Griffin Door

Karl Safchick


“Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The weapons of war have perished.”

Robert Griffin III was once a 22-year old rookie quarterback coming off a 3,200 yard passing season in which he accumulated 27 total touchdowns, only threw five interceptions and was a top five fantasy quarterback. The sky was the limit for Griffin in fantasy circles. There was even discussion as to if he’d be a better fantasy option than Andrew Luck, the only player to be selected ahead of Griffin in the 2012 NFL draft. Now Griffin is plummeting into sub-mediocrity at a Tiger Woods-like pace.

The Washington Redskins announced early Monday morning Kirk Cousins would be their starting quarterback and when Griffin was cleared of concussion symptoms, he and fellow benchwarmer Colt McCoy would compete for the immediate backup position. Cousins was also selected by the Redskins in the 2012 draft, though instead of spending three first round and one second round picks, the team selected Cousins in the fourth round (102nd overall).

While Griffin’s dynasty value is no where near the top five status he enjoyed in 2012, there is still a semblance of hope. When healthy and on the field, Griffin may not be a great quarterback, but fantasy owners know how a quarterback’s rushing yards can help you outscore your opponent. In 2012, a staggering 39% of Griffin’s fantasy points came on the ground. He’s obviously not the same quarterback he was then, though. After an ACL tear, three straight years of poor play and being benched and the perceived lack of confidence which comes with those unfortunate turn of events, Griffin’s best days could very well be behind him. I’m viewing Griffin as a back end QB3 stash with upside in a twelve team league at this point. The emphasis is on “stash” as the Redskins don’t have any motivation to start Griffin this season. After exercising the fifth year option earlier this off-season, the Redskins have to protect themselves from the guaranteed portion of the fifth year by ensuring Griffin doesn’t get an on-field injury. In short, the Redskins can cut Griffin for free in March if he’s healthy and if he’s not, they will owe him over $16 million.

“RGIII’s” best chance for dynasty relevance will certainly come with another team. Even if the Redskins were willing to trade him (they’d only get pennies on their dollar), what team(s) would be interested this close to the regular season?

[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]

The Buffalo Bills currently have a sinkhole on the depth chart where their starting quarterback should be listed. It would actually be a nice spot for Griffin as he could pair up with one of the league’s best sophomore receivers in Sammy Watkins. The defense is going to keep the Bills in contention in most games, so the natural progression a quarterback needs to succeed could occur. Percy Harvin is there, too. It’s not as if Harvin is a Pro Bowl caliber player anymore, but his skill set wouldn’t beg for Griffin to get the ball downfield. This could be a good fit should Tyrod Taylor fail to prove his worth.

The New York Jets have Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith, but Head Coach Todd Bowles doesn’t seem averse to bring in competition. This would be another landing spot with some pretty good pass catching options. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker make up one of the best wide receiver duos in the league. Rookie Devin Smith is a prototypical deep ball threat needed to play in the slot.

The mastermind that is Chip Kelly could bring Griffin in as well, although this probably would not happen via trade. If released, I wouldn’t be surprised if Griffin was picked up by the in-division rival to pick his brain about the Redskins’ playbook. Everyone always wants to connect Kelly to a mobile, athletic quarterback. This could be his chance.

Cousins doesn’t get much of a boost in my mind, though. He’s gone from player you probably shouldn’t roster, to a QB3 with limited upside. Yes, he’s been given the keys to the car, but unfortunately, the car is a 2010 Toyota Corolla (not the worst, but not a Ferrari). Pierre Garcon is a decent receiver who led the NFL in targets in 2012 and was a PPR WR1. DeSean Jackson is a more explosive deep threat who has more than survived in the NFL with a myriad of quarterbacks. Jordan Reed is one of the best young tight ends in the game when healthy, but he’s on the field about once every Mayan calendar cycle. Alfred Morris is one of the best young runners in the league, but he doesn’t offer much of a boost to Cousins’ value given he hasn’t contributed much in the passing game over his first three years. As a deep stash, Cousins is fine, but don’t trip over your computer cord running to make a trade offer.

On the surface, this turn of events has the biggest effect on Morris. The once ppr RB8 in 2012 has suffered greatly at the hands of a negative game script. As a running back reliant on gaining points while his team is ahead or, at least, competitive in games, has suffered as the Redskins have won seven games in the last two years.

If you peel back the first layer of the onion, this isn’t all bad for Morris, though. Poor play of the quarterback was the reason for Morris’ decline, not specifically who was playing the position. In games started by Griffin over the last two years, Morris only averaged 1.7 ppr ppg more than he did with other starting quarterbacks (12.1 vs 10.4). With a sample size of only ten games started by non-Griffin quarterbacks (and two of those games coming against Seattle and Arizona), I’m not willing to bet Morris is reliant on Griffin to be a suitable back. In games in which the Redskins won over the last two years, Morris has averaged 13 ppr ppg. If you extrapolate those numbers over an entire season, he’s back into RB1 territory. The Redskins aren’t likely to win more than they lose, but we can now see what type of running back Morris can be without Griffin. Add in the addition of Bill Callahan and Brandon Scherff and Morris could be seeing an uptick in production even if game script still isn’t in his favor.

The change for Jackson, Garcon and Reed isn’t drastic, either. As a pass catcher, you’re reliant on good quarterback play, too. We’ve seen Jackson produce with Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, Nick Foles, Griffin, Cousins and McCoy. He’ll still likely produce at a high level this year and his current dynasty ADP of WR38 is value for contenders. Garcon will never see 182 targets again, but he’s a capable WR4 for your dynasty team. All three of these players are a “hold” in dynasty leagues for me.

Griffin’s stock is way down (although it was already plummeting to begin with), Cousins’ is up slightly and the skill position players aren’t drastically affected unless Cousins ends up being legit. Skill position players obviously benefit from above average quarterback play. Cousins won’t become the next Peyton Manning, but there is very little chance Griffin ever returns to 2012 form.