Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 5/23/12
It was just last season in 2011 when a certain QB from Auburn, taken first overall by the Panthers, was basically just an afterthought in fantasy drafts.  He was considered a raw prospect, mostly just an athletic hard thrower that even had some questioning his commitment and ability to adjust to the pro game quickly.  Boy, were those people ever wrong.  I’m of course talking about Cam Newton, who went on to be a top 5 QB in most scoring formats on the season, and will likely repeat that feat in 2012.  Of course, with where Newton was drafted last year, a lot of teams didn’t need him, due to his lowly draft status.  How many of you were in leagues where the team with Newton had guys like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady as their #1 QB?  I know I couldn’t have been the only one in such leagues.

This brings us to the case of Robert Griffin III, or RGIII as people are already calling him.  Unfortunately for you “late gem” drafters, you won’t be so lucky with him, as the cat is pretty much out of the proverbial bag on his ability.  We all saw what Griffin is capable after he shredded the competition in college while at Baylor, to the tune of at least 3 scores in 10 out of 13 games, and almost 400 yards of total offense per game during his 2011 season.  Now with Newton having the success he had last year, and Griffin considered both a superior athlete and passer, you may have to pull the trigger in the 10-15 QB rank range in order to get him if you want some RGIII for your fantasy squad in 2012.  The question is, will he be worth it?

There are a few factors working in favor of Griffin for rookie season success.  First and foremost, Mike Shanahan isn’t playing any shenanigans with his starting QB; the coach has already made the commitment to playing Griffin right out of the gate from day one.  With his coach’s early backing, Griffin will be able to command the huddle from the start of camp and will get as much time as possible to get the first team offense in sync with his style and tendencies.  Getting that early vote of confidence is important to a young QB’s morale, and Shanahan is arming his new toy with as much of a psychological advantage as he can give him.

Secondly, the Redskins have made the commitment of building a team around RGIII, giving him the weapons he’ll need to be successful.  The team went out and acquired blue chip free agent Pierre Garcon to bolster their receiving corps, and has both veteran Santana Moss and up and coming second year player Leonard Hankerson to round out a dangerous group of receivers for Griffin to call upon.  He also has one of the better young TEs in Fred Davis on hand, along with the returning vet Chris Cooley giving the Redskins an enviable one-two punch from the tight end spot.  Look for the Redskins to play a lot of 2 TE base sets, along with rolling 3 WRs more often than not, all of which opens up a lot of possibilities for Griffin both with his feet and with his arm. 

Let’s also not forget about Roy Helu, who proved to be capable of every-down back duties, including the all important ability to be a receiver out of the backfield, which can be a rookie QB’s favorite outlet.  All in all, the Redskins have the weapons for Griffin to experience success, more so than Newton had; and we all know what he did.

The last and certainly not least advantage Griffin has going for him is the 2012 schedule.  The Redskins play in a division with high octane offenses, which means Griffin will have a lot of opportunities to put points on the board to keep up with the likes of Tony Romo, Eli Manning, and Michael Vick.  This division should be fantasy points galore, which of course plays favorably into the prospects of Griffin being useable as a fantasy asset.  I mean really… who isn’t looking forward to two games a year of Griffin facing off against Vick, or defending Super Bowl champ Manning, or the gunslinging Romo?  At least six games a year, Griffin will have an opportunity to put up enough points to be a fantasy starter.

As for his non-division games, Griffin will get a chance to go blow for blow with Drew Brees and the Saints in Week 1, will get a juicy matchup against the hapless Rams in Week 2, pulls one of the worst defenses of 2011 in the Buccaneers for Week 4, gets a big time matchup against Cam Newton and the Panthers in Week 9, and a poor Browns team in the all important Week 15 fantasy playoffs.  So all in all, he plays either a lot of cakewalk defenses or high octane offenses, all of which bode well for his fantasy prospects.

So what can we expect for fantasy statistics for Griffin’s inaugural season?  While he is certainly capable of putting up Newton-esque numbers, let’s remember he is a rookie and most of the time rookie QBs do have a tough time with the initial transition to the NFL.  Newton is much more the exception than the rule, so it is probably foolhardy to expect Griffin to repeat that success.  However, that level of success isn’t out of the realm of possibility, because RGIII does arguably have a better supporting cast to get the job done with.  That said, I would slot him optimistically at around 3200-3500 passing yards, 500-700 rushing yards, around 20-25 passing scores and 9-11 rushing TDs. 

At the high end, that means Griffin would threaten to break in around 10-12 in rank, making him a low end fantasy QB1, or a high end QB2.  In drafts, I would target him in the middle rounds, right around where you would first start thinking about a QB2.  Ideally, I would pair him with a lower end but dependable QB1 of the caliber of a Ben Roethlisberger or Matt Ryan, and then wait for the fireworks to happen.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sam Mitchell reportedly candidate to join Pelicans’ coaching staff

Warriors GM indicates Steve Kerr still isn’t ready to return

Taylor Hall says it was “nice to finally see” the Edmonton Oilers eliminated

Report: Jets to hire female defensive backs coach

Vince Young officially inks contract with CFL team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jason Witten: Bill Parcells is getting soft in his old age

Braves make up with fan ejected by security for interference

David Price to start for Red Sox Monday against Chicago

David Price to start for Red Sox Monday against Chicago

Magic Johnson indicates Brandon Ingram is Lakers’ only untradeable player

Congress drafted a bill that could legalize online sports betting; how soon might it happen?

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

It’s our civic duty to stop attending Super Bowls in new stadiums

Box Score 5/25: The Cavaliers look to close out the Celtics

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

Box Score 5/24: Craig Anderson saves the Senators

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker