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2014 Draft Prep: RG3 will surprise the naysayers

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The last thing Fantasy owners who like Robert Griffin III wanted to see is what's taken place this preseason. It's been an ugly display on offense.

Griffin, who is coming back from last year's disappointing campaign when he limped through the season and was eventually benched for the final three games, is struggling to grasp new coach Jay Gruden's offense. He's also taken too many hits, reminding Fantasy owners of his fragile nature.

It's easy to be concerned about drafting Griffin, so pass on him if you're so inclined. But I'll still take that gamble, especially where he's falling in drafts. His Average Draft Position heading into Labor Day weekend is No. 93 overall, which is Round 8 in a 12-team league. A better gauge of his value is he's the No. 13 quarterback being drafted.

I love that he's going so late because it means I can get him at a bargain. I'm still expecting Griffin to be a solid Fantasy quarterback this year, and don't be surprised if he returns to his rookie form before he tore up his knee at the end of the 2012 season. He was No. 6 in Fantasy points that year.

It's going to take Griffin proving himself on the field before Fantasy owners can trust him. He's just 13-of-20 passing in the preseason for 141 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, and he has seven carries for 27 yards and a lost fumble. He looked bad in the second and third preseason games against Cleveland and Baltimore, respectively, and there's been talk of him being benched in favor of Kirk Cousins.

Thankfully, Gruden ended that conversation, but it's clear we need to see Griffin do something special early in the year. And I think he will.

This should be the best passing season of his young career thanks to Gruden. As the offensive coordinator for the Bengals the past two seasons, Gruden has helped Andy Dalton become a top-12 Fantasy quarterback, including No. 3 last year.

No one is expecting Griffin to reach those heights, but he has a stacked receiving corps with DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts joining Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed. Eventually, Griffin will click with those guys and this offense should hum along with a lot of potential.

Griffin also will boost his Fantasy production with his rushing ability. It's a good sign that he's attempted seven rushes in the preseason. His knee isn't an issue anymore, but he has to avoid taking hits when he runs. He seems to understand that, so we'll see how it plays out.

The thing I like best about Griffin, especially based on his ADP, is you have little risk to draft him as your starter and a lot of reward. Just make sure you pair him with a high-end No. 2 quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson or even Cam Newton.

If Griffin struggles then you have a great fallback option. But if he plays to his rookie level or even better then you might have the steal of the draft. I'm willing to gamble on him playing well, making him a quarterback to target on Draft Day.

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Player News
Browns LB Jabaal Sheard cleared to play Week 12
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:16 pm ET) Browns linebacker Jabaal Sheard was cleared to play Week 12 at Atlanta after coming into the game as questionable due to a foot injury. It's good news for Sheard since earlier in the week there was some belief he might not return this season.

Bengals RB Gio Bernard back, listed as starter Week 12
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:13 pm ET) Bengals running back Giovani Bernard was cleared to play Week 12 at Houston after missing three games due to hip and shoulder injuries. Bernard was listed as the starting running back for Sunday's game.

While Bernard is listed as the starter, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said during the week he will ease Bernard back in action.

"With Gio just coming back, it's going to be hard for me to just thrust him in there and let him go again," Jackson said Wednesday. "I think we have to work him into our process. What will determine that is just how fast and how ready he is to go."


Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall ready to go for Bears
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:07 pm ET) The Bears will have both Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall Week 12 against the Buccaneers.

Both players came into the contest listed as probable, and were always expected to play. The team will also have Ego Ferguson and Josh Morgan. Both players were also listed as probable. Ferguson is getting over an illness. Morgan has a shoulder injury. Demontre Hurst , who was listed as questionable, will attempt to play through a knee injury. 


Brady, Edelman, Gray among notable Patriots actives Week 12
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:07 pm ET) As expected, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (ankle), wide receiver Julian Edelman (thigh) and running back Jonas Gray (not injury related) were ruled as active for Week 12. All three players entered Sunday as probable. Gray is the only player of the three that isn't expected to start.

Falcons list Week 12 inactives
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:06 pm ET) Falcons quarterback Sean Renfree, cornerback Robert Alford, linebacker Tyler Starr, tackle Jonathan Scott, tackle Cameron Bradfield, linebacker James Anderson and defensive lineman Cliff Matthews were all ruled inactive Week 12 vs. Cleveland.

Bears list inactives for Week 12
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:04 pm ET) The Bears have made Terrance Mitchell, Khaseem Greene, Darryl Sharpton, Eben Britton, Jordan Mills, Trevor Scott and Chris Williams inactive Week 12 against the Buccaneers.

Scott, Sharpton and Williams were all ruled out prior to Sunday. Both Britton and Mills came into the game listed as questionable. Britton is dealing with an illness. Mills has a rib injury. 


Dansby, Cameron among Browns inactives Week 12
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:02 pm ET) Browns linebacker Karlos Dansby, tight end Jordan Cameron, wide receiver Marlon Moore, wide receiver Rodney Smith, cornerback Pierre Desir, cornerback Robert Nelson and offensive lineman Vinston Painter were all ruled inactive Week 12 at Atlanta.

Blake Bortles among Jaguars cleared for action
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:02 pm ET) Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles (left wrist) is active for Sunday's game at Indianapolis after being listed as probable. Other probables suiting up are defensive end Chris Clemons (knee), safety Josh Evans (elbow), guard Brandon Linder (shoulder) and offensive tackle Austin Pasztor (hamstring).

Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Joique Bell labeled active for Lions
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:01 pm ET) Lions wide receivers Calvin Johnson (ankle) and Golden Tate (hip) were both designated as active for Sunday's clash against New England. Running back Joique Bell (ankle) was also labeled as active for Week 12. Both players were listed as probable entering Sunday and were not in any danger of missing game action.

Doug Martin gets the green light for Buccaneers
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:00 pm ET) Buccaneers running back Doug Martin is active Week 12 against the Bears.

Martin has been dealing with an ankle injury. He's missed the past three games due to the issue. 

The team will also have Charles Sims and Alterraun Verner. Both players came into the contest listed as questionable. Sims has an ankle injury. Verner is dealing with a hamstring issue. 


 
 
 
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