Our weekly look at the Redskins' match-up from a fantasy football perspective goes into review and projection mode during the bye week, starting with the wide receivers and tight ends.
Then (from my Redskins fantasy season preview): "If Garcon can stay active 15-16 games, projecting him to (nearly) double those 2012 stats (44--633-4) isn't unreasonable, especially if RGIII's recovery remains positive. Quibble at the injury risk, his and his quarterbacks, but Garcon is clearly the Redskins top receiver - and clearly a WR2 in every format."
Now: Considering his quarterbacks' rustiness, considering the lack of consistent pass catching help around him, Garcon's weekly and season-long production is impressive. In points-per-reception (PPR) formats, the physical target is seventh among fantasy receivers in total points. He has at least six catches every week, ranks fifth in targets (44), 12th in receiving yards (339) and found the end zone twice. Five of Washington's next six games are against teams (Cowboys, Broncos, Chargers, Vikings, Eagles) ranked among the bottom-six pass defenses. If the offense figures how to generate production before halftime, Garcon should maintain his high-WR2 status most weeks.
Then: "(Josh) Morgan turned out to be just what he was with the 49ers: a capable pass catcher that best helps an offense as a run blocker. That's good stuff for Alfred Morris, but another season with 48 receptions for 510 yards and two scores won't do much for fantasy owners. ... Until further notice, he is just an option in deep, deep leagues."
Now: Through four games Morgan is on pace for 36 receptions, 460 yards and zero touchdowns. Even if he ticks up enough to reach last season's stats, that won't do much for fantasy owners. Huh, where have I read that before? Until he scores or pops for over 75 yards, we're sticking with the same analysis: It's not often said of a player that led his team in receptions the previous season, but unless your league gives points for blocks, there is no case for owning Morgan, let alone starting him. So let's move on to...
Then: "Everyone loves looking for sleepers. Wide receivers entering their third season are always a popular spot to search for flyers. When fantasy owners do, they will come across the 6-foot-2 Hankerson, who showed good pop as a sophomore after injuries and inconsistency wrecked his rookie season. ...Outside of Pierre Garcon, Hankerson has the freakiest physical gifts of the Redskins wide outs and offers RGIII a sincere Red Zone threat. Seeing as Morgan is more of a blocking option and Santana Moss is closer to the end than the beginning of his career, opportunity exists for Hank to emerge as a primary threat. ... Don't sleep on this sleeper in the late rounds, assuming he builds on his more consistent second season during his third training camp."
Now: Frankly, I'm disappointed the word "tease" never made it into the preview post. For both the Redskins and fantasy owners, that's a reasonable way to describe Hankerson. After generating a 5-80-2 stat line in the season opener, no scores over the next three games and no games with even 50 receiving yards. Still, he's been involved most weeks, is tied for second with Santana Moss in receptions (15) and has received more snaps than Josh Morgan over recent games. Considering the Redskins upcoming schedule and likely improvement from his quarterback, Hankerson remains a worthy fantasy flyer in deep leagues, but don't be afraid to cut bait for others.
Then: "Just when we're ready to write off the aged Santana Moss, the shifty veteran plays the full 16 game schedule and scores eight touchdowns, his most scores since 2005. That TD production helped the Redskins offset injuries to Pierre Garcon and Fred Davis, but tread lightly into believing Moss is anything more than a deep league fill in going forward. ... As a matchup play here or there, it is conceivable Moss is worthy of a pickup, As a back-bencher, fantasy owners in standard leagues with a 14-16 player roster would be wise to pass on Moss and go for those with true flyer potential."
Now: Moss is on pace for 60 receptions, 688 yards and four touchdowns. Yeah, nothing to see here unless the offense flips the switch even a little. Even then, Moss would remain behind Garcon's production and Hankerson's potential.
Then: "Davis entered the 2012 season with significant momentum thanks to a breakout campaign the year before. He left it with a shredded Achilles in Week 7. ... What should fantasy owners expect ...? That is a great question and for now one without a viable answer, though it is hard imagining Davis immediately returning to his downfield prowess. Though the Redskins drafted Jordan Reed to serve as a TE pass catcher, the starting role is Davis' (assuming he can answer the call). Considering the general weakness at the TE position, Davis is a sneaky fantasy play, but for now is simply a TE2, and a low-end one at that."
Now: Admittedly, my interest in Davis grew over the preseason when quarterbacks other than RGIII found him. Two weeks into the regular season we reached cut bait time. Between injuries, Jordan Reed, no catches in Week 4 and just general malaise, there is no reason owners should reel him back onto their rosters.
Then: Embracing the trendy two-TE plan sweeping the NFL, Washington drafted Florida's Reed in the third round. ...Seeing as starter Fred Davis is recovering from an Achilles injury and the Redskins' WR 2/3 positions are not locked down by studs, there is room for an emerging talent to shine. Is that guy Reed? Eh, probably not initially, but if he flashes enough potential he could make Davis expendable next offseason, which is why keeper and dynasty league owners should track Reed's training camp progress."
Now: Reed flashed his pass catching talents earlier than expected, hauling in 13 with a touchdown in three games before sitting out last week with a quad injury. Though he's yet to make many big gainers (8.2 ypc), he emerged pre-injury as Washington top pass-catching tight end. Fantasy owners cobbling together a TE rotation because they missed out on the Jordan Cameron's and Julius Thomas' would be wise to monitor this top-20-25 option.
Part 2 (Thursday): Running backs, kicker, defense and that RGIII fella