First, the Jaguars may have found their running back.
Denard Robinson is further proof that nobody has a clue which RBs to stash. After receiving 28 carries through his first six games, Robinson picked up a whopping 22 carries in Week 7 against Cleveland.
He racked up 127 yards with those 22 carries, for an average of 5.8 yards per attempt. These numbers aren’t deceiving, as his longest run was only for 20 yards. A lot of times when a running back emerges with a breakout week, the totals are puffed up by a 60-yard run, but that is not the case with Robinson’s Week 7 performance.
By the way, 22 carries is a ton in this modern, running-back-by committee era of the NFL. Le’Veon Bell, who ranks third in the NFL with 117 carries on the season, hasn’t surpassed 21 in a particular game. Marshawn Lynch and Matt Forte have only received more than 22 carries once apiece this season.
Only a week ago, many people including myself, thought that Storm Johnson would eventually run away with the RB job in Jacksonville. Now? Not so much. All of the sudden it seems fairly clear that the coaching staff wants to see if Robinson can succeed as a featured back.
If you’re not familiar with Robinson, he was a quarterback at the University of Michigan, who was more productive running than passing in the Big Ten. He ran for 42 TDs in college, averaging 6.2 yards per carry and gaining 4,495 yards over four seasons. This was all while playing QB. Clearly a tremendous athlete, the Jaguars grabbed him in Round 5 of the 2013 NFL Draft and decided to see if he could stick as a playmaker in the NFL.
Since RB is a new position for Robinson, it’s easy to understand why the Fantasy community didn’t take him seriously for his first 22 games as a professional. He simply needed time to hone his craft. Toby Gerhart could return this week, but he’s simply not talented enough to automatically regain his job. Carries will have to be earned in Jacksonville, and Robinson has at least earned a chance to prove himself for the immediate future.
1. Don’t forget the Lions and Falcons play at 9:30 am ET on Sunday. The early start is frustrating for owners with game-time decisions in the contest, such as Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson. You’ll know if they’re playing around 8:30 am ET.
2. Bryce Brown is extremely talented and many owners remember a two-week span back in 2012 in which he ran for 347 yards with four TDs on 43 carries while filling in for the injured LeSean McCoy. Owners who picked him up during those magical two weeks will always hold a special place in their hearts for Brown. Sadly, we’re not certain if the Bills’ coaching staff has any idea how to properly utilize a running back.
3. It’s time to trade for Josh Gordon if you’re team is rolling and a playoff spot appears certain. He should return Week 12 as a must-start Fantasy WR.
4. However, don’t give up too much for Gordon. I love his game, but remember that he’ll be dealing with a new QB, new coach and new offensive system. Plus, he might have Johnny Football making his debut around the time of his comeback, and we really have no idea if he’s even staying in shape.
5. Percy Harvin might not be ready to play more than 20-25 offensive snaps this week, but he’s always had a flair for the dramatic. I’d be surprised if he didn’t finagle a TD of some type in his Jets debut against the Bills.
6. I don’t like to see anyone get hurt, especially in a contract year, but C.J. Spiller owners are better off for Fantasy purposes. They would have kept plugging in him as a RB2 or flex, and he would have kept disappointing. Now everyone can move on in peace.
7. Desperate for TE help? Kyle Rudolph was expected to breakout in offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s TE-friendly scheme, but that was derailed by a sports hernia. He could return after the Vikings’ Week 10 bye and should be stashed in most formats.
8. Jerick McKinnon ran for 103 yards on 19 carries last week and is real close to exploding. He will be the talk of the Fantasy community in the near future, as his skill set translates into fun, highlight-worthy plays. It appears he’s ready to take the next step in his progress. A 150-yard game with multiple TDs is on the horizon.
9. Sammy Watkins finally appears ready to emerge as a dynamic, borderline-elite Fantasy WR. He’ll be a superstar in his prime, but we saw a glimpse of the future in Week 7, when he caught nine balls for 122 yards and two TDs. The window to buy low is probably closed.
10. We learned something important thanks to Calvin Johnson’s “decoy” situation earlier this season and Jimmy Graham’s Week 7 “performance.” Fantasy owners shouldn’t automatically start their superstars just because they’re active. I repeatedly told Twitter followers “if Calvin plays, you have to start him” and “Graham can be limited and still put up TE1 numbers,” but I was wrong. When an injured player is going to be “limited” on game day, it could result in a zero for your Fantasy squad.
Questions? Hit me on Twitter @briansflood