Robert Griffin III Will Return to Fantasy Football Excellence Following Bye Week

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins warms up before their game against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum on September 29, 2013 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With a record of 1-3, the Washington Redskins certainly haven't gotten off to an ideal start. Much of that has to do with the early-season struggles of quarterback Robert Griffin III.

With Washington's bye week now in the rear-view mirror, however, brighter days are ahead for both the Redskins and RG3.

Griffin was among the biggest surprises and most productive players in fantasy football last season due to his combination of efficient passing and timely running. While his overall numbers this year aren't awful from a fantasy perspective, it's clear that Griffin can play much better than he has.

Over the season's first three games, RG3 and the 'Skins were a train wreck in the first half. Griffin ended up with 320 or more passing yards in all three of those contests, but that had more to do with the fact that Washington was playing from behind than Griffin actually playing good football.

In fact, the Redskins' only win this season came in Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders, when Griffin had his worst statistical game. He threw for just 227 yards and one touchdown, but wasn't intercepted or forced to play catch-up for the entire game.

As bad as the Redskins have been this year, they are just a half-game behind the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East.

Even if the Redskins aren't quite as good this year as they were last season, they've been given a gift and Griffin will do everything he possibly can to take advantage of it.

Things can't get much worse for Griffin moving forward, as he has a QBR of 50 or worse in all four games this season. As ESPN Stats & Info revealed, that's something he did just twice all of last season.

There are several factors behind that, but the main one likely stems from the knee injury Griffin suffered in the playoffs last season. It was unclear if RG3 would be able to recover in time for the start of the regular season, and while he did make it back, it can be argued that he wasn't quite ready.

The fact that he has been seemingly reluctant to runand the Redskins' coaching staff has been reluctant to let him run—is a bit disconcerting.

Griffin had 815 rushing yards last season, but he has just 72 through four games this year.

It's unlikely that Griffin is going to run as much this season as he did last season at any point, but expect his attempts to increase moving forward. Not only did the bye week likely do a world of good for Griffin from the standpoint of getting healthy and regaining confidence, it also gave Mike and Kyle Shanahan a chance to devise some schemes to help RG3.

Last season, Griffin absolutely killed opposing defenses when they blitzed. However, according to Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News, the Redskins' signal-caller is suddenly among the league's worst quarterbacks in that regard.

That has a lot to do with a lack of mobility and confidence in the pocket. Perhaps those issues won't be completely corrected this season, but a week of rest is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Now that Griffin has a month of football under his belt as well as extra preparation time for the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6, it's time to take off the training wheels.

The Cowboys were absolutely torched by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos last week to the tune of more than 400 passing yards. It isn't realistic to expect that type of passing production from RG3, but he did manage more than 300 yards and four touchdowns in one of his meetings with the Cowboys last season.

Dallas' defense can be overaggressive to a fault, so Week 6 is the perfect time for Griffin to test his knee.

Even if he isn't as explosive this season as he was last year, he brings a different dimension to Washington's offense when the threat of him taking off is present.

Following the Dallas game, Washington will face the Chicago Bears. After that, the Redskins will face four of the league's worst pass defenses in succession in the form of the Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles.

That fact coupled with Griffin finally settling in after some early discomfort will lead to a huge statistical outburst in the coming weeks.


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