- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 19, 2013

The performance of Robert Griffin III in the first two weeks is what makes fantasy football so silly to many of those who don’t play it and so frustrating to some of those who do (especially those who already have lost a matchup against him).

In fantasy, he’s been great. He’s thrown for 300-plus yards in back-to-back games for the first time in his career while throwing five touchdowns.

In reality, he’s been awful. The Redskins have been blown out in the first half both weeks, so he’s piled up meaningful fantasy stats in the second half of each game that were meaningless to the outcome.

RG3’s season thus far can be broken down as such: Of his five TDs, none came in the four quarters when defenses were trying to stop him. They all came in the four quarters when defenses were content to let him methodically move the ball while preventing big plays.

Even if the defense continues to play historically bad, RG3 is not going to keep up his 40-TD pace. I’d be shocked if he reaches 25. He can’t continue to play so poorly (when it counts), either, and keep fantasy owners or Redskins fans happy. The tentativeness, bad mechanics and penchant for taking big hits will catch up with him.

RG3 is far from 100 percent. Far enough that he should never have been cleared for the opener by Dr. James Andrews, who in addition to being a world-renowned surgeon is an employee of the Redskins and presumably susceptible to the pressures that come with such a designation.

The reality is that for RG3’s season — and by extension that of the Redskins — to be a success, he needs to become more of a fantasy liability. If the defense can start doing its job, that gives the offense the opportunity to control tempo with a consistent running game, which, in turn, allows Alfred Morris and the team’s other non-RG3 playmakers to shoulder more of the burden while the franchise quarterback works himself into shape.

Of course, with that exact analysis in mind, the Redskins have a terrible matchup this weekend against Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh and the Lions. So if RG3 makes it to the end of the game, he should have plenty of opportunities to pad his stats in garbage time while the team falls to 0-3.

Week 2 Lineup Crime: I was determined not to leave Leonard Hankerson on my bench. I should have left Leonard Hankerson on my bench. The worst part is that I hemmed and hawed between him and James Jones (zero catches in Week 1). Hankerson finished with three catches for 35 yards. Jones finished with 11 catches for a career-high 178 yards. Hankerson is back on my bench this week. So …

Week 3 Lineup Time: Call it a hunch (or a desperate attempt at wishful thinking because I have him in two leagues), but I predict a good game for Stevan Ridley against the Bucs. I also think Tom Brady will find a way to reach the end zone more than once and the Patriots’ offense will, at least for a week, resemble, well, a Patriots offense. … I have a bet with my wife that Eddie Royal, who has five TDs through two games, won’t surpass eight on the season. The Titans should help me out this week by slowing down Philip Rivers and the Chargers’ surprising offense. … If Ray Rice plays, don’t expect much from him. The Texans are a tough matchup all around for the Ravens and an offense searching for an identity. … Brian Hoyer, Some Guy at running back, no receivers worth mentioning. I picked up the Vikings defense [and special teams led by Cordarelle Patterson] against the Browns.

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