Special for FantasyFootballStarters.com by Jonathan Bales.

Jonathan Bales is the founder of
 TheDCTimes.com and writes for the New York Times and Dallas Cowboys. He's the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.

The Value Play: Choosing Between Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in Fantasy Drafts

It wasn't long ago that rookie quarterbacks offered fantasy owners no value in redraft leagues. In the 90s and even early in this millennium, the majority of rookie quarterbacks either sat their first year or were poorly prepared to lead an NFL offense.

Fast forward to 2012, and that notion has changed considerably. Rookie quarterbacks are asked to lead their squads more often than ever, and some are experiencing quite a bit of success. The most astounding rookie quarterback performance came just last year from Carolina's Cam Newton. All Newton did was become the first rookie passer to throw for over 4,000 yards. And oh yeah, he also broke the overall record for quarterback rushing touchdowns in a season (14).

Newton isn't alone, however. Of the eight highest rookie passing yard totals, half of them have occurred in the last four seasons; three of the top six have been in the past two years. Yup, nowadays rookie quarterbacks can contribute to your fantasy championship aspirations, even if it comes in a backup role.

The top two quarterbacks selected in the 2012 NFL Draft-Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III-have every chance in the world to have an impact in your fantasy league this season. But which player is most worthy of a roster spot on your fantasy team?

The Best Case for RGIII

Robert Griffin III is a dynamic football player who can beat defenses in a multitude of ways. Some say he's Michael Vick with more accuracy, and while RGIII's legs might not stack up, he's a more complete rookie than Vick.

The primary reason RGIII has a shot at putting up solid fantasy numbers is his running ability. I've written in the past about how fantasy owners can leverage quarterback rushing yards into championships; they're the most predictable stat in all of fantasy football and often overlooked. If Griffin posts just 2,500 passing yards and 15 touchdowns through the air, he would need only 360 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns to match a rookie campaign of 3,500 yards and 20 scores for Luck (assuming the former-Stanford Cardinal doesn't do anything on the ground).

You better believe I'll be projecting RGIII higher than 360 yards and four scores on the ground, so the margin for error in the passing game is much greater than with Luck.

The Best Case for Luck

Luck is a more polished passer than RGIII, and the Colts figure to be down quite a bit this season. Luck will be forced to pass often, and that will be music to the ears of his fantasy owners. Even though the margin for error isn't as great for Luck since he won't consistently beat defenses with his legs, his upside as a passer is much greater.

Then there's this:

Luck is currently getting selected nearly four rounds later than Griffin, and the Colts quarterback is falling. Smart fantasy owners know drafts are all about acquiring value, and Luck's 12th round draft spot could potentially represent more value than RGIII's current mid-eighth round average draft position.

If you have Luck rated ahead or even a bit behind RGIII, it's a good idea to bypass Griffin and grab Luck later in the draft. An eighth-round selection is a hefty price to pay for a rookie quarterback on a Redskins offense that isn't leaps and bounds ahead of that in Indianapolis.

The Verdict

If you plan on taking a risk on a rookie quarterback, be sure you have a safe option ahead of him. Both RGIII and Luck make a great complement to a guy like Aaron Rodgers. They don't look so amazing behind Matt Schaub.

For my money, I'm going with Luck. I think RGIII will post better numbers in 2012, but not so great that he's worth the eighth-rounder. Remember, fantasy drafts aren't about securing the highest number of projected points with each pick, but rather acquiring the most projected team points. I have a hunch that Luck and the average eighth-round pick will outperform Griffin and your typical 12th-rounder this season.