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Projecting Robert Griffin III for 2014

By Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer

Robert Griffin III has no excuses this year. He should post career-high numbers. (USATSI)
Robert Griffin III has no excuses this year. He should post career-high numbers. (USATSI)

DeSean Jackson's arrival in Washington is very good news for many Redskins, none bigger than Robert Griffin III. Between Jackson and Pierre Garcon, the Redskins suddenly have one of the best receiving tandems in the league. Throw in second-year tight end Jordan Reed, veteran Andre Roberts and coach Jay Gruden taking over as the brain behind the offense and it catapults Griffin into the starting Fantasy quarterback conversation.

Gruden is known for running a version of the West Coast offense that calls for quick passing decisions with deep shots mixed in. Gruden, a former quarterback, ordered well over 1,500 pass attempts including at least 516 per season in Cincinnati. Between Griffin's solid arm skills and the arrival of Jackson, I doubt Gruden will be shy about letting him chuck it. The more attempts, the more yards. Sizing up Griffin's track record, I think he'll at least match the 7.3 yards per attempt Andy Dalton had last year. That's actually less than the career 7.5 mark Griffin has. I projected 525 pass attempts for Griffin in Gruden's QB-friendly offense, so that would put him at roughly 3,800 yards at a 7.3 yard average.

So if Griffin is throwing more in an offense that asks for it and has an upgrade at receiver, he should throw more touchdowns. If we were to conservatively pencil in seven scores for Pierre Garcon (which would be a career-high for him), seven for DeSean Jackson (would be the third-most in his career) and five for Jordan Reed (he had three in nine games in 2013), that's 19 touchdowns, one shy of Griffin's career-high. I noticed that Bengals who caught fewer than 50 passes last season combined for nine touchdowns, proving that the opportunities get spread around. If we assumed Griffin would throw nine touchdowns to the likes of Andre Roberts, Santana Moss and the like, that's 28 for the year. That wouldn't set the world on fire but would have been good for seventh-best in the NFL in 2013.

I don't think we'll see RG3 run as often as he did in 2012. Last year's averages of 6.6 rushes and 37.6 yards per game might be as good as it gets. I do think he'll score a couple on the ground after delivering a donut last year. Pencil in 450 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Griffin has fumbled at least 11 times in each of his first two seasons but has lost just six total. Eventually, fumbles catch up with you but for now we'll assume he'll have four. Griffin had just five picks as a rookie and wound up with 12 in 13 games in his second year. Knowing how often Gruden will ask for passes you can be sure Griffin will throw a bunch of interceptions. One per game? Entirely possible, but let's be nice and give him 14 ... which might end up actually being one per game.

That brings us to the biggest unknown here -- his health. One might argue that Griffin isn't a bad injury risk since he's missed just four games in two seasons but that's actually high for a quarterback. His offensive line makes me nervous and it's a lock he'll get blitzed plenty. But let's not confuse Griffin with Michael Vick, who just doesn't last long as a starter. Even if we draft Griffin knowing he's an injury risk, we'll still get a lot of play and feasibly a lot of Fantasy points. I like the idea of taking RG3 and another quality passer a couple of rounds after, piecing together a combo platter like Griffin-Russell Wilson, Griffin-Philip Rivers or Griffin-Cam Newton (!!!).

With a final projected stat line of 3,800 passing yards, 450 rush yards, 31 total touchdowns and 19 turnovers, RG3 stands out as a quarterback with 350-plus Fantasy point potential. That makes him more than worthy of being slotted between fifth and 10th overall among passers in 2014 Fantasy drafts. I'd put him on the radar starting in Round 6 or 7 with a backup coming soon thereafter.

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