Fantasy football roundtable: Hopes rise for RGIII, fall for Chris Johnson
In Washington's system, Robert Griffin III may be better QB than Cam Newton
Chris Johnson may continue habit of inconsistency he displayed last season
Stephen Hill, Randall Cobb, Aldrick Robinson all intriguing waiver-wire pickups
The NFL fantasy season is one filled with decisions. Join SI's roundtable of fantasy experts each week to help sort through the lineup choices, injuries and waiver-wire options that can make or break a season.
Each week, we'll also be featuring a question from our readers, which you are free to submit each Sunday of the season at the @SInow Twitter feed.
1. Few players had a better opening game than Robert Griffin III. Is this the dawn of the next Cam Newton or is a crash back to earth coming?
Mike Beacom: Cam Newton is the most productive fantasy rookie on record; fantasy owners must understand there may never be another first-year player like him. Still, RGIII's stock should soar thanks to his performance in Sunday's win over New Orleans. Keep in mind, however, that the Redskins play in the toughest division in football, with three outstanding defenses; he may not "crash" in the coming weeks, but life in the NFL won't be as easy as he made it look this past weekend.
Will Carroll: I think the Newton comparison is apt, because didn't we ask this exact same question after Newton's Week 1 performance? I think Griffin showed all the tools we expected, but somehow it was still surprising because he did it against a team most of us thought would be good and because there's some cognitive dissonance about a rookie coming in and outplaying Drew Brees. Griffin is this good and he didn't even show much of his running (smartly.) He's elite now and has to be considered a fantasy starter based on matchup.
Eric Mack: It wasn't obvious in the preseason, but it is now: RGIII is an immediate fantasy star. He might not score the rushing touchdowns Newton did, or pick up the garbage-time yardage Newton did, but he is going to be a must-start quarterback in most, if not all, weeks. Matthew Stafford struggled for the most part against Jeff Fisher's rebuilt Rams. RGIII is going to be a must-start against them in Week 2. No, this isn't a fluke. No one goes into the SuperDome and wins. RGIII did it in his first career start and posted the highest-ever quarterback rating in a debut. He is the real deal.
David Sabino: We all know now why Mike Shanahan was so enamored by Griffin, who fits in perfectly with the Redskins offense of short passes and between-the-tackles running to set up long passes. Griffin won't be as good a fantasy quarterback as Newton but he may be a better NFL quarterback in a much more structured system than Carolina runs. In any case, Griffin is certainly someone who deserves a roster spot and consideration to start depending on your other options.
2. Chris Johnson, Trent Richardson and DeAngelo Williams had forgettable Week 1s. Is there reason to be worried for each or was it just a one-game blip?
Beacom: Johnson was hot and cold all last season, and the fear fantasy owners should have right now is the prospect of joining him on another rollercoaster ride. Richardson must overcome both the rigors of rookie life and the pitfalls that come from being the featured back in an unbalanced offense. But while there is hope for both Johnson and Richardson, Williams could very well be fantasy poison. No Carolina back is worth the fuss.
Carroll: I'm less worried about Richardson than the vets. Richardson missed much of camp and was going to be eased in. I won't worry about him until Week 4 or so. The others, yes. Johnson has been an enigma since signing his big deal. Some was losing Jake Locker, but 11 carries for FOUR yards is just ... wow, it's bad. I wasn't buying in on Johnson before, but I'm way out until he shows something. Williams didn't use the opportunity he had with Stewart out, but I was more impressed by the Bucs defense. That team played fast and could be a problem for a lot of guys this season.
Mack: You should be worried about all three. They are supposed to be reasons you win, not lose, in fantasy. C.J. is the only one you should give a pass to and keep in your starting lineup. The Pats have an underrated run defense. Richardson is more of a flex option, if anything, until he proves healthy and productive. The fact that Brandon Weeden looked incompetent in the passing game will make it tough for the Browns to get running room, or stay committed to the run in blowouts. Williams was the bust of the week. He had a favorable matchup and no competition for carries and he threw up a dud. Next, the Panthers play a Saints team coming off a loss. That game will be a blowout early and the running game will be just as nonexistent.
Sabino: It's time to change expectations for Johnson, looking more at him as a receiver out of the backfield than a go-to runner. Perhaps flex play is in his future. I'd be terrified if I'm a Richardson owner. Opposing teams don't have to worry at all about Cleveland's passing game with Weeden completely overmatched right now. That will allow defenses to stack the box against Richardson and will dramatically cut down on his effectiveness. For Williams, if he can't gain significant yardage against the Bucs with Stewart sidelined, how can you trust him with a lineup spot on a weekly basis? I can't.
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