RG3, sprained but willing (USA Today Sports Images)
First of all, this is one of those posts that we intend not as a lecture, but a discussion. I don't claim any special access or insider knowledge where the Washington Redskins are concerned, and I'll freely admit that I was way too conservative in my forecast for Robert Griffin III entering the year.
As of this moment, Griffin is the top-scoring fantasy entity in standard leagues, regardless of position. It's easy to build a case for him as this season's fantasy MVP, based on year-to-date performance and draft value. He's awesome. A special dual-threat talent, gifted with almost unlimited fantasy potential. I have nothing bad to say about the player. He's returned a ridiculous profit for those who drafted him.
But RG3 owners nonetheless face a dilemma this week, as a result of this nasty hit from Week 14. Griffin, as everyone now knows, managed to escape that horrific play with merely an LCL sprain — not a trivial injury, obviously, but we feared much worse last Sunday.
Griffin has been a limited participant in practices this week, and he declared on Wednesday that he felt "really good" about his chances to face the Browns. So that's good news. Here are a few of OC Kyle Shanahan's Thursday comments, via the Washington Post:
"I think he'll push himself during this week so we all will be able to watch him and get an idea, mainly from a medical standpoint. I think Robert's going to be able to show us that he can move well. It's more, is his knee stable enough, can he protect himself in there and is there a risk of further injury?"
If Griffin can't protect himself "then there's no chance of him going out there" Kyle Shanahan said.
No big surprises, no definitive statements.
If you're a fantasy owner expecting to roll with Griffin in the playoffs, you have to be fairly optimistic about his chances for Week 15, yet also nervous about starting a far-less-mobile version of your star QB. A significant percentage of RG3's fantasy value is clearly tied to his willingness to run, and his extraordinary ability to pile up rushing yards. Of the 291.98 public league fantasy points he's scored this season, 110.80 have been delivered via the ground game (748 yards, 6 TDs). That's no small detail.
As a passer, Griffin's efficiency stats are extraordinary — 8.3 yards per attempt, 66.4 completion percentage, 104.2 rating — but his counting stats really are not. His 2,902 passing yards rank 18th in the league and his 18 touchdown passes are tied for 16th. There's no question that he's done a terrific job limiting turnovers, tossing just four picks in 351 pass attempts, losing only two fumbles (despite putting the ball on the ground 11 times).
Assuming Griffin plays this week at something less than full capacity ... well, how bullish are you feeling today, RG3 owners?
I've slotted him at No. 12 in my QB ranks for now, lower than I've had him in months, worried that the rushing safety net won't be there. There's a non-trivial chance that Griffin will be anchored to the pocket, never running read-option, handing the ball off to Alfred Morris, making a bunch of safe, quick-hit throws.
Of course he could also blow up, passing for multiple scores, scrambling for huge yardage, enhancing his already ridiculous legend. The kid is a monster, not to be compared to standard-issue NFL QBs. I get it ... and still, I'd start Brees, Cam, Rodgers, both Mannings, Ryan, Freeman, Luck, Stafford, Brady and Schaub ahead of him, if any of those options were available to me. And I'd be torn on Kaepernick, too. And maybe Roethlisberger.
But again, I didn't exactly nail the RG3 projection coming into the season, and I sold my few shares weeks ago, before his best passing performances.
Thus, I'm opening the floor to the commenting community, hoping we can workshop the Week 15 Griffin issue (if it's an issue at all). Let's hear your spin, perhaps with a projection...
Fantasy advice from the Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Minute:
• Execs talk about top NBA trade candidates
• ESPN personality Rob Parker suspended for RG3 race rant
• Winners and losers of Josh Hamilton's surprising deal with the Angels
• Y! News: California judge says victims' bodies can prevent rape