Robert Griffin III: Breaking Down RGIII's Fantasy Value in 2012

Tim KeeneyContributor ISeptember 2, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 25:  Alfred Morris #46 celebrates with Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins after scoring a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during a preseason game at FedExField on August 25, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Contrary to popular belief, Robert Griffin III is not yet a fantasy stud.

The dynamic rookie quarterback is an excellent player to target in keeper leagues, but don't expect immediate success right out of the gate. 

Not every rookie QB will pull a Cam Newton. No, let me rephrase that. No rookie QB will pull a Cam Newton. 

Newton's insane 2011 season has everyone searching for the next youngster to take the league by storm, but the fact of the matter is that nothing like that will be duplicated for a long time. Check out this tasty fact from ESPN's Ken Daube:

Since 1980, 70 quarterbacks have been taken in the first round of the NFL draft. Know how many of them scored more than 200 fantasy points in their rookie season? The answer is one: Newton, whose 352 fantasy points last season were more than 150 points greater than the next highest scoring rookie quarterback in the past 30-plus years.

Does that mean Griffin can't have a productive season? Absolutely not. It just means you should probably temper your expectations. If Newton hadn't done what he did last season, RGIII would likely be going, on average, a few rounds later than his current position.

That current position, by the way, is 95, which means he's being taken somewhere around the end of the eighth round in 12-team leagues. 

I'm not opposed to taking Griffin there, a spot that makes him the 13th quarterback on average, just ahead of guys like Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Schaub.

The problem, of course, comes right back to Cam Newton. Because of that electric season, there is going to be at least one person in your league who falls head-over-heels in love with Griffin, a rookie QB who possesses a unique skill set and plenty of running ability.

That means Griffin isn't going to fall into your lap. At least someone will see his gaudy set of tools, label him Newton II, and reach for him. 

For the record, I foresee Griffin having a better fantasy season than most rookies. Something like 3,700 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns (to 18 interceptions), 400 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns is very much within reach, and that would be a terrific fantasy season. It's just not a "holy-expletive-I-need-that-guy" season.

Yet the hype surrounding Griffin continues to make his stock skyrocket, only increasing the amount you have to overpay for him. 

Draft with caution.