Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. is a worthwhile prospect to evaluate for dynasty fantasy football leagues in 2022. He finished his collegiate career with highs in attempts (270), yards (1,337), and touchdowns (76). How should dynasty fantasy managers view Robinson with the Washington Commanders?
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Brian Robinson Jr. fantasy profile
Looking at Robinson’s scouting report, the Alabama RB checks in at a stout 6’2″, 226 pounds. What are the best parts of his game, and what aspects of his profile might he need to overcome to succeed at the NFL level?
Robinson is a power runner in every sense of the term. He’s the type of running back old-school power football coaches like. Robinson runs straight, and he runs hard. Defenders seeing Robinson barreling toward them do not envy the contact he is about to initiate.
Robinson’s also surprisingly fast for his size. He ran a 4.53 40-yard dash, which is very impressive for a man of his physical stature. Robinson’s size makes him difficult to bring down on first contact. He also often falls forward to get those extra couple of yards, which is very valuable in short-yardage situations.
Although he doesn’t have the build of a running back that can catch passes, Robinson is a competent receiver. He posted an 8% target share in college and had 35 receptions for 296 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2021.
Physically, Robinson has the build to handle the rigors of the NFL. He can hold up against the beating running backs take and play three downs if necessary.
Although Robinson’s rushing numbers look impressive, in the context of Alabama‘s elite offensive system and offensive line, he was incredibly inefficient. Robinson averaged just 4.95 yards per carry in his final season.
Also problematic is Robinson’s age. He’s already 23 years old, and it took him five years to finally break out in college.
In his defense, he did share backfields with Najee Harris, Josh Jacobs, and Damien Harris during his time with the Crimson Tide. At the same time, it’s very telling that these prospects were able to join the team and immediately leapfrog Robinson in the pecking order.
Many fantasy managers will inevitably look at an Alabama power RB and hope for the next Derrick Henry. Unfortunately, Robinson best compares to a different former Bama runner: Bo Scarbrough.
Robinson and Scarbrough are the exact same size. The difference is Scarbrough actually had excellent size-adjusted speed and burst. Robinson is a pure north-south runner with bottom percentile burst and agility. He only knows one direction and that’s forward.
At the NFL level, the holes close up quickly. Robinson needs to get a head of steam behind him before he can really get going. NFL defenders simply arent going to let him do that.
Robinson’s injury history
Robinson has a pretty clean injury history. He dealt with bruised ribs and a pulled leg muscle at various points during his final season, but neither injury was anything major.
Robinson’s dynasty value with the Commanders
Robinson securing third-round draft capital is huge for his prospects. It may have been the very end of the third round, but he did not fall to Day 3. The Commanders made it clear they were looking at running back despite drafting Antonio Gibson in 2020, Jaret Patterson (as a UDFA) in 2021, and re-signing J.D. McKissic.
Robinson is going to open his career as Gibson’s direct backup. This backfield will look very much like it did in 2021 when everyone is healthy, except with Robinson taking the spot of Patterson. Patterson ended up with a 13% snap share, much of which was buoyed by the latter part of the season where McKissic went down and Gibson missed a game due to COVID-19.
Look for Robinson to see a handful of carries each game, but do very little in the way of receiving. Even if McKissic were to get hurt, Gibson would likely shift over to a hybrid running/receiving back with Robinson picking up carries rather than targets.
Robinson’s only real path to fantasy value is a Gibson injury. With that said, there aren’t many spots where a rookie would be given a chance to play right away. Robinson finding himself in a situation where he’s one injury away is about as good as he could’ve asked for.
Robinson will actually have redraft value as an RB5 handcuff. He’ll likely end up on the waiver wire early in the season if Gibson stays healthy. However, if Gibson does miss time, Robinson will be a popular pickup.
From a dynasty perspective, he’s got about as much value as we could’ve hoped for. I’m still not a huge fan of him as a player, but volume is king, and there’s a very plausible scenario where he ends up with a lot of it.