Atlanta Falcons running back, Bijan Robinson, has achieved the distinction of being the highest-drafted running back since Saquon Barkley’s selection in 2018. Operating within a run-focused offensive strategy and benefiting from a formidable offensive line, is Robinson a worthwhile investment for fantasy enthusiasts in his rookie season? What are the anticipated fantasy football outcomes for Robinson in 2023?
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Bijan Robinson’s Projected Fantasy Performance in 2023
Was it a prudent decision for the Falcons to choose Robinson as the eighth overall pick in the NFL Draft? Objectively, no. Tyler Allgeier demonstrated more than satisfactory performance last season. Yet, as aficionados of fantasy football, our enthusiasm for rookie running backs with substantial draft capital is unequivocal.
The Falcons’ questionable choice to allocate their early first-round pick to a running back might not bode well for their competitive prospects, but it augments the potential of our fantasy rosters. Our confidence in the Falcons designating Robinson as an all-encompassing back is unwavering, a rarity in the current league landscape.
Robinson boasts a comprehensive skill set as a running back. His 4.46 speed and early declaration showcase his prowess. Registering a peak college target share of 9.6%, he established himself as a capable pass receiver. In his final year at Texas, he amassed 1,580 rushing yards and notched 20 touchdowns. To put it simply, Robinson excels in all aspects of his role.
While the Falcons may contend that Allgeier will maintain significant involvement, it’s only a matter of time before Robinson becomes the predominant force in their backfield. Initially, Allgeier might hold a 40-50% snap share, but Robinson’s ascendancy is imminent.
In a parallel scenario from the prior year, Michael Carter superseded Breece Hall at the season’s commencement. Hall’s unfortunate ACL injury truncated his season, yet he had solidified his lead role by the time of his misfortune. A comparable trajectory can be anticipated for Robinson, possibly as soon as Week 3.
Despite Allgeier’s commendable performance last season, achieving a 4.9-yard average per carry, it’s noteworthy that this was achieved with a modest 1.6 yards before initial contact. This is surprising considering the effectiveness of the Falcons’ offensive line during the same period.
Robinson, however, is indisputably a more gifted player. Even in the absence of impeccable blocking, he stands a promising chance of averaging a minimum of 5.0 yards per carry in the upcoming season. The Falcons’ offensive line is ranked seventh in PFN’s offensive line rankings, underscoring Robinson’s potential for favorable running opportunities.
The sole potential concern regarding Robinson pertains to his receiving contributions. While his adeptness as a pass catcher is established, it doesn’t guarantee substantial volume.
Guided by mobile quarterback Desmond Ridder, the Falcons prioritize distributing the ball to prominent receivers such as Drake London and Kyle Pitts. Assuming Robinson secures the third-highest target share, it’s important to note that in the preceding season, the Falcons targeted running backs on only 16.6% of plays, ranking among the league’s lowest.
Fortunately, Robinson doesn’t require an extensive receiving role to enjoy a stellar rookie year. The Falcons exhibit a preference for a run-heavy approach reminiscent of earlier eras, leading the NFL with a 56% neutral game script run rate last year. Barring health issues, a 300-carry season appears within Robinson’s reach.