Cam Newton set the fantasy world on fire last year by having the best rookie quarterback season ever. To have somebody play so well that was drafted so late in your fantasy league is what every owner hopes to find. He was the very last pick in one of my leagues last year and helped carry his team to a very good year. Many experts have drawn similarities between Newton and one of the prize rookie quarterbacks this year, Robert Griffin III . I will give you some facts to help you try and figure out exactly what to expect from RG3 and where he might belong in your rankings.
The Washington Redskins traded up to the #2 overall pick to ensure that they could draft the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback out of Baylor. Griffin set or tied 54 Baylor records in his 3 year stint and threw for 10,071 yards and 77 touchdowns in 40 games. He also ran for another 32 touchdowns and only had 17 interceptions and 13 fumbles during that time. Griffin seems like a natural fit for the Redskins West Coast offense with his arm strength, running ability, and field visioin. He has also drawn comparisons to Michael Vick, another running quarterback. Griffin's size is right in the middle of Newton and Vick. In 2010 Michael Vick helped me to a fantasy title because of his running ability. It is obviously too early to forecast a Newton 2011 season or Vick 2010 season, but the running ability of all 3 give them that extra something that fantasy owners crave. Griffin is faster then Newton, but slower then Vick. Will his smaller size make him an easier player to injure?
Head Coach Mike Shanahan has never been a favorite coach of fantasy league players since his days with the Denver Broncos. It seems like every other week he makes a change at the running back position, so none of them make a good consistent starter in fantasy. Once again that will be the case this year with Roy Helu, Tim Hightower, & Evan Royster all threatening to steal carries from each other and take over as the weekly starter. This actually makes Griffin that much more of a threat, especially in the Red Zone. The Redskins also do not have what you would call a great offensive line. With the pass rush from Dallas, Philadelphia, and the Giants to fear in their division alone, I could see Griffin scrambling and running often for his life. He should have some nice running games in store this season.
Did you know that Washington attempted the 4th most passes last year, yet managed only 235.8 yards per game passing?? Now you know why they traded up to finally get their "franchise" quarterback. In fact, since Shanahan has been with the Redskins they have been a top 5 team in passing attempts. They passed on 61.24 % of their plays last year. Of course that was with the likes of John Beck and Rex Grossman, yuck. Griffin was scouted as a better passer then Newton coming out of college. The fear again is that he does not have a great offensive line like what Newton has in Carolina.
It was reported back in late April that Griffin already had the Redskins playbook to get a jump on learning the system and plays. The Redskins made a splash early in free agency to get some speed at the wide receiver position to open things up. They lost Jabar Gaffney to the Patriots but signed Pierre Garcon from the Colts and Josh Morgan from the 49ers. Both players are younger and faster and offer some nice targets for Griffin. Garcon came close to 1,000 yards last year with the likes of Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky, and Kerry Collins throwing the ball; He could cross the 1,000 yard mark this year. Santana Moss is back for another year and reportedly lost some excess weight and has looked great so far. Leonard Hankerson is coming back from injury and could fight for a starting spot during the year and has the height to be a factor in the Red Zone. Fred Davis is also a very reliable target at tight end for Griffin to use and could climb the tight end ranks this season.
MyFantasyLeagues.com has Robert Griffin III as the #12 quarterback with an ADP of #70. FFToolbox has RG3 at #17 quarterback with an overall ranking of #153. There is obviously some disagreement between the 2 sites. Which one is right?? A lot of that has to do with the scoring system you play under. I actually have him between the 2 sites around #15 quarterback and I think he will be gone by pick #100 because somebody will try and catch lightning in a bottle like Newton was last year. Will that person be you?