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Finding this year's fantasy breakouts

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Finding this year's fantasy breakouts

It's never too early to start scouting for your fantasy football draft, right? After all, NFL betting is a 30 billion annual industry. Not that we're endorsing gambling...

But you have a roster to build, bragging rights on the line and friends and foes alike to impress with your powerhouse team. And what better way to impress the league while earning the ire of your opponents than by snapping up this year's breakout stars?

Cam Newton. DeMarco Murray. Victor Cruz. Jimmy Graham. Mike Wallace. Matt Forte. If you were luckysavvy enough to have snapped up one or more of those guys in a later round last year --or better yet off waivers-- chances are your team avoided the lowly league basement.

Ready to plan ahead for this year's breakout stars? You won't have to look too far outside the Washington area to find what many experts believe to be the most eligible quarterback. But, as NFL.com's analysts point out, don't expect Robert Griffin III to be Newton 2.0:

Michael Fabiano:
"If you expect Griffin to duplicate Cam Newton and score close to 370 fantasy points as a rookie, well, you're going to be disappointed. With that said, I can see RG3 as a top 10 fantasy quarterback because of his combination of arm strength and skills as a runner. Draft him as a No. 2 fantasy quarterback with huge upside."
Dave Dameshek:
"While it'd be almost statistically impossible to repeat what Cam Newton did last year, I do think RG3 will use his big arm, speedy gams and keen noodle to have a great rookie season. If you're in a keeper league, he's worth reaching for as early as the second round."
Elliot Harrison:
"If there is any quarterback that has an opportunity to break into the top ten in fantasy this year, it's RG3. He's a rookie, yes, but according to Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, he'll start from Day 1. Griffin can get you major points on the ground and in the rushing touchdown department, a la Cam Newton last season. Also bear in mind that the Redskins signed wideouts Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, and hope to get a lot out of 2011 rookie Leonard Hankerson."

So there you have it. Chances are RG3 will go far too early if your league is stocked with DC-area GMs. So let them throw away an early pick on the unproven guy on a rebuilding roster. Keep a level head and think of RG3, whose star is undoubtedly very bright, as a premium 2.

Check out the full list of projected 2012 breakout performers here.

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Forced to make decision on rookie, Redskins move Keith Marshall to injured reserve

Forced to make decision on rookie, Redskins move Keith Marshall to injured reserve

The Redskins liked rookie running back Keith Marshall, and the team gave the former Georgia Bulldog every chance to make the roster.

Ultimately he did not get that chance, as an elbow injury will land Marshall on the injured reserve.

Marshall sustained the injury in the team's third preseason game against the Bills. Even before the elbow injury, Marshall failed to capitalize on the opportunity to backup Matt Jones.

In games against the Jets and the Falcons, Marshall struggled to gain much ground and eventually he slid behind Robert Kelley on the team's depth chart.

For now, it appears Kelley is a lock for the Redskins 53-man roster and Marshall heads to the IR. 

Scot McCloughan and the 'Skins also made two other roster moves to get the squad to the 75-man limit following this morning's release of veterans Perry Riley and Stephen Paea. Tight end Derek Carrier was moved to the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list and rookie WR Reggie Diggs was waived with an injured designation.

Carrier's move to the PUP list was expected, and Diggs had little chance to make the roster as an undrafted receiver even before an injury limited his training camp.

RELATED: WHAT WILL THE 53-MAN ROSTER LOOK LIKE?

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After Tony Romo injury, a new odds favorite emerges in NFC East

After Tony Romo injury, a new odds favorite emerges in NFC East

The Redskins won nine games and the NFC East title last season, but that hardly matters to the sports books.. 

Since odds came out in May, Bovada.lv gave the Dallas Cowboys the best chance to win the division, but given recent events, things shifted.

Last week in a preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo fell awkwardly and stayed on the ground in apparent pain. 

Initial reports suggested Romo might have handled the hit unscathed, but news came out last weekend that Romo cracked vertebrae in his back and will miss extended action. 

The Cowboys now turn to rookie Dak Prescott at QB - and in turn - Vegas turned elsewhere for their NFC East favorite.

Still, it's not the defending champion Redakins.

With odds of 7/4 Bovada likes the New York Giants to win the NFC East. The Redskins are now tied with the Cowboys at 12/5 while the Eagles come in at 6/1.

In late May Bovada put the odds of winning the NFC East as:

  1. Cowboys 7/4
  2. Giants 9/4
  3. (TIE) Redskins 15/4, Eagles 15/4

Curiously, the oddsmakers have moved up the Giants odds despite New York's struggles in the preseason. 

Regardless, it's obvious that the wise guys still don't have high expectations for Washington.

RELATED: NEW ODDS FOP 2016 NFL MVP

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Redskins' Trent Williams on Stephen Paea and Perry Riley release: 'It's tough, man'

Redskins' Trent Williams on Stephen Paea and Perry Riley release: 'It's tough, man'

The first surprising Redskins cuts of the summer hit this morning when word got out that linebacker Perry Riley and defensive lineman Stephen Paea had been released. For coach Jay Gruden it was a decision that had to be made.

“It's what goes into every decision when we release anybody,” said Gruden. “It takes a lot of thought. A lot of times now when you have the depth we feel like we have it's not so much about the players we release as about the players we kept and we'll leave it at that. We've got some guys at linebacker we feel have played extremely well and we've got some guys on the defensive line we feel like are competing and playing well.”

The play of others certainly was part of the decisions to let Paea and Riley go. Although Gruden did not say it, it’s likely that money was involved as well. Releasing the two players saves a total of $7.3 million in salary. Although there is nearly $5 million in dead money that will have to be accounted for, that cash has already been spent. The bottom line is that Riley ($4 million) and Paea ($3.3 million) were making too much to be backups and that’s what thy were.

But to their teammates it’s much more than about dollars and positions on the depth chart. Riley and offensive tackle Trent Williams both came to the Redskins in the 2010 draft.

“It's tough, man, it's tough,” said Williams. “Especially with Perry. He was one of my best friends on the team, we came in together, we got drafted together, roommates together. I think the whole team was kind of blindsided by that one.”

Paea and Riley both are 28 and both are likely to get another shot at the NFL.

“Those two guys are excellent football players, I imagine they'll catch on somewhere else and do well,” said Gruden. “They have a lot of football left in their career. They're both great guys who worked hard and it was just a part of the decision process.”

Mason Foster should know. He came in after the season started last year when some linebackers started to get banged up. One of them was Riley. Foster took over the starting job when Riley went out with a broken foot. Now Foster is the starter and Riley is out of a job.

“He’s a great player, everybody knows he's a great player,” Foster said of Riley. “He'll get a chance to play someplace else.”