SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

December 15, 2012

RGIII owners shouldn't roll the dice that he'll play this week

Fantasy Forecast
Andy Silva

---- — Robert Griffin III owners have a difficult decision to make this week in the middle of the playoffs: Do you risk leaving RGIII in the lineup this week?

Griffin suffered a sprained right knee last week, returning for one play before leaving for the remainder of a win over the Ravens. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said yesterday that his star quarterback has been improving all week, but Griffin has not taken first team reps at all this week. Washington has listed Grifin as questionable, which really does nothing to help his fantasy owners make a decision to start or sit him.

Taking all this into account, it’s hard to advocated starting Griffin. Even if he does play, he likely won’t be able to mimic his performance all season. And in the event he does not play, it would be hard to win a playoff matchup while earning zero points from your quarterback. The best thing to do in either circumstance is to move in a different direction for this week at least, especially if you have a capable secondary quarterback.

And if you only carry one quarterback on your roster? In taking a quick look at the waiver wire on Yahoo!, it appears that your best bets would be Seattle’s Russel Wilson (at.Buffalo this week, 33 percent owned), St. Louis’ Sam Bradford (vs. Minnesota, 21 percent owned) and Tennessee’s Jake Locker (vs. N.Y. Jets, 17 percent owned). Even if you take a hit from your normal production, it’s better to be safe than sorry and end up with nothing but elimination in the end.

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Dez Bryant fractured his left index finger last week against the Bengals. He’ll need surgery in the offseason, but has been adamant that he’ll play through it this week and has even been seen on the practice field preparing for this week’s game against the Steelers.

Similarly to RGIII, I think it’s best to avoid playing Bryant this week unless you absolutely have to play him. It’s hard to imagine him being effective and able to make an impact with a damaged index finger. Bryant is often maddeningly inconsistent when healthy. Moreover, the Steelers are the No.1 ranked defense in the NFL against the pass.

Replacements on the waiver wire are hard to come by, but Kenny Britt of the Titans actually showed signs of life last week. Britt caught 8 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns, but has been an abject disappointment all season. However, there appears to be little else of fantasy value to be had.

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Rob Gronkowski returned to practice this week, but his owners shouldn’t expect that he’ll play this week, according to reports.

It’s hard to believe that Gronk would be able to return so quickly from a broken forearm. I still think it’s unlikely Gronkowski will be fantasy relevant again this year, but hey, crazier things have happened.

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Andy Silva writes The Fantasy Forecast for The Salem News. You can contact him at ASilva@salemnews.com and follow him on Twitter @SN_Fantasysport.