Fantasy Football: Robert Griffin III Not Worth Claiming

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The Baltimore Ravens enter Week 11 with a tremendous amount of uncertainty at the quarterback position. Joe Flacco injured his hip in Week Nine, was last seen on crutches, and hasn’t practiced all week. Lamar Jackson, the presumed backup, has also missed practice with an illness and might not be able to go against the Cincinnati Bengals. All week long, the only healthy quarterback has been former second-overall pick Robert Griffin III.

As of right now, nobody knows who will start on Sunday. Head coach John Harbaugh says Flacco doesn’t need to practice to play, and Jackson will probably be over his illness in time for the game. However, there is a very real chance Griffin starts Sunday, leaving some wondering if he’s worth playing in fantasy football. While the Ravens have a favorable matchup, you should probably leave Griffin unclaimed on the waiver wire.

Fantasy Football: Steer Clear of Robert Griffin III

The biggest positive to starting Griffin is that he’s going up against a struggling Cincinnati Bengals defense. After a relatively hot start to the season, the Bengals defense has completely fallen apart at the seams. So far on the season, Cincinnati allows the third-most points per game to fantasy quarterbacks in standard scoring. Any quarterback going up against that defense should, at the very least, be in consideration to start.

There’s no denying the Bengals are bad but is Griffin good to take advantage of a subpar unit? Unfortunately, history says no. Ever since his magical 2012 rookie season, Griffin has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. Since 2013, Griffin has started 25 games, throwing 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions while averaging a measly 231 yards per game. All this adds up to an underwhelming 81.7 passer rating. Per Pro Football Focus, Griffins’ 81.7 passer rating since 2013 ranks 39th out of 47 quarterbacks with 500 or more pass attempts.

While Griffin theoretically has the ability to make plays with his legs, he probably shouldn’t. Griffin’s battled injury throughout his career and doesn’t slide and give himself up. Should Griffin start running, there’s a very real chance he suffers an injury or is drastically slowed down for the rest of the game.

No Long-Term Value

Earlier in the week, I wrote an article about why Lamar Jackson was worth a waiver claim. While Jackson isn’t a polished passer, he was worth a claim because there was a chance he turned into Baltimore’s starter for the rest of the season.

Baltimore has perhaps the easiest remaining schedule for the fantasy football playoffs. After their Week 11 date with Cincinnati, they get to face the Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on championship weekend. All these teams are top-eight in fantasy points allowed to the quarterback position. Any quarterback facing a schedule this friendly has real fantasy value.

Head coach John Harbaugh is reportedly on the hot seat, so there was a chance he’d stick with Jackson in an effort to save his job. The Ravens invested a first-round pick in the rookie and Baltimore views him as their future. If Jackson put up a good enough showing in Week 11, he could have earned the right to start a very quarterback-friendly schedule.

That opportunity does not exist for Robert Griffin III. Nobody views Griffin as the future at this point in his career, and nobody will bet their job on him sustaining strong play. Joe Flacco has been the quarterback all season and Jackson has the draft pedigree. Griffin has no reason to stay in the lineup once either quarterback gets healthy. Really, the only chance he has of starting more than one game is by turning back the clock to 2012, which seems highly unlikely. Even if he does that, it might not be enough to earn him the starting job.

Last Word on Robert Griffin III

The world has absolutely no idea who will be starting for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11. However, at this point in time, it looks like Robert Griffin III has a decent chance to be that guy. Despite the favorable matchup, Griffin is only worth starting in the deepest of fantasy leagues.

Ever since 2013 Griffin has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the league by just about every measure. He’s had multiple coaches, multiple playmakers, and multiple schemes to try to bring out the best in him, but nothing’s ever worked. At this point, it’s time to just accept that the RG3 of 2012 is gone and never coming back.

Even if Griffin puts together a solid performance, he almost certainly won’t keep the starting job. Flacco has started all season long and Lamar Jackson has the draft pedigree. Head coach Jim Harbaugh won’t want to tie his coaching future to Griffin, so this is most likely a one-week scenario.

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