Should fantasy owners start RG3 in Week 1?
Our weekly look at the Redskins' matchup from a fantasy football perspective. Washington hosts the Eagles on Monday night with a certain you know who returning to the gridiron. Should that special someone return to your starting lineup is the question. Keep reading for the answer, but first...
Pierre Garcon - The Eagles rebuilt their secondary, but the unit still looks like a fixer-upper. Even against strong corners, the physical Garcon is a top-20 option most weeks. This week going up against ex-Raven Cary Williams, much higher. Went 7-89 in the second meeting against Philadelphia last season.
Josh Morgan - 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...
Leonard Hankerson - The big target teases us with stellar one-handed touchdown grabs, but frustrates with drops over the middle. The third-year receiver was worth a late-round flyer in 12-team leagues, but isn't worth a start until further notice.
Fred Davis - In the massive uncertain sea of fantasy tight end's this season, Davis is one I swam toward in drafts when forming a TEBC (tight end by committee) thanks to his productive preseason. Admittedly he did little last season before his Achilles injury and hasn't much time to work on the on-field connection with his quarterback. However, that doesn't mean Davis can't be the Redskins second-leading receiver, especially since the team's second wide receiver position remains wide open from a pass-catching standpoint. With all that said, this isn't a particularly robust matchup; the Eagles allowed the ninth fewest fantasy points to the TE position last year (with the old regime, obviously). In this particular game, Davis isn't even the best fantasy TE option seeing as Brent Celek is facing a Redskins defense that ranked 32nd against tight end's last season.
Alfred Morris - In two games against the Eagles last season, Morris rushed for 167 yards and one touchdown on 42 carries. Decent numbers, but nothing stellar - especially when compared to what Alf did against the Cowboys (313 rushing yards, four TDs) and the Giants (244 rushing yards). Obviously start Morris. Just know the insane production might not until Washington faces the other NFC East foes.
Roy Helu - Proved during the preseason that he belongs on the field for the Redskins and on fantasy rosters as a handcuff/depth play/lottery ticket. The expected up-tempo game pace with the Eagles benefits Helu and perhaps any desires to limit hits on the QB means more touches for the running backs. However, at this point in the season the third-down back would be an impossible start except for those in truly deep leagues and even then only in points-per-reception (PPR) formats.
Robert Griffin III - I'm not foolish enough to push any argument to the Burgundy and Gold fanatics about the merits of not starting RGIII in the season opener. Besides, except for those seeking additional revenue via their friend's wallets, fantasy football is all about fun and there was nothing more fun last season than owning the Redskins' star. Also, based on last year's season stats, having your QB facing the Eagles is not a bad thing. Philadelphia allowed the fifth most points to fantasy QBs (Washington finished seventh). There is a solid devil's advocate argument to be made involving the risks with starting a second-year QB who is coming off a knee injury, didn't play at all in the preseason and hasn't taken a hit since January (Weird, how some of those angles apply to both fantasy and the Redskins situation. Anyway...). If I owned RGIII and one of the obvious top-12 fantasy QB options (or even Eli Manning, maybe Michael Vick, maybe Ben Roethlisberger), I'd strong consider sitting RGIII on my team. If I owned a No. 10 jersey and had been counting down the minutes to his return like a kid waiting for Santa, I would not. Hail to the Redskins.
On the other side...
DeSean Jackson - At the start of training camp my take on the Eagles was simple: draft LeSean McCoy, avoid the rest until we see more of Chip Kelly's system. That stance softened during preseason, but not because Kelly's designs are going to revolutionize the NFL. Michael Vick looked pretty, pretty good running an offense perfect for his skill set. When he starts throwing passes in the real games, he'll only have one credible wide receiver as a target now that Jeremy Maclin is out for the season. That of course is Jackson, the ultimate home runner hitter who has historically torched the Redskins from all angles and is a top-15 option this week. Considering Washington's secondary concerns, look for Philly to attack with Jackson deep. With Washington's defense focusing on the Eagles ground game, play action passes could be trouble - unless you start Jackson, of course.
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.