Robert Griffin III: Projecting Injured Redskins QB's Fantasy Output vs. Eagles
Robert Griffin III's playing status may be looking good heading into Sunday's matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, but his fantasy owners are understandably a little more wary.
According to CSN Washington's Tarik El-Bashir, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said Friday that Griffin, who missed last week's game due to a knee sprain, is probable for Sunday's game:
Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) December 21, 2012
That was mostly expected. Griffin had practiced all week and even said he was going "full speed with live reps" during the sessions. However, anytime a knee injury comes into play with someone of Griffin's magnitude, it's cause for concern. His ability to scramble is absolutely essential to his fantasy value.
RGIII has not only been a revelation for the Redskins, but possibly even more so for his fantasy owners. Despite missing the better part of two games, the dual-threat quarterback is fourth among fantasy scorers overall. That's after heading into the season being drafted in the seventh round and 11th among fantasy quarterbacks.
In other words, if Adrian Peterson's name weren't already carved on the 2012 fantasy MVP trophy, Griffin would be in close proximity.
Essentially, that means you're starting Griffin unless you somehow ended up with Aaron Rodgers as well. If that's the case, you're probably a cast member of The League and I would very much like to hang out with you.
For those regular owners out there, you're probably "stuck" with the Redskins quarterback. How will he perform against the Eagles? Here is a complete breakdown of RGIII's projected fantasy output in Week 16.
Philadelphia may rank 13th in the NFL in passing yardage against, but anyone who has actually watched the games knows that's a flawed statistic. Nnamdi Asomugha has struggled even more than he did in his first season with the Eagles and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie isn't exactly making anyone forget about Asante Samuel, either.
When looking past the initial yardage numbers, the cracks start to show. According to Football Outsiders' DVOA metric, Philadelphia's pass defense ranks 26th in the NFL and gives up 19.6 percent higher production than a replacement-level unit.
In other words, the Eagles' pass defense is right around 20 percent worse than the Giants', which is the team closest to the zero-percent baseline.
Have I mentioned yet that Philadelphia has only sacked the quarterback 28 times and has a 26-to-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio against? Oh, well, there's that too.
Just in case you haven't been following along, this is a fantastic matchup for Griffin passing-wise. Griffin completed 14 of 15 passes for 200 yards and four touchdowns against the Eagles in Week 14, which gave him a perfect quarterback rating.
It also spawned my personal favorite nickname for Griffin: RG158.3.
Considering the Eagles have lost nine of their last 10 games, this doesn't exactly seem like the time for a breakout performance from the secondary.
Projected Passing Stats: 235 YDS, 2 TDS
Here is where all of the unknowns and understandable concern comes in. Though RGIII seems to be going at 100 percent in practice, the fact remains he's wearing a knee brace and is the Redskins' franchise quarterback.
Something tells me we're not going to see as many designed runs in Kyle Shanahan's scheme this week.
Of course, that doesn't necessarily preclude Griffin from running. Many of his longest runs on the season have come from improvisation on passing plays or from Griffin moving outside the pocket as it collapses.
Based on instinct alone, he should be able to get some yardage on the ground. He's just not going to be a battering ram at the goal line or have 10-plus carries. More than likely, Griffin will simply settle in with a mediocre performance between 40 and 50 yards and call it a day.
Projected Rushing Stats: 7 CAR, 45 YDS
While relatively middling considering Griffin's output this season, these projections still give him a guaranteed 20-point fantasy week. That should put him easily inside the top 10 among quarterbacks, and there is certainly the potential for the young quarterback to find the end zone another time.
To expect anything more would not only be a little unrealistic—it would border on greedy. Griffin will still be great, but he won't single-handedly win your fantasy championship.
Projected Overall Stats: 20-plus fantasy points (top 10 among quarterbacks)
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