James Robinson: Dynasty Dud?
One of the most polarizing dynasty players you'll find in 2021 is Jaguars running back James Robinson. The undrafted rookie from Illinois State exploded onto the fantasy scene with over 1,400 yards on 289 touches, good enough for an overall RB7 finish. Fantasy managers who were able to snag him off of the waiver wire reaped the benefits immensely. But those in dynasty who picked him up are at a dilemma, Hold or Sell? Undrafted Free Agents historically don't have long NFL careers. Does Robinson break that mold? Let's dig in.
Robinson had an impressive career at Illinois State accumulating 4,872 yards on 855 touches and scoring a nice 46 touchdowns. That workload gave him a 48.7% market share, good for the 98th percentile. He showed he can handle a large workload in college. When you look at him, it's not a surprise. The 5'9" 219 pound, compact back's BMI ranks in the 89th percentile. Both rankings per PlayerProfiler. His athletic measurables outside of his 40-time (4.62) are also impressive. His 40" vertical leap and 125" broad jump are the kind of numbers you want to see from a running back. So he has the athletic profile to extend his career.
Those attributes proved to translate nicely to the NFL and Robinson had a very impressive rookie season. It's even more impressive when you consider the offense he was playing for. The Jaguars finished bottom 5 in both yardage and scoring in 2020.
Looking ahead, things should only get better. The signing of former Ohio State, Florida and Utah head coach Urban Meyer brings a winning mentality to this team. The Jaguars will draft Clemson superstar Trevor Lawrence which will drastically upgrade the QB position. Assuming they add offensive line help via the draft, that will only further help the cause.
Will Urban Meyer retain Robinson as the Jags workhorse back. My hunch is that he will. The Jaguars have many holes to fill starting with their offensive line. Their first priority after drafting Lawrence should be to protect him. I don't see them using any early picks on a replacement for Robinson, and I see him remaining the starting back with another heavy workload for at least another season.
The other thing to consider with Robinson is price. What can you get for him? From what I'm seeing in leagues I'm in, fantasy managers aren't willing to give up much to get him. This is often the case for low-profile players who go undrafted. It takes a while for them to prove their worth in the eyes of fantasy managers.
My final take on what to do with Robinson is this...I wouldn't move him unless I'm getting a high-end 1st, multiple 1sts or a proven piece in return that I had more confidence in as a long-term asset. If I can get Cam Akers, J.K. Dobbins or D'Andre Swift, I'm taking those guys. But if the best offer I can get is something like Ronald Jones and a 2nd, I'm more inclined to just hold onto him. Being that you got Robinson for free essentially, you're playing with house money, and I'm not cashing out unless it's for a BIG payday.