DeSean Jackson makes Robert Griffin III better than Nick Foles
Fantasy owners should plan on drafting RG3 over Nick Foles this year.
DeSean Jackson is officially a member of the Redskins after signing a three-year deal worth $24 million Tuesday night. Now, let's look at the Fantasy impact.
You should plan to draft Robert Griffin III ahead of Nick Foles this season. That seemed silly a few weeks ago, especially after the Eagles added Darren Sproles, brought back Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin – who Foles didn't have last year because of a torn ACL – and had the expected increased production from Zach Ertz. Along with LeSean McCoy and Jackson, the Eagles were loaded with talent.
Well, you take away Jackson, and Foles is going to suffer. He depended on Jackson as his most targeted receiver (70), and he completed 71.4 percent of his passes in his direction. Foles finished as the No. 11 Fantasy quarterback last year, and that was with just two interceptions. There was going to be a natural regression, and now his best receiver is gone.
Foles should still be good, not great. Maclin, Cooper, Ertz, Sproles and McCoy, with Chip Kelly calling plays, should help Foles do well. But Griffin should be better.
Hopefully the Griffin we saw last season – he was the No. 19 Fantasy quarterback – was the result of coming off a torn ACL in 2012. The knee brace is gone, and Griffin has a full offseason to work out. He's already started throwing with his receivers.
The Redskins already added Andre Roberts earlier this offseason, and the addition of coach Jay Gruden should help Griffin immensely. Gruden helped Andy Dalton finish as a Top 12 Fantasy quarterback the past two years (No. 3 in 2013) as the offensive coordinator for the Bengals, and Dalton had 60 touchdown passes over that span.
Griffin has a ridiculous amount of talent surrounding him now with Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed and Roberts. Along with what should be having his mobility back, we could be looking at the Griffin we saw as a rookie in 2012 when he was the No. 6 Fantasy quarterback.
Some Fantasy owners will scoff at drafting Griffin over Foles based on how each finished last season, but I'd rather go with the upside play here, which is RG3 all the way. Foles should be good, but Griffin should be great.
As for Jackson, his Fantasy value is going to suffer this year. He was the No. 10 Fantasy receiver in 2013 with career highs in catches (82) and yards (1,332) while tying his career high in touchdowns (nine).
He did this with Maclin hurt, and while Cooper was good, he's not on Maclin’s level. Jackson's best season with Maclin was 2009 when he had 62 catches for 1,156 yards and nine touchdowns. I could see Jackson posting similar stats this year.
Garcon will remain the No. 1 option – he led all receivers in targets last year with 184 (Jackson had 126) – and is the best Fantasy receiver for the Redskins. I'd draft him in Round 4 in all leagues. Jackson is more of a low-end No. 2 receiver, and he should be drafted in Round 6.
If you're looking for comparisons to Gruden's offense in Cincinnati, A.J. Green had 98 catches for 1,426 yards and 11 touchdowns as the No. 1 option (Garcon), and Marvin Jones had 51 catches for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns at No. 2 (Jackson). Roberts would be No. 3 like Mohamed Sanu, who had 47 catches for 455 yards and two touchdowns, but you shouldn't draft Roberts in the majority of leagues.
Reed should also benefit with the addition of Jackson because he should be able to roam free in the middle of the field. Reed battled concussion problems as a rookie last year but still flashed his potential with 45 catches for 499 yards and three touchdowns and looks like a No. 1 Fantasy tight end worth a mid-round pick.
Alfred Morris is going to suffer in Gruden's offense because of his lack of receiving skills – he has just 20 catches over two seasons – but Gruden hopes Morris can catch 20-25 passes this year. Still, Morris won't see many defenders near the line of scrimmage with the upgrades in the passing game, and I still value Morris as a high-end No. 2 Fantasy running back worth drafting in Round 2.
The Redskins offense should be fun to watch this season with the additions of Gruden, Jackson and Roberts to go with Garcon, Reed and Morris. Griffin will benefit the most, as will Fantasy owners.
As for the Eagles, we'll find out how they plan to replace Jackson, but this move hurts Foles. He's no longer a Top 10 Fantasy quarterback coming into the year, and you should plan on drafting Griffin ahead of him. It's not a silly idea any more.
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