Only four weeks remain in the regular season before the fantasy football playoffs are in full swing and managers need every player to be at the top level in the hopes of bringing home the hardware. One surprise addition to the Week 11 injury report is Jacksonville Jaguars RB, James Robinson. Heading into a difficult matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, should we be concerned about James Robinson’s injury, and if he suits up, is the matchup enough to force him to be lowered in the rankings for this week?
Latest practice status for James Robinson
After being removed from the injury report on Friday, James Robinson is active for the Jacksonville Jaguars Week 11 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jags RB James Robinson was a limited participant at practice this week
Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson (shoulder) was listed as a limited participant on Thursday’s injury report for Week 19 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s the first time Robinson has been on the injury report all season.
Robinson was the only Jaguars player to record a carry (he ran 23 times for 109 yards) and caught two passes for three yards during the team’s Week 10 loss to Green Bay.
There is no reason to believe he will not be available for Sunday’s matchup with the Steelers. Robinson has already been dominating snaps (fourth-highest offensive snap share among running backs) and touches (fifth-most in the league) out of the Jaguars’ backfield, but with Chris Thompson (back) landing on injured reserve this week, the first-year undrafted free agent could see even more work moving forward.
It’s also worth noting that fellow rookie RB/WR Laviska Shenault did not participate on Wednesday. Shenault didn’t play in Week 10 against the Green Bay Packers due to the hamstring injury, an injury he sustained in Week 9 against the Houston Texans. Shenault played just 10 snaps against Houston before leaving with the injury, resulting in Chris Conley taking his spot in the offense.
It does appear that this was according to the plan that has been put in place for Shenault and his recovery.
“Laviska will be out today, and he’ll do some work on the side, and then we’ll see where he’s at tomorrow. We’re still hopeful. We have him as questionable right now,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said on Wednesday.
In a year dominated by rookie quarterbacks, James Robinson should be considered for OROY
I am not saying that he should overtake Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow, but I don’t think he will get the consideration he deserves either, mainly due to being on a 1-8 team.
Through nine games, the undrafted running back out of Illinois State has recorded 689 rushing yards, fifth-most in the NFL. He is also seventh in rushing first downs (36), tied for eighth in rushing touchdowns (5), and is seventh in yards per game (76.6). The only rookie he trails in any of these stats is Washington rookie running back Antonio Gibson, who has seven touchdowns.
On top of all of this, Robinson leads all rookies in scrimmage yards with 917, the fourth-highest total in the NFL.
Despite their passing game struggling throughout the year, Robinson has been able to replace Leonard Fournette and outproduce him in terms of yards per touch, and he already has four more touchdowns (seven) than Fournette had in 2019.
All of this has translated to fantasy success for someone that wasn’t even on the fantasy radar unless you were deep in the weeds of dynasty. James Robinson is currently the RB3 in PPR formats, averaging 18.1 points per game. He has also finished as a top-20 running back in seven out of his nine games, with his worst being RB34 in Week 1 when the team didn’t have a clue who they were going to play at running back.
Robinsons’ strength of schedule does a complete 180, starting in Week 11
The part that concerns me and what might leave a sour taste in fantasy manager’s mouth in the offseason is the remaining season schedule that James Robinson faces. In the team’s first nine games, he has had one of the best schedules in terms of difficulty for the running back. Seven out of his nine games came against teams that rank in the bottom 20 in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. Four of his matchups were against the bottom three teams: Green Bay Packers (31st), Houston Texans twice (30th), and the Detroit Lions (32nd).
The rest of his schedule pulls a Fresh Prince and flips it upside down. Starting in Week 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who give up the fewest points to running backs at 17.67. After that, he faces the Browns (ninth), Vikings (15th), Ravens (11th), Bears (fifth), and Indianapolis (third). In the Jaguars’ first meeting with the Colts in Week 1, James Robinson was RB34 on the week, his worst finish of the season.
Despite the shoulder injury and matchup, James Robinson is still worth starting in Week 11
I am going to say you can start James Robinson due to the volume that he is going to see in this offense, more than any expectation that he will have a good game. Anytime someone is getting nearly 88% of the backfield touches basically secures them a top-16 spot in rankings.
The issue here is the Steelers, as I mentioned above. Steelers opponents have averaged a league-low 23.4 running back touches per game and are averaging nearly 18% fewer fantasy points than their seasonal average. It is not like they have played a bunch of no-names either.
The Steelers have seen Saquon Barkley, Melvin Gordon, David Johnson, Miles Sanders, Kareem Hunt, and Derrick Henry. In Week 5, thanks to his 74-yard touchdowns, Miles Sanders became the first running back to finish better than RB14 when facing the Steelers since the start of the 2019 season.
James Robinson has seen no less than 16 opportunities in a single game this year and has at least 25 touches in his last three. The volume is what will keep his value in the RB2 range even if I think it will be an inefficient day. However, lower your fantasy expectations of him for Week 11 due to the matchup.
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