Who is the better (fantasy) franchise quarterback, Robert Griffin III or Cam Newton. This is, or at least should be, a hot topic of discussion but unfortunately the national media has fallen in love with the new new thing, RG3 and annointed him the great savior. However by the most important measures, sustained success and production, Cam Newtwon is at or above RG3 in both those categories, making him the better quarterback.
Moving to the pro game; Cam Newton was the first overall selection in '11 by one of the most pathetic offensive squads over the past decade, Carolina Panthers. They had won a single game the previous year, he came in and set all-time rookie record for passing yards, total TD's, rushing yards for a QB and led the Panthers to 6 wins. RG3 was the second overall selection in '12 to an average (7-9 previous year's record) Washington Redskins team that traded up to select him. They invested heavily in their receiving core and spent high draft choices on their offensive line, so by any measure he joined a much stronger team. Statistically RG3 had a great year throwing only 4 interceptions (to go with 20 TD passes), he threw for 3200 yards and rushed for another 815 (breaking Cam Newton's record from the previous year). By the most important measure though he'd combined for 27 TD's, less than 10 turnovers and led the Redskins to their first division title in over a decade. It's hard to argue that Newton has had more success in the NFL, his teams have gone 13-19 across two seasons but they've improved given where they started. In short RG3 is off to a better NFL start from a team success standpoint.
Production is the next area to look at. While we could argue college stats, I'm going to leave that equation out of it because both of these guys won heisman trophy's putting up video game stats (ie Cam Newton rushed for over 1400 yards his last year in college). There professional stats have been chronicled a bit in this post already so I'm going to focus on fantasy production which summarizes their production. In the paffl scoring format (4 points TD pass, 6 points for TD run or catch; 1 point per 10 yards rushing or receiving, or for each 30 yards passing), Newton finished as the #2 overall QB scorer in 2011 and the #5 in 2012. Griffin III was the #3 QB scorer in 2012. RG3 was more efficient with his production, which means he turned the ball over less and had high quarterback efficiency ratings, however this always brings up the original point in my thesis that RG3 joined a much better team, requiring him to do a lot less to be successful. In fact the Redskins only improved their win total this year by 3, vs. Newton improving his by 5.
The reality of an argument like this is you're comparing two spectacular, NFL evolving talents to each other, neither one is truly wrong. That said its my opinion that Cam Newton is the better, more transcendent talent, he's proven he can be a champion (albeit on college level), he also has the size and arm strength to maintain his production well into his 30's, whereas there are always going to be questions about RG3's frame and his ability to stay healthy long-term. Thus if I had to select one of these guys to build my team today, I'd take Newton but in no way would I argue that RG3 isn't a potential superstar (and a great player in his own right).