James Robinson Start/Sit Week 11: Even if he’s healthy, do you risk it?

    If James Robinson is healthy enough to play for the Jaguars, should you start him on your fantasy team against the 49ers this week?

    Last season, one of the rarest things in fantasy football happened when Jaguars RB James Robinson went from total obscurity to a league-winner. Robinson was buried behind RB Leonard Fournette and went undrafted pretty much everywhere. When the Jaguars cut Fournette, Robinson was thrust into the leading role. Once he got the job, he didn’t look back.

    James Robinson’s fantasy history

    Robinson was not selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, but the Jaguars signed him to add some depth to their RB room. No one expected him to win the starting job, let alone do so much once he got it. But that was last year — has he lived up to the hype through 10 weeks of the 2021 season?

    The first eight weeks of 2021

    The first eight weeks of 2021 were somewhat underwhelming for a healthy Robinson. He played in all seven games, averaging 15.6 PPR points per outing. In those games, he had four contests with over 19 points and three games under 10. Robinson was very boom or bust, which really isn’t all that uncommon for running backs these days.

    Robinson averaged 12.6 rushing attempts per game during this stretch. He amassed 482 yards on his 88 carries, an average of 5.5 yards per carry. This was a full yard above his 2020 average of 4.5 yards per attempt.

    However, he was seeing a higher volume of 17.1 carries per game last season. That put him fourth in the league behind Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, and Josh Jacobs.

    Through eight weeks, Robinson saw fewer touches but was more efficient with the ones he was getting. Unfortunately, volume is king. Robinson’s 12.6 attempts were far from the top 10 in the league, and his added efficiency wasn’t enough to make up the difference. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he suffered an injury.

    Robinson’s last three weeks

    During the early part of the Week 8 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks, Robinson bruised his heel. It wasn’t thought to be serious, but he popped up on the injury report throughout the week.

    Leading into Week 9, it wasn’t clear if he’d be able to play or not. On Sunday morning, it was announced that he would indeed miss Week 9 due to the injury.

    After Week 9, Robinson returned to limited practice. He played in Week 10 and ran 12 times for 57 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 4 of 5 passes for 27 yards through the air. Fantasy managers were happy with his 14.4 PPR points, but that feeling was about to be short-lived.

    Robinson’s name was again on the injury report this week after reports indicated he had suffered a new knee injury. He sat out Wednesday’s practice and got in a limited session Thursday and Friday. Robinson is listed as questionable for Week 11’s matchup against the 49ers, putting fantasy managers back into worry mode.

    Week 11 against the 49ers

    With Robinson declared active on Sunday morning, let’s take a quick look at what the Niners have been able to do on defense this year.

    Niners are weak against the run

    Through 10 weeks, the 49ers are 23rd in the NFL in rushing yards allowed to opposing teams. On average, they allow 122.8 rushing yards per game.

    Yet, their best outing of the year came last week when they beat the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football. In that game, they allowed a season-low 52 yards on the ground.

    By comparison, the Niners are pretty stout against the pass, only allowing 1,878 passing yards on the year. That only averages out to 208.7 yards per game, the sixth-best in the league. Based on the numbers, the 49ers appear to be more exploitable on the ground than through the air.

    That being said, the Jaguars aren’t exactly lighting people up in the passing attack this year. They are just 24th in the NFL in passing (2,344 yards), and QB Trevor Lawrence has struggled to acclimate to the pro game. As a result, the team has preferred to lean on the rushing attack instead. But will that be Robinson or Carlos Hyde this week?

    Should you start or sit James Robinson?

    We’ve covered the Robinson injury before, but for me, since he’s active, I’m playing him. Robinson is the clear RB1 on Jacksonville’s roster, and that says something. Given how many RB injuries have piled up, you might not have a lot of better options. I’m not expecting a lot from Robinson, so take that into account as you make your own decision on starting him.

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