Is James Robinson Worth a Fantasy Football Week 1 Waiver Wire Add? - Roto Street Journal
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Is James Robinson Worth a Fantasy Football Week 1 Waiver Wire Add?

The Jacksonville Jaguars are a franchise in transition. Without as much of the pressure to win now, teams in that situation are better suited to experiment with players and schemes, to see what they got.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a dart throw on an UDFA with intriguing fantasy football potential. One who didn’t possess great speed, but sported a solid combination of strength, burst (92nd-percentile!), and agility. Not to mention, he’s produced at every level. Robinson is the all-time Illinois High School leading rusher with 9,045 yards and is the second all-time leading rusher at Illinois State with 4,444 yards.

However, I didn’t expect things to happen this quickly…

Now that Devine Ozigbo‘s on IR and Ryquell Armstead‘s going to be chillin’ at home for a while, Robinson’s only competition for game reps for the next three weeks will basically be Chris Thompson and recently-signed Dare Ogunbowale, aka Chris Thompson-lite. Laviska Shenault‘s potential role includes such vast versatility, who even knows at this point what the nature of his usage will be.

Opportunity Is Pounding At The Door

James enters a scenario where he can plant himself as the Jaguars’ top option in the run game. Now it would go against the grain to expect OC Jay Gruden to cease his use of a pass-catching specialist out of the backfield, like Chris Thompson has since 2015. And even if Thompson were to miss time, Gruden’s had a back occupying that role since 2013.

It is worth noting, however, that Gruden’s first two years as an offensive coordinator, in 2011 and 2012, didn’t see a pass-catching back that we often associate with his scheme today. If Robinson can impress, perhaps the door isn’t shut on him receiving a workhorse role.

“He’s ready to go. We’ll see when Sunday hits, the first time we give him the ball, the first time there’s a third-and-1 or we have to get a yard,” said Gruden. “We’ll see how he does, but we have every indication that we’ve seen in training camp that he can handle it.”

“He can handle the workload. He’s tough. He’s strong. He’s got great vision. He can explode through holes. We’ve been impressed with him.”

Fantasy Implications

Yes, the Jags are expected to lose a lot and see many pass-heavy game scripts. They lost a lot of games last year, too, but that didn’t stop Leonard Fournette from seeing 17.7 carries-per-game and finishing as the RB7 in PPR.

Is it a little early to be crowning Robinson a top-24 fantasy back? I think so. But there’s nothing wrong with a little flex appeal. If the NFL hadn’t just kicked off, James would have Penny Stock written all over him.

So now, before the Sunday slate kicks off, he needs to be rostered in every league (currently available in 57 percent of Yahoo leagues). And at this point in the week, it’s not a matter of putting in a waiver wire bid, it’s first-come, first-serve.

Trying to predict players’ volumes before any real snaps are taken can be near impossible at times, but if you’ve got room on your roster for a dart throw, James Robinson is as good a candidate as any right now to hit a bullseye.

Robinson is currently The Wolf’s RB40 in his Fantasy Football Week 1 Positional Rankings, and he’ll likely slide up a few spots before kickoff.

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