Part of my duties outside the CSN world involveswriting about, analyzing and as you will soon read, ranking fantasy football players. In this case, top 25 keeper rankings for quarterbacks and tight ends. As you might imagine, two Redskins made the cut - and no, not Rex Grossman and Logan Paulsen.Before I reveal where Robert Griffin III and Fred Davis fell on their appropriate lists, note that Im viewing this on a short-term basis. In other words, for leagues where you can keep a player for one additional season as opposed to dynasty leagues where an owner can maintain hold of a player for years and years. Got it? Got it.Let's start with RG3, who I slotted 16th, behind Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco but ahead of Andrew Luck and Sam Bradford. First, my general take."The Redskins made a franchise-altering move when they jumped up to snag the Heisman winner. Now coach Mike Shanahan ends the speculation, by announcing RGIII will be the starter. Big question now is whether there are proper pieces in place especially along the offensive line - to ensure a smooth transition into the pro ranks. There is no questioning the mobile and strong-armed QB's immense upside."Despite the insanity that were Cam Newton's real life and fantasy numbers- better than any rookie quarterback in history - it's not realistic to think or any newbie, even RG3, could duplicate or potentially even sniff them.That's not saying Griffin cannot have a stellar first campaign for the Redskins.However, unlike Newton he does not have two stud running backs, Steve Smithand a strong offensive line to work with (and don't forget that like the Redskins, the Panthers also had a quality pair of tight ends). Also, I do not see Mike Shanahan consistently running the sleek Griffin up the gut at the goal line the way the Panthers employed the powerful Newton.However, RG3's legs will do wonders for his fantasy numbers. Between Davis, Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss (if he sticks around) and Leonard Hankerson, there are targets that possess after-the-catch talent to help jack the passing stats. By his second season Griffin may be a fantasy starter, but right now he should not be drafted as one for 2012.That's why on this list he falls below the likely starters in 12-14 team leagues, but his potential ranks above the other burgeoning talents like Luck and Bradford. As for Davis, what to do, what to do. As I wrote in my blurb, talent-wise he stacks up favorably with the elite options at his position. Of course, I don't need to tell Redskins fans that he often has those watching wanting more. Maybe his previous quarterbacks are partly to blame. Maybe lacking full commitment to his craft - i.e., the failed drug tests - is the primary culprit.It would not stun me if Davis leads the Redskins in receptions; he has the skill, unlike Garcon and Josh Morgan he has experience in Shanahan's system and we all know that rookie passers supposedly looooove passing to their trusty tight end. The fear he could be suspended for a season looms over his keeper value as does the uncertainty of the Redskins offense under RG3 (for now just take "uncertainty" to mean something like Griffin could prefer throwing outside to Garcon and the wide receivers rather than to his tight end down the middle). Put it all together and Davis lands at No. 12. on my tight end keeper list. Even if Chris Cooley sticks around, Davis' value should not drop. If Cooley is a cap casualty, Davis' fantasy stock rises. If he avoids another positive drug test, fantasy owners could have a nice keeper on their hands.
The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.
That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.
RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: It's tag day
Can the Redskins trust Dustin Hopkins at kicker?
Finlay: Nick Novak. Graham Gano. Shaun Suisham. That's just a recent list of kickers the Redskins gave up on too early.
Dustin Hopkins missed a couple of important kicks in 2016, especially after a very strong start to the year, but with a powerful leg and a sharp mindset he should absolutely be the 'Skins kicker in 2017. In two seasons with Washington, Hopkins has made 84 percent of his field goals and 95 percent of his extra points. Don't forget he routinely puts kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks too.
Yes, Hopkins missed a game winner against the Bengals and other important kicks later in the year. That happened. Missed kicks are a part of life in the NFL. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed an extra point in the Super Bowl.
At 6-foot-2 and just 26 years old, Hopkins is young and athletic. Of 70 career field goal attempts, Hopkins has missed 11 times. Of the misses, six of them came from 50+ yards. In 31 games, Jay Gruden has proven he trusts Hopkins to attempt long kicks. The 'Skins would be well served to stick with the young kicker.
Finding a quarterback may be the most difficult, least scientific task that NFL organizations must undertake. Deciding when to let go of a struggling kicker is second.
There are plenty of strong legs out there spending hours every day kicking on high school fields in hopes of getting an NFL tryout. But being successful as a kicker is as much about what is above the shoulders as it is what’s below the waist. It appears Hopkins had a mental slump last year but he came back to finish strong.
Hopkins started the year making 14 of his first 15 field goal attempts, with the miss coming in the wind in Baltimore. But then in the dome in Detroit he just missed a 45-yard try and that set off a slump where he missed five of 15 field goal tries. He pulled it back together and missed just two of his final nine kicks, one of them a “why not” 57-yard try at the end of the first half against the Giants.
So, it was more of a slump than a bad year for Hopkins. He continued to pound the ball into the end zone, finishing tied for fourth in touchback percentage. I would understand if they brought in some competition for him during training camp but it will be a major upset if he is not the Week 1 kicker.
More offseason questions:
Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!
Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 19, 18 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.
—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 10
—NFL Combine (3/2) 11
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 57
—NFL Draft (4/27) 67
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 203
Sunday morning quick hitters
How many spots up for grabs? A quick mid-February look down the final 2016 53-man roster shows about 20 players who may not be on the roster for Week 1 this year. This includes players who may depart as free agents and others who just won’t make the team. They probably won’t turn over that many spots but it does show that a lot of jobs are up for grabs.
RELATED: #RedskinsTalk Podcast - It's tag day
How many draft picks? The Redskins have nine draft picks, their own in rounds 1-6 and extra picks in rounds 4, 5, and 6. It’s easy to say that Scot McCloughan may turn that into as many as a dozen picks, especially with all the roster spots that may be open. But remember that last year the Redskins wound up with just seven picks with no pick in the fourth and two in the seventh. McCloughan may intend to stockpile more picks but it depends on how the draft unfolds.
1st-round RB a bad idea: Yesterday JP and I posted on the topic of Rob Kelley as the Redskins’ prime running back this season and it drew quite a bit of discussion on Twitter and on Facebook. I think that they should try to get an upgrade over Kelley but I don’t think they should use their first-round pick to do it. There are just too many other, higher priority needs.
More Redskins: NFL Mock Draft 3.0
A turnaround for Matt Jones? Last year Trent Murphy broke out after two mediocre seasons to register nine sacks. Can Jones do the something similar in this, his third season? The rough equivalent of Murphy’s performance would be Jones rushing for 800 yards. It’s as much a matter of him holding on to the ball as anything. Jones was on pace to rush for over 1,100 yards before losing his grip on the starting job, literally and figuratively.
Tandler on Twitter
In case you missed it
- Would a Cousins contract be a cap killer for the Redskins?
- Will Kelley remain the Redskins' lead running back?
- The Redskins week that was—How many DL, players to step up
- 2017 NFL Mock Draft 3.0