Fantasy football strategy session: RGIII's value, Cowboys' trouble
There's always temptation to sell high on a player, especially when that player is outperforming expectations coming into the season. All the logic in the world says he'll eventually regress to the mean and that you should get out while the getting is still good. There are plenty of instances when that's true, but selling high isn't always a good move. And I'm here to tell you why you should resist any temptation to trade the most fun player in fantasy football this year: Robert Griffin III.
I lived in Washington, D.C. the last two-and-a-half years before moving back to my native Chicago just before the start of this football season. I have a lot of friends who are Redskins fans, and they were sipping the RGIII Kool-Aid about two seconds after they heard the team had pulled off a franchise-altering trade with the Rams before the draft. But no matter how optimistic, they couldn't have imagined Griffin being this good this soon.
In addition to making the Redskins nationally relevant and putting them on the fringes of the competitive NFC playoff race, RGIII is the No. 1 fantasy quarterback through seven weeks. It's easy to get wrapped up in his rushing numbers (we'll get to those in a second), but he has been just as impressive through the air. He has completed 70.4 percent of his passes for 1,601 yards and seven touchdowns. He has only thrown three interceptions, and continues to make plays throwing the ball late in games, most recently hitting Santana Moss to give the Redskins a brief lead over the Giants with less than two minutes remaining in Week 7. (The Giants eventually won on a Victor Cruz touchdown bomb.)
Of course, the running stats are eye-popping. RGIII has carried the ball 64 times for 468 yards and six scores. His rushing stats alone would make him the 11th-ranked fantasy running back, ahead of LeSean McCoy, Reggie Bush, Willis McGahee, Michael Turner, Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden. He's the fantasy MVP to this point, and easily the return on investment champion.
With all that said, some might be thinking the fun can't last forever. After all, Cam Newton gave a seemingly once-in-a-generation rookie season for a quarterback last year. Can Griffin really surpass that this year? Even with Pierre Garcon's status up in the air and Fred Davis out for the year? I believe he can.
Let's shake of the worry about those injuries right away. Griffin has essentially been without Garcon all year, so there's no adjustment necessary there. The loss of Davis hurts, but Griffin immediately found new tight end Logan Paulsen last week, and there's no reason to believe the Davis loss will slow Griffin for long.
As to his ground game, RGIII doesn't get his rushing yards primarily by scrambling, a la Michael Vick. The Redskins have devised an intricate package of designed runs for Griffin. He has successfully brought the read-option to the NFL, turning the league into his own, private Big 12. When he does scramble, he does so after going through his reads, not because he's jumpy in the pocket.
Finally, are you really going to trade the most fun player to own in fantasy football? I didn't think so.
Anyway, that's what I think. Here's what I think about what other people think this week.
Over at Yahoo!, the always entertaining Scott Pianowski breaks down the
Mario Puig at RotoWire (subscription required) lays out
They have issues on the offensive line, making it hard to get any consistency throwing or running the ball. In a related story, they've been shut down by two elite defenses this year (the Bears and Seahawks), while putting up 24, 16 and 19 against the average defenses of the Giants, Buccaneers and Panthers, respectively. Their only good offensive game this year came against the Ravens in a contest in which the Ravens lost Lardarius Webb and Ray Lewis, and were still without Terrell Suggs. Bryant doesn't catch the ball with enough consistency to be a threat, and Murray, who is injured again, hasn't gotten a thing going this year. Other than Austin, I'm selling everyone on this offense.
I agree with a lot of the calls Matthew Berry makes in his weekly