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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
Report: Browns considering pursuing Ndamukong Suh
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:59 pm ET) The Browns are considering making a play for impending free-agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, ESPNCleveland.com reports.

The Browns are expected to have plenty of cap space with which to work during the offseason and could be willing to give the premium free-agent-to-be the richest contract for a defensive lineman in history, per the report. Suh has racked up 46 total tackles and 8 1/2 sacks in 15 games.


Redskins place Jason Hatcher on IR, add Travian Robertson
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:02 pm ET) The Redskins placed defensive end Jason Hatcher on injured reserve Saturday after claiming defensive tackle Travian Robertson off waivers from the Seahawks.

Hatcher has missed the last two games with a knee injury and wil be out Sunday as well when Washington closes out the season against Dallas as a 4-point home underdog. Robertson played in just one game with the Seahawks, recording one assisted tackle.


Seahawks sign Jimmy Staten to practice squad
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:47 pm ET) The Seahawks have resigned defensive lineman Jimmy Staten to the practice squad and released linebacker Mike Zimmer, the Everett Herald reports. Staten has bounced on and off the practice squad throughout his rookie season.


Bills downgrade Marcell Dareus, Stephon Gilmore to out for Week 17
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(6:00 pm ET) The Bills have downgraded defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (knee) and cornerback Stephon Gilmore (concussion) from doubtful to out for Sunday's season finale at New England, per the team's official website. Both players did not make the trip to New England for Week 17.

Buffalo is a 5-point underdog on Sunday.


Patriots place CB Alfonzo Dennard on injured reserve
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:26 pm ET) The Patriots placed cornerback Alfonzo Dennard on season-ending injured reserve with a hamstring injury, reports Field Yates of ESPN on Saturday. Dennard appeared in only six games this season, registering 15 combined tackles and one interception -- all season lows.

In corresponding moves, the Patriots elevated wide receiver Josh Boyce from the practice squad to take the spot of Dennard on the 53-man active roster. They re-signed Dax Swanson to the practice squad and released defensive lineman Cam Henderson.


Browns QB Johnny Manziel fined for being late to treatment
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:07 pm ET) The Browns have fined rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel an undisclosed amount for arriving late to treatment on Saturday, reports Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer.

Manziel was placed on injured reserve after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 16 against Carolina. Although he's on IR and not eligible to play, he will accompany the team to Baltimore for Cleveland's season finale against the Ravens.

Manziel is expected to be fully recovered in time for OTAs. He finished the turbulent rookie season with 175 passing yards and a 42.0 quarterback rating. He also had two interceptions and one fumble lost.


Saints place John Jenkins on IR
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4:35 pm ET) The Saints announced a pair of roster moves on Saturday. The team elevated quarterback Ryan Griffin to the 53-man active roster and placed nose tackle John Jenkins on injured reserve with an abdominal injury.

Jenkins registered 30 combined tackles and a sack in 12 games played.


Raiders CB T.J. Carrie downgraded to out for Week 17
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:49 pm ET) The Raiders have downgraded cornerback T.J. Carrie (ankle) from questionable to out for Sunday's season finale against Denver, reports the Bay Area News Group. The rookie appeared in 13 games and posted 44 combined tackles and one interception.

Browns' Phil Bates takes Josh Gordon's roster spot for Week 17
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:25 pm ET) The Browns have elevated wide receiver Phil Bates from practice squad to the 53-man active roster following the suspension of wide receiver Josh Gordon on Saturday, per the team's official website. Bates has appeared in only one game this season with Seattle, before joining the Browns. The Browns downgraded Bates out for Sunday's season finale at Baltimore, per the Akron Beacon Journal.

Cowboys LB Rolando McClain downgraded to out for Week 17
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:07 pm ET) Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain will not accompany the team to Washington D.C. and was downgraded to out for Sunday's regular season finale against the Redskins due to an illness, reports the team's official website.

McClain posted 81 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and an interception through 13 games. The Cowboys have already clinched a spot in the playoffs, and McClain is primed to be fully recovered for Dallas' first postseason game.


 
 
 
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