Once upon a time…Robert Griffin III (RGIII) showed promise of being a franchise quarterback. The former Heisman Trophy winner (2011) and Baylor standout was taken with the second pick of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins (Andrew Luck was the 1st overall selection made by the Indianapolis Colts).
Fast forward to 2016 (after the injuries and a falling out with the ‘Skins brass).
With his woeful days in Washington behind him, RGIII has a second chance at reclaiming his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns. RGIII showed flashes of his former self in his pre-season starts. He connected with Terrelle Pryor and Gary Barnridge for a touchdown each in a loss against the Atlanta Falcons back in week two (video courtesy of NFL.com/YouTube). Griffin went 22 of 38 (57.3% completion percentage) passing for a total of 313 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT (had a 100. QB rating) for the pre-season.
Granted these performances have come against second and third string defenses, but it still has created a small amount of buzz in the Fantasy Football community. This led me to the following question (also the title of this post), ‘Can RGIII be the 2016 version of Tyrod Taylor?’
Allow me to breakdown why RGIII will and won’t have Tyrod Taylor-esque fantasy success in 2016:
Reasons He Will:
RGIII is currently projected to average 17 fan points per game (via Y! Sports) and could boom for a few 20-25 point performances. He has weapons at his disposal in Barnridge, Pryor, Josh Gordon (should he stay clean) and rookie Corey Coleman. Griffin also sits just outside the top ten, at 11th easiest, for Strength of Schedule for this fantasy season (per FantasyPros.com).
Not to mention he will likely benefit from garbage-time points as Cleveland’s defense may fold more often than they would like this year (and yes, garbage points still count in fantasy).
Per Fantasy Pros.com RGIII is projected to total 197 fantasy points with 3,127 yards passing, 16 TDs, and 12 INTs. I believe it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Griffin to toss 20 TDs, trim his INTs down to 10, and pass for 3,300 yards (giving him roughly 240-250 total fantasy points).
If RGIII can put up those kind of results in 2016, he’ll be one of Fantasyland’s biggest bargains. His ADP has him coming off the board as the 26th QB, making RGIII a potential late round steal.
Reasons He Won’t:
If RGIII fails to have any fantasy relevancy this season it will surprise no one, as rebuilding his career in Cleveland doesn’t hold much merit (see the Browns last 24 QB’s).
The RGIII to Pryor pre-season spectacle may turn into a regular season blunder once the former Ohio State QB sees first-string secondary’s. Barnridge may turn out to be a flash-in-the-pan fantasy tight end, Coleman could struggle in his rookie campaign, and Gordon may continue to watch from the sidelines.
All of that, plus RGIII potentially throwing as many INTs as he does TDs (and his previous injury history) will undoubtedly bury him at the bottom of every waiver wire.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting anyone draft RGIII over Tyrod Taylor (though both will only be separated by a few rounds in some standard drafts). However, I’m willing to bet few fantasy experts had Taylor pegged to average 19 fantasy points last year and finish as the ninth highest scoring QB.
With the right amount of luck (no pun intended), RGIII could be a viable fantasy option for owners in 2016.