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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
Seahawks' Jermaine Kearse ruled out with hamstring injury
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:59 pm ET) Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse has been ruled out Week 16 against the Cardinals.

Kearse is dealing with a hamstring injury. He caught one pass for 8 yards before leaving the contest. 


Seahawks' Cooper Helfet gets carted off Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:57 pm ET) Seahawks tight end Cooper Helfet was carted off the field Week 16 against the Seahawks.

Helfet came into the game with an ankle injury, but was carted off with a rib injury. He is questionable to return to the contest. Helfet caught two passes for 9 yards before leaving. 


Texans DST keeps on rolling in win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:56 pm ET) The Texans defense dominated in Week 16, in a 25-13 win over the Ravens.

The Ravens managed just 211 yards of total offense in the game, despite running 68 plays. The Texans pass rush got home for just two sacks in the game, but they forced Joe Flacco into three interceptions anyways, as they finished the game with 18 Fantasy points, their second in a row with that total.

The Texans DST unit enters the final week of the season riding a eight-game streak with at least 10 Fantasy points, and they should have no trouble keeping it going with a matchup on the way against the Jaguars. 


Greg Zuerlein drills a 51-yarder
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:54 pm ET) Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein nailed a 51-yard field goal against the Giants, making him 4 of 6 from 50-plus yards this season. He also hit a 20-yard field goal and three PATS for nine points.

Zuerlein wraps up the season at Seattle.


Steelers pass rush dominates in victory
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:51 pm ET) The Steelers DST unit continued its solid play in Week 16, in a 20-12 win over the Chiefs.

The Chiefs racked up 327 yards of total offense in the win, but did little to take advantage of that. They made four trips to the red zone and failed to come away with a single touchdown, settling for four field goals in the loss. The Steelers forced one turnover and sacked Alex Smith six times, en route to 14 Fantasy points.  

The Steelers have at least 9 Fantasy points in eight of their last nine games, including 9 against the Bengals in Week 14. They will look to pull that feat again in Week 17, with the Bengals on the schedule again to close the season out. 


Don't lose faith in Mark Ingram
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:50 pm ET) Though Saints running back Mark Ingram scored a touchdown Week 16 against Atlanta, plunging in from 1 yard out in the first quarter, he didn't have the most productive afternoon, rushing 13 times for 38 yards and catching three passes for 17. He's now run for less than 60 yards in three straight games, averaging 46.7 during that stretch compared to 101.3 in his previous six.

It's not like the Saints have turned to other options, though, which was Ingram's problem in previous seasons. Khiry Robinson was the only other running back to get any carries in Week 16, and he had just two. It's just that the Saints haven't been in a position to run the ball in recent weeks, losing big in both Week 14 and, of course, Week 16.

So what about Week 15? That's partly on Ingram. He got the carries, finishing with 17, and didn't do much with him.

The good news is that the Saints should be able to win handily Week 17 at Tampa Bay, which should mean plenty of garbage-time opportunities against a so-so run defense. Outside of maybe PPR leagues, you'll want to keep Ingram active in Fantasy.


Chiefs slow Steelers, but not quite enough
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:46 pm ET) The Chiefs DST unit mostly slowed the Steelers down in Week 16, but not enough to come away on the right side of a 20-12 final score.

The Steelers managed just 282 yards of total offense against the Chiefs defense, but reached the red zone four times and scored on each trip. The Chiefs sacked Ben Roethlisberger just once, and failed to come away with a single turnover en route to 7 Fantasy points in the loss.

The Chiefs have managed to score in double figures in Fantasy points just once in the last six games, and have another tough matchup on the way in Week 17 against the Chargers. 


Rams get offensive contributions
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:42 pm ET) Several Rams contributed in their Week 16 loss to the Giants. Among them, wideout Chris Givens caught his only target for a 47-yard touchdown and receiver Stedman Bailey secured two of five targets for 22 yards.

Wideout Tavon Austin ran three times for 25 yards and had a 15-yard reception. Backup running back Benny Cunningham ran once for minus-1 yard and caught two passes for 19 yards. Tight end Cory Harkey made a 1-yard catch.

They'll all finish the season at Seattle.


Panthers DST continues strong run
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:40 pm ET) The Panthers DST unit entered Week 16 against the Browns having scored in double figures in two straight games, and they made it a third in a 17-13 win Sunday.  

The Panthers limited the Browns to just 228 yards of total offense in the game, much of which came on a single long touchdown pass to Jordan Cameron. The Panthers forced one turnover and sacked Brian Hoyer three times in the win.

The Panthers' pass rush has been strong lately, as they have 11 sacks in their last four games, while averaging 12.3 Fantasy points per game in that stretch. They will look to keep that going in Week 17, against a Falcons team they had 8 Fantasy points against in Week 11. 


Browns remain solid in Week 16 loss
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:38 pm ET) The Browns DST unit put together a solid showing in Week 16, though it wasn't enough in a 17-13 loss to the Panthers.  

The Panthers racked up 404 yards of total offense in the game, mostly on the ground, but the Browns adopted a bend-don't-break defensive philosophy. They forced two turnovers in the game and one sack, en route to 11 Fantasy points in the loss.

The Browns have been mostly solid of late, riding strong pass rush to at least 9 Fantasy points in four of the last five. They will look to close the season out strong against the Ravens in Week 17. 


 
 
 
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