velocity issues that cropped up after taking a hit last week are a factor. It will be less interesting to see how Denver uses its non-Knowshon Moreno running backs since Ronnie Hillman reportedly will be inactive. Montee Ball and undrafted C.J. Anderson should pick up the extra snaps and touches. Both are worth lottery tickets in truly deep leagues.
In addition to CSNwashington duties covering the Wizards, Hoyas and the college basketball scene, Ben writes about and ranks fantasy football players for FFToolbox.com, rated the most accurate site for the 2012 season.