Let's all just agree on a few assumptions out of the gate. I understand that there are plenty of reasons--good reasons with good supporting arguments--why someone would disagree with this premise, but it has been a long time since there were potentially SIX very relevant Redskins offensive players in fantasy football.
We should all be able to agree that Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson will be drafted as fantasy starters for most 12-team league formats. Each of these players has put up the numbers to justify their position in fantasy this year. In Jordan Reed's case, he did enough while healthy to put himself in position to be someone's starter this season.
After this group, who is next up to be drafted from the Redskins team? I won't get too cute and suggest any rookies here. Ryan Grant and Lache Seastrunk could turn out to be contributors, but predicting that would only solidify my standing as the homeristy homer of all time. That said...Grant is legit. Ha.
I was thinking that the other options really consist of Andre Roberts, Roy Helu, the Redskins DST (defense/special teams unit) and Kirk Cousins.
Kirk Cousins is in play because...well, we all know why Captain Kirk is relevant. In fact, he is more than just a handcuff for Griffin these days because of the likelihood that he will see the field. Roster spots are precious, but there will undoubtedly be a team or two interested in putting him on their bench. In dynasty leagues, his value is even greater because of the possibility he ends up as a starter elsewhere.
I love the Redskins defense as a sleeper possibility, but I have not yet found an alarm clock reliable enough to wake those guys up. They certainly don't enter the season as an elite unit (in other news, the sky is blue and Ms. Lippy's car is green). The addition of Trent Murphy and Ryan Clark puts talent on the field we did not have last year. The emergence of players like Keenan Robinson and Phillip Thomas could potentially inject life into the unit that could last for more than one season. Players like Jarvis Jenkins and Richard Crawford could potentially elevate their games and make us deeper and more formidable in the lead-up to the playoffs. From a fantasy perspective, the Redskins DST offers significant value--but mostly because they will either be drafted very low or not at all. It doesn't hurt that we have multiple threats in the return game, but until we prove it on the field, fantasy owners can't take a big risk here.
Roy Helu was a player that I made sure to grab last season. Based on that kind of solid thinking, the Hyrule Tektites raced to a 9th-place finish in my dynasty league last year. This season, it would be almost as foolish to get that excited about Helu...or would it be? Jay Gruden's offense produced two very decent fantasy running backs in 2013. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard both spent plenty of time in the starting lineups for owners last season. The Law Firm saw workhorse action while Bernard was a multi-purpose player who could turn a screen pass into a 50+ yard play. Alfred Morris shows no signs of slowing down as a workhorse back, and we will find out just how effective he can be out of the backfield a a receiver. We already know that Helu is a gifted receiver out of the backfield, and his size and agility make him capable of carrying the rock whenever Gruden calls for it. If you own Morris, you might add the Helu handcuff. If you don't own Morris, would you consider adding Helu as a depth player that could get some production for you as an injury or bye week replacement guy? At this point, if anything were to happen to Morris, Helu would fly off the waiver wire. All fantasy teams should have at least one spot on their roster reserved for a player that could make an impact on the playoff run.
Andre Roberts is a very interesting fantasy option. On one hand, he sits rather far down the list of Redskins fantasy options. He won't be drafted by many--or any--teams looking for him to be their starter. In deeper leagues with longer benches, Roberts will almost certainly be on someone's team. In addition to being the third or fourth receiving option when he is on the field, he is also a return man with the ability to take it all the way. He wants the job as return man and that alone is worth something in my book. He is the first receiver to benefit if anything should happen to Garcon or Jackson, but he benefits from their presence more. When he shares the field with those two, defenses will almost certainly be focusing their attention away from him.
I am a quarterback guy, and as such, having Kirk Cousins at the end of my bench is a soothing thing. I have played him in fantasy in each of the last two seasons...with varying results. Still, the fact that I was able to turn to him at all probably skews my answer. There are too many running backs in this league to look to before I would necessarily go with Helu--but between now and September, that could change. As for the Redskins DST, I want to believe they will be better, but limbo'ing under that bar is one of the easier tasks in the history of...tasks.
Andre Roberts will have to be my answer. No, he won't be my starter--if I'm lucky. If your league rewards points for return yardage, he would be a no-brainer. As a receiver who will be collecting the scraps from Reed, Garcon and Jackson, Andre's numbers won't blow your skirt up, but he should be an above-average replacement for injuries and byes. Further, his upside as a possible starter is undeniable, with this offense more than capable of producing multiple fantasy-relevant receivers.
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