Entering the 2018 season many dynasty owners had Allen Robinson on their buy list. With an ADP as the 13th wide receiver off the board according to Fantasy Football Calculator, it’s fair to say that most dynasty players thought that Robinson would finish as a top 15 (if not better) wide receiver in 2018. Instead, he finished as the WR28 (excluding players with less than ten games played0, averaging 11.8 fantasy points per game. Instead of having a low-end WR1/high WR2 to plug into your lineups every week, you ended up with a WR3.
That WR3 status is on the aggregate and as we all know fantasy football is a week to week proposition. In actuality what you received from Robinson was much worse than a WR3 season. In 13 weeks Robinson turned in one WR1 week, two WR2 weeks and two WR3 weeks. If you that don’t feel like doing the arithmetic that means he had more weeks as a WR4 or worse (8) than he did as a WR3 or better (5). Robinson even had one week that was so bad, WR101 overall, that I had to use my calculator to determine his WR finish for that week, WR9.
Room for (positive) Regression
Based on his ADP it’s fair to say Robinson underperformed, but he did fairly well based on his targets. He ranked 27th at the position with 7.6 targets per game. The 7.6 targets per game were a career low for Robinson who entered the 2018 season averaging 9.11 targets per game (excluding the 2017 season when he tore his ACL in the first quarter of the Jaguars opening game). That modest target rate is also slightly misleading, as his Catchable Target Rate of 68.1% ranked 98th at the wide receiver position. Robinson’s four touchdowns were also a career low when playing a full season.
During the season he also dealt with a groin injury, suffered in Week six against the Dolphins. Robinson played the following week but aggravated his groin injury and missed weeks eight and nine. He also missed week 17 with a rib injury, losing three games due to injury on the season.
As the season progressed, he did see an increase in both raw targets and target share. In his first six games of the season, Robinson saw more than eight targets just once. In his final seven weeks, he saw eight or more targets on four occasions. On the season he had a 21.9% target share, but during his last seven games of the season, that increased to 23.8%. This doesn’t include the playoff matchup against the Eagles. Robinson saw 13 targets in the Bears loss, putting up 143 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions.
Touchdowns are fluky and hard to predict, but up until the 2018 season, Robinson had been a big weapon in the red zone, more specifically inside the 10-yard line. In 2015 Robinson led the league in targets (18), receptions (11) and touchdowns (10) inside the 10-yard line. In 2016, though his work rate inside the 10-yard line did regress within he still saw 11 targets (7th most), had five receptions (18th most) and snagged four touchdowns (tied for 12th most). Robinson saw just five targets, with one reception and zero touchdowns in 2018. Those five targets ranked 61st in the league. I didn’t bother to check where the one reception would rank, but I’ll assume it’s fairly low. Zero touchdowns would rank for last in the league, tied with every other player in the league who didn’t score a receiving touchdown from within the 10-yard line.
Recovering from that torn ACL that caused him to miss nearly all of the 2017 season and changing teams it should have been expected that Robinson could struggle in 2018. Just dealing with those two issues alone was enough reason to temper our expectations in 2018. Additionally, the Bears as a team also underwent significant changes. The Bears added new starters at every skill position on offense except for quarterback and running back adding Robinson, Anthony Miller, Trey Burton, and Taylor Gabriel.
Mitch Trubisky had to learn a new offensive scheme after playing his rookie season under John Fox and O.C. Dowell Loggains. As much as the firing of John Fox helped, we shouldn’t overlook the difficulty for a second-year quarterback in learning a new scheme. Trubisky did make significant improvements from his rookie season to his second season under Matt Nagy. Trubisky raised his completion percentage from 60% to 66% and his average yards per attempt from 6.6 to 7.4. He improved in every other statistical measure it’s possible to measure for a quarterback. As Trubisky gains more experience in the offense I would expect continued improvement, which only helps his offensive weapons.
Buy at a discount
As noted earlier, Robinson went off the board in 2018 as the 13th wide receiver. In 2019, he’s being drafted in the fourth to fifth-round range in Fantasy Football Calculator mock drafts. In DLF mock drafts Robinson was also the 13th wide receiver off the board in August 2018 and has slipped all the way down to the WR29 in January 2019 mock drafts. The January mock drafts don’t yet include this year’s incoming rookie class. There’s a significant chance that Robinson slips even further once startup drafts kick into high gear in May.
Robinson is a screaming buy for me. He’s a 25-year-old receiver who has already put a WR8 finish in the ledger. He’ll be another season removed from the torn ACL while heading into his second season with the Bears.
Thanks for reading! Am I wrong or do you think Robinson will bounce back in 2019 as well? Let me know below or on Twitter @DFF_Shane. And make sure you subscribe to the DynastyTradesHQ podcast, some listeners call it the most groundbreaking, innovative thing that’s ever existed!.