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Robert Griffin III Is Ultimate Boom-or-Bust Fantasy Football Draft Pick

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 06:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins drops back to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at FedExField on January 6, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2013

Want to take a walk on the wild side with your fantasy football team this year? Draft Robert Griffin III

Out of all the possible choices in this year's batch of fantasy football studs, no one holds a greater risk/reward swing than the Washington Redskins signal-caller. 

On one hand, it's easy to see the allure of taking the second-year quarterback.

He emerged as a relevant fantasy option early in his rookie season by putting up at least 20 points in each of his first four games. He ended the season with more than 24 points seven times, including three performances of 30 points or more.

Those are the kind of numbers that can turn a bad week from the rest of your roster into a win. 

With his ability to score with his arm (3,200 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions) and his feet (815 rushing yards, seven touchdowns), he's one of the most exciting players to have on your team. 

But all of that glitz doesn't come without risk. 

First there's the issue of Griffin's current injury issues. Griffin won't be playing in the preseason because he's still recuperating from the torn ACL that he suffered last January. 

While Griffin and head coach Mike Shanahan insist that he'll be ready to go by Week 1, there's still plenty of risks that come with Griffin missing out entirely on the preseason. 

First, there's the issue of his progression as a quarterback. The most exciting aspect of drafting Griffin is the idea that he will be even better this season because he will make improvements from his rookie year to his second year as the starter.

Spending the offseason rehabbing his injury means that he hasn't been given the opportunity to develop more chemistry with his receivers and work on things that could make him better mechanically. 

Secondly, there's the issue of rust. The preseason isn't to be taken too seriously, but it does serve a purpose. It gives the players a chance to adjust to game speed after months away from the game. Regardless of how hard you practice, there's always a difference between practice speed and game speed. 

By getting thrown into the fire in Week 1, RGIII will lose out on that acclimation period, which may lead to a few disappointing weeks before he gets things going. 

The third concern with Griffin's injury is the most obvious: The chance for re-injury. This isn't to say that Griffin is going to re-tear the ACL. But his running ability and style is always going to make him vulnerable to injury. 

Spending a draft pick on Griffin means you had better stay glued to the injury reports and have a reliable backup option in case Griffin is forced to miss a game here and there. With Kirk Cousins going 26-of-37 for 329 yards and two touchdowns in his only start for the 'Skins last season, Washington won't hesitate to sit RGIII if he isn't 100 percent. 

Even with all of these drawbacks to Griffin, the upside is undeniably tempting, though. Despite missing a game, he still tied Peyton Manning in fantasy points last season. That's an incredible feat for a rookie. If he can stay healthy, he could surpass Manning's output this season.   

Considering you can snag him about 31 spots after Manning, according to ESPN's average draft position numbers, he could be the pick that literally takes your team to the championship. 

But buyer beware: Not all that glitters is gold. Taking Griffin is an experiment in cost-benefit analysis. 

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