Robert Griffin III: Pros and Cons of Sitting QB in Fantasy Football Week 5

John Rozum@Rozum27Correspondent IOctober 1, 2012

September 30, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Robert Griffin III faces a tough matchup against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5.

So regarding fantasy football, should RG3 get the start or sit?

Well, the rookie quarterback has definitely been a reliable performer for the Washington Redskins. As for fantasy, he's been just as solid, with eight total touchdowns to only one interception and 1,322 total yards through four games.

The Redskins are now 2-2 and much can be attributed to Griffin III's 69.4 completion percentage. That said, the Falcons field one of the NFL's better defenses and they will certainly be RG3's most difficult challenge yet.

Therefore, let's look at some pros and cons of benching RG3 this week.


Atlanta has been a very opportunistic defense thus far in 2012.

With seven interceptions, 18 passes defended, 10 sacks and five recovered fumbles (seven forced), Mike Nolan's unit is capable of shutting anyone down. The Dirty Birds have also only allowed a 60.9 completion percentage combined between all opposing quarterbacks this season.

Although that may not appear overly impressive, two quarterbacks Atlanta has faced were Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. In addition, it faced Cam Newton on Sunday and he won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2011.

Presenting secondary defenders like Thomas DeCoud, Asante Samuel, William Moore and Dunta Robinson, few veteran quarterbacks are capable of dicing up the Falcons—not to mention Manning did get picked off three times and Rivers twice.

Up front, pass-rushers such as John Abraham and Jonathan Babineaux lead the way. Both are well-versed with assignment discipline and the blanketed coverage does allow for extra time in applying pressure.


The Redskins offense can't be effective without RG3 and he is the reason for their success.

Washington averages just over 30 points per contest right now and his numbers have an inflated opportunity against Atlanta. The Falcons are just as capable of burning up the scoreboard and it's not like the Redskins defense has been completely dominant.

So just from the possibility of a shootout, RG3 would then get more possessions to make plays. Not to mention, Atlanta ranks No. 29 against the run by allowing 146.3 rush yards per game and gives up an average of 5.2 yards per carry.

In turn, Griffin will likely take off running more than we've seen the previous four weeks and that will open up some passing lanes. Plus, Washington currently averages the most rushing yards per game in the league and the third most per carry.

Provided the Redskins establish a traditional ground game with Alfred Morris, that only takes pressure off RG3 to perform. His mobility alone can extend/create plays and the Week 5 fantasy production has potential.

Verdict: Start or Sit RG3 vs. Falcons?

Everything about RG3's numbers against Atlanta will be heavily affected by the Falcons' offensive game plan.

For as odd as that sounds, the Dirty Birds are better off not getting into a shootout.

The Redskins have fared rather well against the run, but Atlanta will move the rock at will. Washington has been more vulnerable against the pass, though, so to keep Griffin off the field utilizing spread formations can manipulate Jim Haslett's defense.

From there, however, anticipate the Falcons feeding Michael Turner in the trenches. This will take advantage of fewer players in the box and prevent Washington from trying to consistently blitz. The spread formations create slightly wider running lanes and allow Atlanta to control the game's tempo.

And considering this is an NFC road game, Atlanta's best odds of winning in our nation's capital is by slamming on the ground. It takes the crowd out of the game and lets the defense prepare more thorough in-game adjustments.

RG3's possessions will be held to a minimum, and the Dirty Birds' defense locks down with man coverage and linebacker spies to keep his scrambling in check.

Sit Robert Griffin III vs. the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5

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