Getting Nervous About Robert Griffin III in Fantasy Football? You Should Be.

The Redskins' offense has been struggling in the preseason, and fantasy owners should be worried about the team's quarterback.

So far in the preseason, Robert Griffin III has thrown as many touchdowns as you and I have, and an additional two interceptions. He’s got a 46.0 quarterback rating (take that for what it’s worth), and there’s plenty of talk surrounding the fact that he’s been outplayed by backup passer Kirk Cousins.

That’s not a good way to start things off with a new regime, is it?

As a result, RGIII’s average draft position according to has taken a massive hit. Two months ago, RGIII was sitting pretty as the ninth pick in the sixth round in 12-team leagues. Today, just a week before the season begins, Griffin III is almost a ninth rounder.

Is this all warranted? The preseason doesn’t matter that much, does it?

Well, to be honest, this could be a continuation of last year’s relatively dreadful performance. RGIII was no doubt one of the greatest rookie quarterbacks we’ve ever seen, but his advanced metrics took a massive hit in 2013 coming off an ACL tear. Many wanted to blame it on the knee – which makes sense – but perhaps there’s more to it than just that.

Griffin’s per drop back Net Expected Points (NEP) score went from 0.17 to 0.04 from 2012 to 2013. If we’re relating these numbers to 2013 quarterbacks, that’d be like going from Russell Wilson to Carson Palmer. And the key here is that it didn’t progress as the season went on, as you’d hope to see with an injury.

After nine weeks last year, Griffin III actually compiled a 29.26 Passing NEP, which was better than Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck. On a per drop back basis, he was on par with both Luck and Russell Wilson as well.

But during his final four games, RGIII’s Passing NEP dropped nine points, and his efficiency was cut in half. Blame it on the organizational dumpster fire, but the fact is that Griffin actually trended downward throughout last season, which shouldn’t make us feel all that optimistic about 2014.

And our numbers certainly agree. To help make our projections, we use historical comparables, or players who are statistically similar with some relevance given to the teams in which they play. Robert Griffin III’s comps may make your eyes bleed.

PlayerYear% MatchGamesFantasy QB Rank
David Carr200493.09%1611th
Aaron Brooks200191.01%168th
David Garrard200988.46%1613th
Christian Ponder201287.97%1622nd
Jake Plummer200484.94%166th

While each of these quarterbacks aside from Christian Ponder posted respectable numbers in their comparable seasons, the number one takeaway of this list is the fact that the names encountered are all high variance ones – guys who didn’t post consistent fantasy football numbers, and some who didn’t even keep their starting gig very long.

All of this being said, we currently have RGIII as our 12th-ranked quarterback, barely ahead of Jay Cutler and Tony Romo. Given the fact that Jay Gruden’s offense is generally overrated, the slow start to the preseason and the depth at quarterback in fantasy football, there’s not a whole lot of reason to invest heavily in Robert Griffin III this year.