Since being drafted by the Washington Redskins in 2012, Robert Griffin III has been a hot topic of discussion. He had a great rookie season, throwing for 3,200 yards and 20 TDs and rushing for another 800 yards and seven TDs. Then last season, Griffin underperformed severely, and fantasy football players are divided on his prospects for 2014. Here’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to give him another chance.
Last year was a disaster for the Redskins, and everyone was quick to assume that Griffin also failed as a fantasy QB. However, he actually quietly averaged over 15 points per game in the 13 games in which he played. If he had kept that average through all 16 games in 2013, Griffin would’ve been the 13th QB in standard scoring with 246 points. That’s still not a QB1 in many leagues, but I fully expect his numbers to go up this coming season.
I attribute Griffin’s projected rise in production this year due to two big factors. First, Griffin will be in much better health than he was last season. Second, two of Washington’s additions to the team this year bode well for Griffin’s fantasy value.
Griffin had surgery on his LCL and ACL in early 2013. If you watched any Redskins game last year, you didn’t have to be a football expert or physical therapist to tell that Griffin’s knee wasn’t fully recovered. He looked uncomfortable and ungainly in that knee brace, and it definitely affected his play.
Reports from the Redskins’ OTAs seem to indicate that Griffin is now looking great and back to his former 2012 self. Despite his knee, Griffin still completed over 60 percent of his passes last year. At full health, Griffin’s should improve on his accuracy, which will be complemented by his deadly ability to rush for yards on the ground.
Griffin rushed for over 800 yards and seven TDs in 2012. After failing to rush for any TDs in 2013, expect Griffin to get at least two or three rushing TDs in 2014 along with at least the same 500 yards he had last year.
Washington also made two very important moves to improve their prospects this year, and the first was signing WR DeSean Jackson. The Redskins signed Jackson following a career year with their division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles. With Jackson’s added speed and agility as well as the emergence of TE Jordan Reed to help Pierre Garcon, Washington now has an arsenal of receiving weapons for Griffin to target in 2014.
Even better for Griffin’s value is Jay Gruden’s hiring as the new head coach. Gruden has had success with QBs, most notably with Andy Dalton during his time as offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. Gruden made Dalton a top-5 fantasy QB last season with almost 600 passing attempts. There’s very little doubt in my mind that Griffin is a far more talented QB than Dalton.
If Gruden even has Griffin throwing over 500 passes this year, I think Griffin has a great chance of finishing as a top-8 or so fantasy QB with a shot at being a top-5 fantasy QB. There’s little reason to be concerned with Griffin’s poor output in 2013. Expect him to be a completely different beast with a fully healthy knee, Jackson going deep and Gruden calling the shots.