Robert Griffin III is an attractive fantasy football option and will bait many owners into drafting him as their starting quarterback. While Cam Newton's success last year may seem to justify taking Griffin, it doesn't. Griffin won't put up similar numbers to Newton and fantasy owners will regret selecting Griffin.
According to FantasyFootballCalculator.com (via USA Today), "Griffin is being drafted as a borderline starter in 12-team leagues. In drafts held last week, Griffin was the 12th quarterback off the board with an average draft position of 88.2 overall, or roughly a middle eighth-round pick in standard 12-team leagues."
One of the reasons Griffin is being drafted so highly is the comparison to Cam Newton.
Last season, Cam Newton was one of the fastest waiver pickups after throwing for over 400 yards in each of his first two games while throwing three touchdowns and running for two. Newton finished the year with 4,051 passing yards, 21 passing touchdowns, 706 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. Newton's remarkable rookie season turned him into one of the greatest sleepers from 2011 fantasy drafts.
Fans don't want to make the same mistake of passing up Griffin, with hopes he will replicate Newton's success. Griffin won't be able to get close to matching the fantasy impact that Newton had.
While many will point to the fact that both are running quarterbacks, the two have very different body types and run the ball differently. Newton's 6'5", 245-pound frame allows him to convert short-yardage situations, especially around the goal line. At 6'2", 217 pounds, Griffin doesn't have the same power to take over the goal line rushing duties.
With his smaller frame, Griffin has to be smarter about running the football and avoiding hits. He can't absorb the same type of brutal hits that a player with a bigger body would be able to. Despite that fact, Griffin will still likely have success running with the football. He may put up the yardage, but don't expect double-digit touchdowns.
Griffin will do okay in the passing game, but the Redskins don't have enough talent around him to be able to be a top offense this season. The Redskins were without a 1,000-yard receiver last season, with Jabar Gaffney finishing with 947 yards. To bolster their receiving corps, the Redskins added Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan.
The pair will certainly help Griffin and are an improvement over what the Redskins had last season, but it still isn't a strong group. As Griffin, Garcon and Morgan are all still learning the offense, this looks like a group that will be very strong in the coming years, but it won't happen instantaneously.
While Griffin is an attractive fantasy draft pick, he won't be able to live up to the expectations. He is a decent backup quarterback with high upside. In keeper leagues, Griffin is a solid choice earlier on because of that high upside and what he could add to your team in the future.
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