Robert Griffin III's Updated 2013 Fantasy Outlook and Trade Value After Week 4
If you were hoping that a trip to Oakland would be the perfect catalyst to make quarterback Robert Griffin III the fantasy worldbeater he was in 2012, well, I hope you didn't hold your breath.
From a team perspective, this was an absolutely critical performance. The Redskins' struggling defense finally got a solid all-around performance, keeping the Raiders to only 298 total yards. The offense, which has played from behind for nearly the entire season, was calm and efficient, turning the ball over only once and taking advantage of costly Oakland mistakes.
From a fantasy perspective, though? Meh.
Griffin finished the game with 227 yards passing and one touchdown. He added 10 yards rushing on three carries, totaling 14 fantasy points in standard scoring.* In today's NFL, 14 points from your fantasy quarterback is a sentence akin to getting into business with your old high school chemistry teacher.
In other words, Griffin's finest performance as a real-life quarterback of the first quarter of the season was actually his worst from a fantasy perspective. If you started RGIII this week—and plenty of people did because Oakland gon' Oakland—you received a fate worse than starting Brian Hoyer or Matt Cassel.
Recovering from a knee injury or not...yikes.
That's not going to ingratiate Griffin to a set of owners who have already become increasingly despondent about his mediocre production. In his rookie season, RGIII won fantasy leagues.
Now? You'd have better luck selling a Hummer to an environmentalist than Griffin for a similarly tiered quarterback. Even the average fantasy owner is well-versed in the tenuous relationship the quarterback has with head coach Mike Shanahan and can notice how he's still not driving properly off his surgically repaired knee on throws that need zip.
What really matters, though, is Griffin's complete lack of production from a running standpoint. Through four weeks, he has 72 rushing yards and hasn't scored on the ground. Last season, Griffin had six games of at least 72 yards rushing. He set the rookie rushing record for a quarterback. He had seven rushing touchdowns.
The amazing thing about Robert Griffin III's rookie season—from both a fantasy and real-life perspective—wasn't that he was a revolutionary thrower. It was that he was the evolutionary quarterback we were once supposedly given with Michael Vick. He could pass efficiently, he could run like a deer, and he had the charismatic superstar gene that made him a perfect pitchman for every company on planet earth, apparently.
Nearly all of that is gone so far in 2013. He's been less efficient and less accurate as a passer than at nearly any point last season. His confidence level definitely isn't there, no matter how much boisterous bluster gets thrown around in D.C.
And he isn't running. Designed runs have essentially been stricken from the Redskins playbook through four weeks. It's understandable from a practical standpoint. But if you haven't noticed, fantasy owners aren't exactly the most rational people on the planet. They demand to know why Robert Griffin III isn't single-handedly carrying their team to victory, even when the answer is staring them in the face.
The good news for fantasy owners is that there's actually some good news. Washington gets the fortuitous bounce of a Week 5 bye, which gives Griffin a week off to continue building confidence in his surgically repaired knee. It also gives the Redskins coaching staff an extra week to see how RGIII looks taking designed runs in practice, which should be the first step to implementing them more often into a game setting.
It's no guarantee that they will, but nervous owners would be better served holding on to RGIII for now. Shanahan could look at his team's season circling the drain and finally unleash his quarterback Week 6 against the division rival Dallas Cowboys.
If not, well, Washington doesn't play Oakland every week going forward. And based on how the Redskins defense has played against its three non-Raiders opponents, let's just say there should be a few more garbage-time come-ups for RGIII.
*Standard scoring assumes one point per 25 passing yards and four points for a passing touchdown.
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