Robert Griffin III burst onto the professional scene in 2012 during his rookie season, carrying the much-maligned Washington Redskins to a division title and first round matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. That game did not go too well for RGIII and the Redskins. Not only did they blow a 14-point lead and surrender 24 unanswered points, they also lost their quarterback to a knee injury that carried over into 2013. Clearly hobbled and not himself to start the season last year, Griffin improved as the season went along and looked close to regaining his 2012 form. Fully healthy and equipped with more receiving targets in 2014, expect the Redskins quarterback to make significant progress in his game and fantasy football stats this year.
Helping Griffin get back to his electric running and passing self are steady receivers and one new one: Pro Bowler, DeSean Jackson. Joining Jackson are Pierre Garçon, Andre Roberts, and tight end Jordan Reed. With a bounty of targets this year, Griffin will have more options in the passing game as well as more room to pull the football down and run. I project a 4,000 yard passing year for Griffin as his supporting cast on offense is improved while the defense remains just as bad as last year.
Bad defenses lead to being behind in games and being behind in games leads to throwing the ball a lot. Griffin is an accurate quarterback, but when you’re throwing a lot of passes, especially late in games when you’re trying to make a comeback, chances are you’re going to be forcing the ball into places you shouldn’t and that will lead to interceptions.
Another factor in RGIII’s fantasy production is his new coach, Jay Gruden. Gruden likes to get the ball down the field a lot, which will benefit Griffin’s stats. He’s an accurate passer and has a new downfield target in Jackson. That should be a pretty exciting connection. While Gruden’s offensive strategy is beneficial for Griffin, there’s bound to be a few growing pains with any new coach. Working through new schemes and strategies might take a few weeks, thus hampering Griffin’s stats.
Griffin will ultimately finish the year at the league’s sixth best fantasy quarterback. Manning, Rodgers, Brees, Kaepernick, and Stafford will all finish ahead of him, but peg Griffin in as next on that list. The problem, though, is that the middle tier of quarterbacks this year don’t have enough separation in talent to justify taking someone like RGIII two rounds before someone like Russell Wilson. Outside of the elite QBs — Manning, Rodgers, and Brees — that second tier is relatively the same that you might as well wait to be the last person to draft a QB in your league if you missed out on one of the elite guys.
Griffin’s 2014 Projection: 4,000 yards passing, 27 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 600 yards rushing, 3 rushing touchdowns.
*Photo Credit – Mr. Schultz