A few weeks ago Will shared his thoughts on this same topic (click here to view), but I wanted to also give you my two cents on the topic.
There’s no doubt that fantasy owners who opted to ignore Cam Newton heading into the 2011 season continue to look back and wonder why.
Why did I think he wouldn’t produce immediately?
Why did I ignore the element he brought in the running game?
Just why did I choose not to spend the draft pick or early season waiver pick on him?
As we prepare for the 2012 draft, many of those same owners are likely vowing not to let history repeat itself. A year ago they let Cam Newton slip through their fingers and now they don’t want to let history repeat itself. With the second overall selection in the NFL draft, Robert Griffin III, representing a very similar skill set fantasy owners are making sure they don’t miss out.
The ADP numbers are extremely early, obviously, but Griffin currently sports and 88.44 ADP according to Mock Draft Central and is the twelfth quarterback coming off the board. He’s being drafted before names like:
- Ben Roethlisberger – 97.22
- Jay Cutler – 117.36
- Matt Schaub – 127.26
Could he outperform those three quarterbacks? It’s definitely possible, but it also is far from a sure thing. One of the biggest differences is that the Redskins running game doesn’t have close to the talent that the Panthers does.
Could Roy Helu develop into a solid back? Absolutely, but who is to say that he’s on the level of DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart, two players that opposing defenses have to game plan for. Helu showed flashes, with three straight 100 yard games, but it’s hard to consider him a lock to produce. Until he proves he can do it, defenses are not going to give him the same respect.
You could argue that the Redskins receivers are not as good as what the Panthers had as well. While the Redskins could have more mid-level guys, is Santana Moss or Pierre Garcon up to the level of a Steve Smith? I know the Redskins paid Garcon like he was, but he’s never had more than 70 receptions, 947 yards or 6 TD in a season (all came in 2011).
You also have the fact that the rest of the league has had a year to watch Newton and try to come up with a game plan for stopping him. You have to think that teams will use that tape to plan for Griffin, which will make things a little more difficult.
It’s not to say that Griffin is not going to be a good fantasy option in 2012, but if you are looking at Newton’s 2011 success and assuming that Griffin can match that production it is going to be a mistake. He doesn’t have the element of surprise and he is just not in as good of a situation that Newton was in. He’s worth drafting as a QB2, but right now he’s being drafted as a borderline QB1. That just feels way too big of a gamble.
Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings: