Second game in NFL postseason history with rookie starting quarterbacks on both teams
Record-setting rookie quarterbacks will be on full display when the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins square off in Sunday’s NFC Wild Card matchup at 4:30 p.m. ET on FOX. The Seahawks (11-5) enter this contest on a five-game winning streak, while the Redskins (10-6) won their final seven games to capture the NFC East division title and first postseason berth since 2007.
Here we are — the halfway point of the NFL season and six weeks away from the start of the fantasy postseason for many. Injuries are making lineup decisions harder — sometimes easier in the committee world of some positions — and bye weeks leave us scrambling for the best start at some positions. Here are a few updates to hopefully help you make that push toward the fantasy postseason.
• Inside the Locker Room
With Rich Campbell of the Washington Times
Who will be the focus of the Redskins’ offense?
Coach Mike Shanahan wants to establish a running game first and then pass using play-action and misdirection. That means running back Ryan Torain has the potential to pile up yards — if he can stay healthy and if the Redskins can improve their offensive line. Torain averaged 4.5 yards per carry in 10 games last season. Those numbers in 10 games extrapolate to about 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns over a full season. But beware: Very few running backs have remained consistent fantasy options under Shanahan.
Who is Shanahan’s pet project at running back?
Shanahan hand-picked Roy Helu and Evan Royster in the fourth and sixth rounds of the draft, respectively, so he’ll have some options if Torain adds a chapter to his extensive injury history. Helu has better big-play ability and a higher draft pedigree, but Royster could play on third downs because of his pass protection skills. Torain is the choice for now, but as always with Shanahan, keep an eye on the entire committee.
Is DeAngelo Hall still an elite fantasy option at CB?
Hall’s value in 2010 was significantly boosted by his two returns for touchdowns, so the question becomes whether you believe he’ll replicate those scores. Keep in mind they were his first touchdowns since 2007. Hall likes gambling for big plays, and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett gives him the freedom to do so. Because you don’t get penalized when Hall gets burned, be comfortable taking him and enjoy his erratic point explosions.
• Fantasy Playoff Run — Weeks 14-16: NE, @NYG, MIN
The same could be said for the Redskins as the Titans: What will this offense look like come fantasy playoff time? Will it be back to the RB du jour for Mike Shanahan? Who will be QB by that time? All three defenses are respectable against the areas Washington may be good at: RB and TE. So for this fantasy playoff, simply run away.
• Athlon Best Bets
Sleeper: Anthony Armstrong, WR Deep-Sleeper: Evan Royster, RB Overvalued: Ryan Torain, RB Top Rookie: Roy Helu, RB Bounce-Back: LaRon Landry, DB Top IDP: LaRon Landry, DB
• Try to Avoid ANYONE ON OFFENSE
The QB situation is dire; Santana Moss’ value has plummeted without Donovan McNabb; and the stable of running backs is uninspiring and inconsistent. WAIT UNTIL: 8th RD
• Draft Class Fantasy Impact
The Redskins are bringing in a large draft class with a couple of players deserving a look on fantasy rosters. Helu and Royster could challenge for immediate carries, while any of the receivers could work their way into the rotation. Keep an eye on all of the draft picks in keeper formats.