Is James Robinson Worth the High Price?

James Robinson
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Before Travis Etienne’s injury in late August, James Robinson was being drafted between 70 and 80 in Redraft, Keeper, Dynasty and Best-Ball Fantasy Football Leagues. Since the injury, Robinson has risen to an Average Draft Position of 48.2 in Sleeper leagues.

In an even better offense this year, James Robinson’s workload is going to increase. You could see James featured more inside the 20-yard line and on the goal-line. That’s what matters! The strength of schedule being eighth easiest among all 32 teams against running backs also helps. Three months ago, James Robinson said “I’ve got to go out and control what I can control and once I get my opportunities, make the most of it.” 

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James Robinson Worth His High Price In Fantasy Football

Offensive Line In-Tact

Now that the door has been opened back up, James has the opportunity to have an encore sophomore season. With most of the offensive line coming back it will be interesting to see the growth and development of the group.

Brandon Linder and Andrew Norwell are the strong pieces to the offensive line. Jawaan Taylor, A.J. Cann and Cam Robinson are also decent pieces up front. As long as this line remains together and continues to grow as a unit, I see big opportunities for James Robinson to have a solid season. What I seen from Robinson in the preseason is that he looks like the 2020 mid-season version of himself. 

2021 Projections

James Robinson is great at zoning in on the first one or two steps of the defense and wins with above-average vision. He’s fantastic at setting up blocks. His speed might not be scaring anyone but he will grind a defense down. I’m confident in taking James Robinson as early as the middle of the 3rd round in 12 team leagues, in any format. 

My main projections for the second year, undrafted Free Agent out of Illinois State, are as follows:

Carries: 275
Rushing Yards: 1285
Yards Per Carry: 4.67
Receptions: 42
Receiving Yards: 325
Total Touchdowns: 10

This is a 17-game projection so the numbers seem a bit juiced. Only 2 running backs with a decent workload played a full season in 2020 so keep that in mind. Derrick Henry and Nyheim Hines played every game last year so it is very uncommon for a running back to out-produce his projections. James Robinson played in 14 games last year. It is normal for a healthy running back to miss a couple games every year.

How The NFL Draft Floored James Robinson in Fantasy Football

Before the NFL Draft, The Jacksonville Jaguars picked up Carlos Hyde to give the backfield some depth. Carlos Hyde is going to be 31 years old this month. I do not see how he could pose a threat to Robinson’s workload. James Robinson’s fantasy outlook really took a turn for the worst when the Jacksonville Jaguars decided to use a draft pick on Travis Etienne in the 1st round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Travis Etienne is a very fast in-game player and he was electric for The Clemson Tigers. 

This pick was shocking to the fantasy football community. My opinion was that Urban Meyer was dead set on offensive lineman Christian Darrisaw but he got sniped at the 23rd overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings. Urban Meyer’s backup plan could’ve been running back Najee Harris but he was taken in the NFL Draft at 24th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers, prior to Travis Etienne. Even if Urban Meyer planned to use him in a Percy Harvin type of role it’s still a questionable pick with the strong rookie campaign from James Robinson.

Etienne is ineligible for 2021 after being placed on injured reserve during the preseason. He had surgery this past Thursday ( September 2, 2021) on his foot. He is facing a four month recovery timeline and could be healthy before the start of the offseason program this upcoming Spring.

With Etienne completely out of the picture, James Robinson’s ADP deserves to be as high as it was before the NFL Draft. He’s all alone in Jacksonville’s backfield and doesn’t have too much competition for touches.

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