Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has been one of the most dependable fantasy players in 2012. The numbers he has put up as a rookie are nothing short of incredible.
Unfortunately, all it takes is one injury to derail everything. As everyone knows by now, Griffin was taken out of the team's Week 14 victory over Baltimore in the fourth quarter after taking a nasty shot to the leg.
When Griffin didn't immediately get up, you could feel all of Washington D.C., as well as fantasy owners throughout the country, scrambling to find out how long he would be out of commission.
On Monday, we got an official diagnosis. Head coach Mike Shanahan told reporters (via the Redskins' Official Twitter) that Griffin suffered a Grade 1 sprain of his LCL.
Shanahan said the sprain was Grade 1 (lowest) to the LCL, with no structural damage to the rest of the knee. #HTTR— Redskins (@Redskins) December 10, 2012
Shanahan also said (via Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan) that Griffin is still very much in the mix to start Sunday's crucial game against Cleveland.
Mike Shanahan: Robert Griffin "is definitely not ruled out for Cleveland" game. #Redskins— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) December 10, 2012
With so much optimism in the air, it would seem wise to take a chance on Griffin this week. After all, the Redskins are fighting for their playoff lives, and fantasy owners in most leagues are battling to get in the championship game next week.
But a knee sprain, no matter how big or small it might seem, is going to have a profound effect on the way that Griffin does everything. It can alter the way he throws, because he is not going to plant his feet the same way. He might be more hesitant to run, which is where a lot of his value comes right now.
Plus, there is also the small matter of the Browns. People aren't paying attention to them right now, but this team is going into the offseason playing as well as it has in a long time. They have won their last three games and have allowed just 38 points in that span.
If you want to nitpick about the schedule the Browns have played—they beat the Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger, Oakland and Kansas City—you won't get much of an argument from anyone. But they are also ninth in the NFL in points allowed per game.
As bad as the Browns' offense has looked at times this season, the defense has stepped up to keep them in most games. They have only lost by more than 10 points once this season, against New York in Week 5.
Griffin is not in an ideal spot for fantasy owners this week. His progress, particularly on Wednesday and Thursday, will be the key to determining what his role will be against the Browns.
Until we have a much clearer picture on where Griffin's bad knee is at, fantasy owners should look elsewhere to get production in Week 15.