Kentucky wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson is an intriguing prospect to evaluate for dynasty fantasy football leagues in 2022. He finished his collegiate career with highs in receptions (104), yards (1,334), and touchdowns (7). How should dynasty fantasy managers view Robinson after landing with the Giants?
Wan’Dale Robinson’s fantasy profile
Kentucky’s Robinson checks in at 5’8″ and 179 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?
Right off the bat, Robinson checks several boxes in a wide receiver’s draft profile. As a true freshman at Nebraska, he posted 40 receptions for 453 yards and 2 touchdowns, resulting in an 18.7 breakout age. After transferring to the Wildcats for his junior season, Robinson had a phenomenal year despite playing against SEC competition.
At just 21 years old, Robinson is one of the youngest wide receivers in the draft. Even if he doesn’t hit right away, Robinson has plenty of time to acclimate to the NFL. In college, Robinson was an underneath guy that racked up short receptions on checkdowns and screens; 33% of his targets were at or behind the line of scrimmage.
Robinson may be smaller than your prototypical outside receiver, but his playing style is more suited towards the modern NFL passing attack. Every year, we are seeing more and more receivers that physically look more like Tyreek Hill than, say, Brandon Marshall.
Robinson is shifty and electric after the catch. I don’t see WR1 in his future, but he can be a very capable WR2/slot guy at the NFL level.
The unfortunate reality for players with Robinson’s skill set is they need to land in the right offense with the right quarterback. Due to his size, Robinson is never going to be a downfield, jump-ball receiver. He’s not afraid to make contested catches over the middle, but that fearlessness is a blessing and a curse, as it will lead to some big hits at the NFL level.
The most successful 5’8″ or shorter wide receiver in NFL history is Cole Beasley. There just isn’t a great historical record for wide receivers this short going on to have success in the NFL.
While Robinson was a target monster at Kentucky, it’s impossible to know how much of that was due to his talent versus the lack of talent around him. Simply put, there was no one else for Will Levis to throw to.
Robinson initially played running back at Nebraska. While he’s certainly excelled after converting to wide receiver, the fact that he converted means his experience is limited relative to other prospects. It could potentially delay his development a bit.
Where Robinson lands will be key. There are several teams in need of a wide receiver like Robinson right now. Depending on who drafts him, he could end up becoming a more explosive Hunter Renfrow. Or he could end up as just another Andy Isabella.
Robinson’s injury history
Robinson dealt with injuries in college. He’s had a couple of minor leg/hamstring issues, but nothing overly serious.
Robinson’s fantasy value with the Giants
I must admit I did not see this coming. The Giants took Kadarius Toney in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, brought back Sterling Shepard, and still have Kenny Golladay. While wide receiver wasn’t necessarily a position of need, they could’ve used a solid outside receiver. Instead, they took the diminutive, but very shifty Robinson.
This is about as bad as it could’ve gotten for Robinson, at least early on. He needs an offense that will manufacture him touches and a quarterback with precision accuracy. They certainly don’t have the latter. The former was nonexistent last season as we saw with Toney’s poor usage in the games he was healthy for.
However, the Giants have a new head coach and new offensive coordinator. It’s possible Robinson develops into the Giants’ starting slot receiver as early as 2023. With a new quarterback and a new offense, there’s at least hope for the future.
In redraft, I don’t see Robinson having any fantasy value as a rookie. He’s not going to leap Golladay or Toney. We’ll have to see how Shepard recovers from his Achilles tear. It’s possible Robinson opens the season as the Giants’ WR3. While that won’t come with much fantasy value, his dynasty managers would like to see him find a way to crest 500 receiving yards as a rookie, which is a harbinger for long-term success at the NFL level.