During the regular season, we'll look at the Redskins' weekly matchup from a fantasy football perspective. For those preparing for fantasy drafts, here's what to keep an eye on during Monday night's matchup against the Cleveland Browns.
- Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson - Washington's top two wide outs are expected to make their preseason debut after sitting out the opener versus New England with various ailments. Garcon (hamstring) is locked in as a mid-WR2 in standard scoring leagues, a touch higher in PPR formats. As for Jackson (knee), connecting on a big play or two in his Redskins debut should get fantasy owners jazzed and perhaps take him off the fantasy-players-to-avoid-list. Right now, the shifty receiver's average draft position (ADP) puts him into the WR2/WR3 range. The biggest and most obvious key for both receivers Monday night is staying healthy.
- Jordan Reed - Currently part of a thick tier that of tight ends that represent good value for those that miss out on the likes of Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. Don't panic if Reed looks a bit rusty after missing several practices with an injury. He belongs inside the top 10 at his position.
- Alfred Morris - Fantasy players know what they're getting from Morris on the ground: Around 1,300 rushing yards and at least 8-10 touchdowns this season. They would be giddy if "Alf" would surprise them with his production in the passing game. If we could pencil Morris in for 25-30 receptions, we're talking about a borderline RB1 option in standard leagues and a mid-TE2 threat in PPR. Be excited if he hauls in a few catches against the Browns and looks comfortable doing so.
- Roy Helu - The fourth-year veteran remains Washington's third-down back and Morris handcuff. For simplicity sake, hope that Helu doesn't open the door for any competition from Lache Seastrunk or Silas Redd.
- Robert Griffin III - Griffin is a polarizing player within the fantasy community this season; nobody denies his massive potential (No. 1 fantasy player in 2012 before his first knee injury), but some can't get look past the sizable downside (limited rushing attempts, knee, new offense). The Redskins scored a field goal on their lone offensive possession last week with RGIII at quarterback. Sounds like coach Jay Gruden expects the starters to go "at least a quarter" on Monday which likely means 2-3 possessions this game. We'll see if either side in the RGIII discussion feels more secure in their stance after Monday. RGIII ranks eighth on my QB board, but I'm not exactly targeting him in drafts either.
The defense and kicker
- If Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan can apply pressure, which in turn takes pressure off the spotty secondary, the defense has a chance at being a streaming option. That's especially true with quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chad Henne, Eli Manning (twice), Carson Palmer, Jake Locker, Matt Cassell on the schedule. Monday will be a good test for Orakpo and Kerrigan versus a solid offensive line. The real pass rush intrigue comes when defensive linemen Jason Hatcher returns next week.
On the other side...
- Johnny Manziel will be at FedEx Field Monday night. Whether he should be on your fantasy team on draft night comes down to whether he starts for the Browns Week 1 and whether you believe in Johnny Football. Color me skeptical about Manziel finding tremendous success as an NFL quarterback, but his scrambling ways make him a potential fantasy QB2 option and one with crazy trade potential. If he shines against the Redskins and is named the starter over Brian Hoyer, his ADP will soar.
- Ben Tate versus Terrance West: Tate is the starter, but the rookie from Towson is the one to own.
- While we wait on Josh Gordon's suspension appeal, we search for Browns top fantasy wide receiver. Miles Austin? Andrew Hawkins?