Robert Griffin III is a Cleveland Brown. When this was announced, there were two basic responses: laughter and hope. The laughter was predominant, even by the majority of Browns fans, but there are still those that hold out hope. Regardless of your take on things, it is going to be an uphill battle for RG III in 2016. He is working with a stripped down offensive line, a young backfield and pretty much no legitimate receiving threat. The Browns do have a high draft pick, but the expectations are that they will take another quarterback to compete with Griffin.
The big question at hand is what RG III’s fantasy value will be in 2016 in Cleveland. Griffin has been in the league for four years, but certainly peaked as a rookie, leading his team to a winning record, as well as 27 total touchdowns, with 7 being on the ground. Each year after that got worse and worse, until he suffered a concussion at during the 2015 preseason. He was subsequently replaced by Kirk Cousins, and surpassed on the depth chart by Colt McCoy. He didn’t see any field action in 2015.
Taking a look at his rookie year, he had a better offense. I don’t think it was anything groundbreaking, but it is certainly better than what he is working with in Cleveland. He was joined by fellow rookie Alfred Morris in the backfield, as well as Santana Moss and Pierre Garcon as his wideouts. In Cleveland, currently, he will have a backfield tandem of Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell, tight end Gary Barnidge and wide receivers Brian Hartline and Andrew Hawkins. So, yeah, there is not a ton to be excited about if you are RG III.
There are a few glimmers of hope. The first is that Josh Gordon could be reinstated. Gordon has an immense amount of talent, but there has to be concern about how easy it will be for him to return to a game he has played sporadically since 2010 when he was suspended from Baylor. The team will also have two draft picks within the first 32. The issue is that the team has so many needs that it will likely not address a position that will be beneficial to RG III. In fact, drafting another QB will effectively contribute negatively to his fantasy value, as the potential loss of an additional offensive weapon that could be drafted in his place.
So what is RG III’s value in Cleveland as it stands? Honestly, not very good. There isn’t much to work with right now. Another angle though: what is RG III’s fantasy value in Cleveland if Josh Gordon is reinstated and has little to no rust and the team properly conducts a draft that yields both a high end QB and other offensive weapons? Well, if that is the case, he certainly has a great deal of upside. He could certainly be a QB 2 with upside. I know that will bring about some laughter, but the reality is that he has shown that he can produce. I think he will be overlooked because he is in Cleveland, but if things fall into place, and believe me, there is a lot that would need to, he could be a guy picked up late in your draft and stashed until he proves himself. As it stands now I wouldn’t draft him, but there is a lot that can happen before draft time.