For yet another season, Razzball will be interviewing local NFL beat writers for some in-depth actual football knowledge to sway some insight in our fantasy football knowledge. Keep your eye out for an interview for every NFL team through the summer and check out each one on the “2012 Fantasy Football Team Previews” link. This installment comes courtesy of Kevin Ewoldt from Hogs Haven:
1) Easily the biggest story surrounding the Redskins is phenom rookie Robert Griffin III taking over the reins of the offense. Redskins fans seem ready to build shrines and donate all of their Earthly possessions at his sacrificial alter. What do you think we’ll expect stats-wise from Griffin and do you think he could have an impact similar to what we saw from Cam Newton last year?
Based on the 20+ QBs the Redskins have trotted out over the last decade, it’s easy to see why we have so many shrines for RGIII. I don’t think he’ll be able to meet Cam Newton’s rookie numbers though. Look at the Pro-Bowl talent Cam had around him: Steve Smith, (Center) Ryan Kalil, and DeAngelo Williams. Who does RGIII have? Pierre Garcon is a big upgrade, but this is his first year and has never been a #1 receiver. I think RG3 will be in that common area for solid rookies, 20 TDs, 15 INTs…and I expect around 3,200 yards passing. The Redskins secondary is very questionable, and since Kyle Shanahan is reguarly in the top 5 for passing attempts, I expect the Redskins to put up some decent padded stats.
2) Sticking with Griffin, a lot of value from fantasy QBs come from yardage accrued on the ground. Tim Tebow threw duck after duck last season, but when his day ended, the 60-70 rushing yards padded his mid-level stats. Do you think Griffin will use his legs often on running plays and/or scrambling from rushes, or will he attempt to be more of a pocket passer?
Although RGIII has said 100x times he is a pass first QB, the bottom line is the Shanahan’s offense is built on misdirection plays and bootlegs. If there’s an open field, how can he not take off? The Redskins OLine still has question marks as well, so he’ll be scrambling. I expect his yardage to be in that Tebow range too.
3) Roy Helu really took off in the second half of the season, piling up three straight 100-yard games from weeks 12-14. Fantasy owners are all-too-knowledgeable about Mike Shanahan’s famous magic 8-ball that he uses to choose his primary running back for each week. Ok, that might not be true, but is there any confidence Helu can be the #1 running back for the season in Washington?
I wouldn’t bet on it. Opponents often spoke post-game about how hard it was tackling Tim Hightower, who’s such a hard runner in the first half of games, and then the Skins would bring in Helu in the second half on a tired defense who is equally as hard as a runner. Shanahan knows what he’s doing and the running back by committee keeps guys fresh.
4) Stepping up as the #1 TE last year, Fred Davis had a solid 2012 campaign. How big of a target is he going to be for Griffin as he eases into the offense and do you expect him to improve on last year’s numbers?
Fred is everything to this offense. He demands so much attention and has proven week in and week out he’s so difficult to cover. I think his numbers will definitely improve and I’d have no problem what so ever starting him every week.
5) The biggest fantasy-related free agent acquisition for the Skins was Pierre Garcon brought in from the Colts. Even though he’s got a rookie throwing to him, it’s got to be better than any of the QBs he had to deal with last year. What do you expect from Garcon and do you think he can step up and become a star WR?
Well, Garcon had a career year last season with Curtis Painter throwing to him, so that says something of his abilities. Shanahan’s offense is all about creating mismatches, so if a team focuses on Garcon, Fred Davis or the slot WR will have big games. That’s what makes it so hard to start any Redskin receiver each week. I’d expect Garcon to be in that 900 yards range with 6 TDs.