Robert Griffin III Presents Strong Buy-Low Candidate for Fantasy Owners

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2013

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 22:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins fumbles the ball in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at FedExField on September 22, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

A funny thing has happened in the NFL stratosphere. Robert Griffin III, everyone's beloved darling last season, is now an object of heated scorn.

You know, he really hasn't been that bad, especially for fantasy football owners. 

When it comes to quarterbacks, fans and pundits mistakenly struggle to separate individual success from team performance. No other player on the gridiron is judged so harshly for an outcome dozens of other men also control.

Since the Washington Redskins have started the season at 0-3, everyone is freaking out over Griffin's so-called decline. Use this hysteria to your advantage and see if you can steal him for pennies on the dollar.

Yes, Washington as a team is terrible, but most of that blame belongs to a defense that ranks last in the NFL with 488 total yards allowed per game. Unless you're an old-school guy or gal who expects the quarterback to make some stops in the secondary, there's nothing Griffin can do about that.

Yet it's Griffin taking the flak. The Washington Post lampooned his nickname with an unfair, albeit clever headline.

From a fantasy perspective, who cares if Washington goes 0-16? Just keep racking up the yards in shootouts and Griffin will have done right by us.

Griffin has quietly tallied three 300-yard efforts during those three losses. He already has been forced to air it out 139 times, but he has still completed 63.3 percent of his passes.

He is already one interception from matching his 2012 total, but you didn't seriously expect him to only throw five interceptions again, did you? Turnover rates are fickle; even Tom Brady threw 12 interceptions in 2011 after throwing just four the previous season.

Under ESPN's scoring system, Griffin has fared just fine. He ranks 11th among quarterbacks, trailing the sixth-placed Matthew Stafford by just five points.

Still, Griffin usually derives much of his fantasy value from his legs. In his assessment of the sophomore quarterback, ESPN's Christopher Harris discovered that Griffin obtained 38.2 percent of his point total from rushing numbers. Only Colin Kaepernick relied as heavily on his running prowess.

This year, however, Griffin has remained gun-shy in his first games back from a torn ACL, rushing 15 times for 62 yards. That's just nine percent of his fantasy point total earned through the ground.

Washington has shown little willingness to put its valued asset in harm's way outside of the pocket, but Griffin should scramble more as he regains his health and comfort on the field. He showed a burst last Sunday by pulling out a 21-yard run against the Detroit Lions. (He fumbled, but was ruled down, so no harm done.)

Nobody should expect him to run for 1,000 yards, but he will gain a few extra points on the side while piling up the passing yards. In the end, he'll finish exactly how most gamers projected him, fighting for a top-10 spot among a crowded cast of premier passers.

Don't give up on Tom Brady in his favor, but someone with Michael Vick or Philip Rivers should cash out while their stock is high. If you dangle one of them, especially Vick, you might get an upgrade at another position for your troubles.  

Griffin gets the Oakland Raiders this Sunday, which should massage both his and Washington's egos. If he debilitates the defense with a 76.5 opposing completion percentage, the door to buy low on Griffin will close.