Robert Griffin III returns to the Washington Redskins amid questions about his health and his role in the offense. Fantasy football owners who remember the dynamic quarterback from last season are hoping he lives up to that high standard in 2013.
In his rookie campaign, Griffin finished tied for fifth in fantasy scoring with Peyton Manning. He finished ahead big names like Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Tony Romo despite limited fantasy hype heading into the season.
For him to match those numbers, the Baylor product will have to remain a dual-threat option for the Redskins. If he attempts to alter his style of play after suffering a serious knee injury, it would be very difficult to match that type of production.
John Keim of ESPN reports Dr. James Andrews had concerns about how Griffin would be used in the offense. But head coach Mike Shanahan said the quarterback is ready to roll for the opener against the Philadelphia Eagles and won't be limited:
If we didn't feel Robert was full-go and ready to play and do all the things you ask a guy to do, he would not be playing in this game. If that's sprinting out, if it's running the option, if it's drop back, he can do all those things because he proved it to us in practice.
While that's exactly what fantasy owners wanted to hear, it's a situation where they will have to see it to believe it. Shanahan wouldn't want to tip his hand if Griffin was going to get limited in any way, shape or form in a matchup with a division rival.
That said, it's still enough to consider him an elite option in Week 1. He averaged more than 22 fantasy points per game in two meetings with the Eagles last season, including a four-touchdown, 32-point showing in Week 11.
Furthermore, Griffin had a flair for the dramatic during his rookie season. Now, he gets a chance to make his return on Monday Night Football while knowing full well everybody is going to be watching his every movement from warm-ups until the fourth quarter.
He's going to come out on a mission. He can eliminate all of the lingering concerns with one electric performance on the national stage.
The other factor working in Griffin's favor it the return of Pierre Garcon to full strength. The playmaking wide receiver declared himself 100 percent last week after battling a bothersome toe injury that plagued him throughout his first season with the Redskins.
Garcon and Griffin flashed a terrific connection when both were healthy, but it just didn't happen frequently enough. With both players having seemingly moved past their respective injury issues, they should be ready to put up some big numbers.
All told, even if Griffin doesn't pick up exactly where he left off last season, he should do enough in the opener to make fantasy owners happy.
Week 1 Projection
17-of-24 passing for 225 yards and two touchdowns; 35 rushing yards and a touchdown