Robert Griffin III played well in his second-to-last regular season game of his rookie year, one week after he sprained his LCL, but was it enough to help you in your Fantasy Football playoffs? As he continues to rip off one huge game after another, it dawned on me that he has to be approaching some of the top rookie quarterback efforts in NFL history. My site has devoted several posts to 2012 Fantasy Football rookies this season, and his ascension up the record books is impressive. Is RG3 the best Fantasy rookie QB ever? Let’s see how he’s doing with one week left.
Wearing a brace against the Eagles, RGIII might have been annoyed, but not to the point of hurting his stats very much. “It didn’t slow me down by any means,” he said. “I felt like myself out there. That’s why they call me quarterback. It’s not abbreviated with running quarterback. I have to throw the ball and assist guys by handing off.”
Missing Week 15, however, likely hurt his chances of passing up Cam Newton for the title of “Best Fantasy Rookie QB Ever.”
As far as Week 16 went, Griffin still produced before (and a little after) his injury. He threw for 198 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and four rushing yards.
He still has just five interceptions, which is three fewer than Tom Brady for the lowest total among all QBs with at least 225 pass attempts (30 players).
Despite missing a game last week, and part of the previous week, RG3 still ranks among the top six Fantasy quarterbacks in most formats.
If you’re already thinking about the 2013 Fantasy Football season, check out our recent articles dealing with next season:
- 2013 Fantasy Football Mock Draft — First Round: Which 12 players are likely first rounders next season?
- 2013 Fantasy Football Mock Draft — Second Round: This is where I think RG3 gets drafted next season, right around when Cam Newton goes, also.
- Projected first round for 2013 Fantasy rookies from DynastyLeagueFootball
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Stats through Week 16: 3,104 passing yards, 20 pass TDs, 5 INT, 763 rushing yards, 6 rush TDs – 306 Fantasy pts
Projected stats after Week 17: 3,325 passing yards, 22 pass TDs, 6 INTs, 817 rushing yards, 7 rush TDs – 328 Fantasy pts
RG3 is still currently projected to be second behind Newton for the most Fantasy points ever by a rookie quarterback.
- Week 12 at Dallas: 311 pass yards, 4 pass TDs, 1 INT, 29 rush yards
Week 13 vs. N.Y. Giants: 163 pass yards, 1 pass TD, 72 rush yards
Week 14 vs. Baltimore: 246 pass yards, 1 pass TD, 34 rush yards
Week 15 at Cleveland: —–
Week 16 at Philadelphia: 198 pass yards, 2 pass TD, 1 INT, 4 rush yards
Week 17 vs. Dallas (9th against the pass)
In order to pass Newton as the Best Rookie Fantasy QB Ever, he’ll need 39 Fantasy points in the final game against the Cowboys. If he throws for 325 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, and he rushes for 80 yards and another touchdown — he’ll pass up Newton as the best Fantasy rookie QB ever! Interestingly, his last HUGE game was against the Cowboys in Week 12.
Notable Fantasy Rookie QBs
Here’s the thing – I tried to find a list of the best Fantasy rookie QBs ever, and I couldn’t find one. I did find a few lists on the best NFL rookie seasons ever, without the Fantasy Football part, so we’re going to have to use those until I can track down (create) the Fantasy list. The only real difference in the lists is that these guys below received more credit because they won more games or got their teams to the playoffs. I have a feeling the list of the best fantasy rookie QBs ever wilil still come very close to the list below.
Yahoo! Sports did a ranking of the top rookie QB efforts after last season, so I used their list for now.
(Also, we’re talking modern era here. Don’t send me your Sonny Jurgensen stat lines. But feel free to send me some rookie names you know were better than the ones listed and I will add them over the next few weeks.)
Cam Newton, Carolina (2011)
4,051 pass yds, 21 pass TDs, 17 INTs, 706 rush yds, 14 rush TDs – 366 Fantasy pts
He should have been named “RG2,” since he was the prequel. Newton had the most rookie passing yards in one season, and he was the first rookie quarterback to throw for 10 touchdowns and run for 10 touchdowns in one season. He also had the most total touchdowns by a rookie NFL player (35). He is the current king of all Fantasy rookie quarterbacks.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (2011)
3,398 pass yds, 20 pass TDs, 13 INTs, 152 rush yds, 1 rush TDs – 211 Fantasy pts
Dalton’s rookie season was sort of hidden because of Newton’s big year. There was definitely not the same PR for Dalton as RG3 and Luck are receiving together. In comparison, Dalton was much better than the other rookie quarterbacks in 2011, including Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker. And this was a season in which the rookies didn’t even get a full training camp because of the NFL Lockout!
Vince Young, Tennessee (2006)
2,199 pass yds, 12 pass TDs, 13 INTs, 552 rush yds, 7 rush TDs – 207 Fantasy pts
Remember when we thought Matt Leinart was going to be awesome? Remember when we thought Vince Young was going to be awesome? You have to like those rushing statistics on Young, though. Jay Cutler blew past both of those guys on his way to become the best quarterback of the 2006 NFL Draft Class.
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (1998)
3,739 pass yds, 26 pass TDs, 28 INTs, 62 rush yds, 0 rush TDs – 203 Fantasy pts
Manning led the NFL with 28 interceptions in his rookie season, but it’s interesting to note that he threw 11 of those in the first four games of the season. It seems like many NFL teams now are taking a similar route as the Colts in ’98, throwing the rookie into the fire and see what happens. Granted, that didn’t work out so well for guys like Dave Carr, Tim Couch, JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf. but still.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta (2008)
3,440 pass yds, 16 pass TDs, 11 INTs, 104 rush yds, 1 rush TDs – 196 Fantasy pts
You might not remember, but the Falcons had one of the worst offensive lines ever in the previous season. Also, in 2007, the whole team was still reeling from Michael Vick’s suspension and eventual arrest, as well as Bobby Petrino’s insane tenure as the Falcons head coach. The former Louisville coach left the team with three games left in his FIRST season with the Falcons to become the head coach at Arkansas. Lucky for him, Lane Kiffin came along and stole the hate spotlight.
In other words, Ryan succeeded with a rookie head coach in Mike Smith and a previously horrid offensive line. It also coincided with the arrival of RB Michael Turner in free agency.
Sam Bradford, St. Louis (2010)
3,512 pass yds, 18 pass TDs, 15 INTs, 63 rush yds, 1 rush TDs — 194 Fantasy pts
Bradford’s stats have to be taken in context, considering he threw the ball 590 times – an NFL rookie record, by the way. Strange fact: Bradford’s top two wide receivers in 2010 were Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson, which is still the case this year. Gibson has potential, but let’s get Bradford and Amendola a better wide receiver complement and see how the Heisman winner does.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore (2008)
2,971 pass yds, 14 pass TDs, 12 INTs, 180 rush yds, 2 rush TDs – 180 Fantasy pts
The big Blue Hen out of Delaware led the Ravens, along with rookie running back Ray Rice, to the AFC Championship Game against eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh. Weird stat – he fumbled 11 times that season!
Dan Marino, Miami (1983)
2,210 pass yds, 20 pass TDs, 6 INTs, 45 rush yds, 2 rush TDs – 172 Fantasy pts
He only started 11 games, but he threw for over 2,200 yards and hit the 20-TD mark, with just six INTs. It was actually his second NFL season that no sophomore Fantasy QB will come close to approaching (48 TDs, 5,084 yards). Actually, in Week 12, Ryan Tannehill passed Marino to become the leading rookie passer in franchise history. Granted, he did it with 26 more pass attempts in a air-it-out era, but let’s also recognize that Tannehill isn’t completing passes to Mark Duper and Nat Moore.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (2004)
2,621 pass yds, 17 pass TDs, 11 INTs, 144 rush yds, 1 rush TDs – 171 Fantasy pts
In non-Fantasy terms, Big Ben went 13-0, so he gets ranked super high mostly for that. He had a 66.4-percent completion percentage that season, too. The Steelers were intent on running the ball that season and that’s exactly what they did, which protected their rookie quarterback plenty. But these numbers are still impressive.
Charlie Batch, Detroit (1998)
2,178 pass yds, 11 pass TDs, 6 INTs, 229 rush yds, 1 rush TDs – 148 Fantasy pts
Doesn’t it seem like Batch has been around since before Brett Favre arrived? OK, maybe not. He took the ball from Scott Mitchell (Orlando Thunder stud!) and Frank Reich (greatest comeback ever!), and he remained the starter for three more seasons before becoming a career backup QB.
What About Colts QB Andrew Luck?
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Does the No. 1 overall draft pick from 2012 have a chance to be the best Fantasy rookie QB ever?
Stats through 15 games: 4,183 passing yards, 21 pass TDs, 18 INT, 254 rushing yards, 5 rush TDs – 231 Fantasy pts
Projected stats over 16 games: 4,461 passing yards, 23 pass TDs, 19 INTs, 271 rushing yards, 6 rush TDs – 289 Fantasy pts
Luck is currently projected to score the third-most Fantasy points for a rookie quarterback ever.
- Week 17 vs. Houston (17th)
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.