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Finding this year's fantasy breakouts


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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Redskins injury report: Status on Norman, Reed unknown

Redskins injury report: Status on Norman, Reed unknown

At least 51 Redskins will be making the trip to London on Thursday night, including some who are pretty banged up. And there is hope that the other two will be able to make it across the pond.

“We're taking everybody, which is a good thing,” said coach Jay Gruden. “If something happens on Friday or Saturday, we can make adjustments if needed.”

He later clarified the statuses of tight end Jordan Reed and cornerback Josh Norman. Both of them are in the NFL’s concussion protocol, at least partially.

“I’m not too sure about this — Thursday they are going to the independent doctor and if they’re cleared they’ll go on the trip,” said Gruden. “If not, if we’re still having some pain and setbacks, at that point we’ll make that decision to probably leave them back.”

In other words, stay tuned on those two key players.

Two players were out of practice on Wednesday. Reserve linebacker Terrance Garvin was out with a hip injury, and starting running back Matt Jones missed with a knee problem.

The injury was as much a surprise to Gruden as it was to reporters when they saw that Jones was not participating in practice.

“He just came in, I guess, today, had some soreness laterally,” said Gruden. “Had some pain cutting, has to problem running straight ahead so we kept him out today.”

Limited in practice were wide receivers Jamison Crowder (groin) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring/shoulder); guard Brandon Scherff (shoulder), offensive tackle Trent Williams (knee), Reed, Norman, offensive lineman Spencer Long (chest), cornerback Bashaud Breeland (ankle) and tight end Vernon Davis (groin).

With six offensive starters limited and Jones out, Gruden had to alter practice somewhat.

“We had to do kind of a slower tempo on the offensive side of the ball because of the amount of injuries we had,” said Gruden.

MORE REDSKINS: Crowder explains dropped pass against Lions

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Jordan Reed, Josh Norman in for early part of Redskins practice; Matt Jones out

Jordan Reed, Josh Norman in for early part of Redskins practice; Matt Jones out

Both Josh Norman and Jordan Reed, two important players who are in the concussion protocol, were on the field for the early part of Redskins practice today,

But starting running back Matt Jones was not with the running back during individual drills. He out of uniform, doing some rehab work off to the side. The team did not announce an injury to him during or after the game.

The presence of Reed, who has missed the last two games after suffering a concussion on October 9, at practice was expected. Coach Jay Gruden announced on Monday that Reed would participate today for the first time in a week.

Norman left the Redskins game against the Lions last Sunday in the third quarter and was diagnosed with a concussion. It was a mild surprise to see him on the field so soon.

Reed and Norman practicing today is a positive sign but far from a guarantee that either will play against the Bengals on Sunday in London. Both must be cleared by an independent neurologist prior to playing and that usually doesn’t happen quickly. It’s possible that they may need to be cleared by tonight in order to go to London since there are no NFL-approved independent neurologists in England.

We will find out more about Reed and Norman and get information on Jones’ injury when Gruden addresses the media after practice.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins used Su'a Cravens sparingly against Detroit