Allen Robinson - WR - Jacksonville Jaguars
Through the first seven weeks of the NFL season the Jacksonville Jaguars have been one of the biggest disappointments. That itself isn't very surprising, the Jaguars have been terrible for nearly a decade. What is shocking about Jacksonville's struggles is that it's the offense that's full of young superstars that isn't holding up their end of the bargain.
Coming off a sophomore campaign that resulted in 4,400 Yards Passing and 35 TDs Blake Bortles has regressed to his rookie ways. Bortles is struggling with timing and accuracy so far this season. Much of this can be attributed his poor mechanics. After his rookie season Bortles worked with QB Coach, Tom House, to clean up his mechanics. Rumor has it that Bortles enjoyed himself a little too much this offseason and didn't take the same approach coming into this year. It's showing, as that elongated throwing motion has returned. Bortles confidence seems shot as he's struggled passing downfield this year.
It's easy to pick on Bortles, it's clear he needs to improved, but I also wanted to peel back the curtain and take a closer look at the state of the Jags offense and more specifically, Allen Robinson.
Robinson was a popular late 1st round or early second round pick in fantasy drafts this year and for good reason. He put up historic numbers for a 22-year old (1,400 Yards, 14 TD) but has underachieved so far, having yet to eclipse 72 yards receiving in any of his 6 games. Robinson had 72 or more yards receiving 10 times in 2015. So what gives? Is Bortles to blame or has Robinson's play slipped too?
The answer is both. The Jaguars have not been able to do what made them such a fruitful offense for fantasy last year, Bortles willing to throw YOLO deep balls and attacking the middle of the field. ESPN's Bill Barnwell dropped a nugget that Bortles had a league best 99.5 QBR attacking the middle of the field in 2015, 0 INT in 61 attempts. Well in 2016 he's done a complete 180. He's 29th in QBR (33.8) with 4 INT in 33 attempts. I think part of his struggles here can be attributed to his slow release. Simple timing routes like slants and crossing patterns require the WR and QB to be on the same page. That means the ball comes out clean, accurate and on time while the passing window remains open.
Much of Robinson's and Bortles success last year came from the deep passing game. That has been nonexistent this year. Robinson has yet to catch a pass that's traveled 25 or more yards in the air. He caught 10 such passes last season. Through 6 games he has three receptions of 20 or more yards. Robinson led the NFL with 31 catches of over 20 yards last season. 5 more than any other receiver.
Though Bortles struggles have hampered every wide receiver's productions, Robinson is certainly at fault too. Simply put Robinson just needs to play better. He's dropping routine passes and has already had two balls bounce off his hands that resulted in interceptions. According to Pro Football Focus he's dropped 7 passes in 6 games so far. He dropped 8 passes all of 2016.
Here are a couple plays from just the past two weeks.
Robinson is clearly in a slump but he's too talented not to break out of it soon. He's still seeing a healthy amount of targets, 9.2 per game. That's more than Kelvin Benjamin, Jordy Nelson, Demaryius Thomas and Alshon Jeffery to name a few. He's also been targeted a team high 10 times in the red zone.
So should you be buying or selling Allen Robinson? Well, I am on the side of selling him in redraft leagues and here is why. In fantasy, when you evaluate a wide receiver it's also important to evaluate who is throwing them the ball. In this case, Blake Bortles has regressed and the offense isn't able to function the same way it was last year when Allen Robinson was on his way to a Top 6 finish at wide receiver. Jacksonville also plays Denver and Minnesota in Weeks 13 & 14. Those certainly aren't defenses you want to see in or nearing the fantasy playoffs.
Despite his bumps this years I'm just as sold on Allen Robinson as a talent as I was coming into the season I'm just not sold on his situation. I wouldn't sell him for less than a WR2 and in your negotiations you can actually point out that Jacksonville is attempting more passes per game this year than last season.
BYE WEEK: LOS ANGELES, MIAMI, NEW YORK GIANTS, PITTSBURGH, SAN FRANCISCO & BALTIMORE
Week 7 Thoughts: Despite the ups and downs we've seen from Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense this year he is still on pace for 35 TD passes this year. The Packers face Atlanta, Tennessee, Indianapolis and Washington in the coming weeks. If the Packers run the table there he'll be right in the MVP conversation...Alex Smith is a great streamer this week against IND. The Colts have allowed the 5th most passing yards in the NFL and have given up 2 TD passes each of the past 4 weeks to Mariota, Hoyer, Osweiler & Bortles. I've preached about him in recent weeks so he's not talked about below...I'm happy the Rams aren't throwing Jared Goff into the dumpster fire that is the Rams offense this year. He's learning one of the toughest systems to master in the NFL so it's important that they're patient with him.
Ryan Fitzpatrick - New York Jets
There are 6 teams on BYE this week so the QB streamer options are limited this week. However I'm confident rolling out Ryan Fitzpatrick this week vs Cleveland. I feel like I'm targeting Cleveland's defense every week here but that's exactly what QB streaming is. You play match ups. In this instance Cleveland has given up the 2nd most points to QB's this year. The worst performance so far this season against Cleveland from a fantasy standpoint was in Week 3 when Joe Flacco threw for 302 yards and 2 TD's.
Jameis Winston - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay has been more reliant on the run game in recent weeks and Oakland's defense is playing better as of late but Winston still should have success when called upon in Week 8. The Raiders still are the most generous secondaries in the league giving up a NFL leading 302 yards per game.
Week 7 Thoughts: Pete Carroll said he expects Thomas Rawls back in two weeks ...The Terrance West bandwagon might be slowing down a tad. John Harbaugh stated Monday that he wants to get Kenneth Dixon more involved going forward. Dixon hasn't seen much work the past three weeks but he's talented enough to create a timeshare or win the starting job. Baltimore is on BYE this week so now is the perfect time to pick up Dixon as an end of the bench stash as we wait to see what "get more involved" actually means...Tevin Coleman left with a hamstring injury. Coleman is unlikely to play in Week 8 which means Devonta Freeman might be seeing a 2015 workload. Even though he'll face the stout Green Bay defense he'll be a low end RB1 play just off of volume...I'm a Jay Ajayi truther and even I am willing to admit that I didn't see 200-yard games on the horizon this season. Miami is on BYE this week but I think Ajayi is a Top 15 back going forward this season...Arian Foster retired on Monday. Foster was a refreshing personality in a sports world where most athletes create a specific persona to maximize marketability...I think everyone knows by now but Jacquizz Rodgers and Devontae Booker are must owns at this point... Kadeem Carey has out played Jordan Howard the past two weeks and certainly has earned a role going forward but I wouldn't invest heavily in acquiring him. The Bears play MIN this week and have a BYE following. Jeremy Langford is coming back. I think we're looking at another RB committee forming here...We'll want to monitor Lamar Miller's health this week as he missed some time on MNF with a shoulder injury. Alfred Blue had 11 rushes for 63 yards stepping in for Miller...Matt Jones continues to have fumble issues. Chris Thompson led all Washington backs in snaps, touches and yards in Week 7. In the event that the Redskins actually do bench Jones I think Robert Kelley will see work as the early down back. Thompson is best used as a change of pass back and asset in the passing game...CJ Anderson will miss a couple weeks with what is being reported as a bone bruise. It appears he has a similar injury to what Dez Bryant is just coming back from. Bryant missed 3 games and had an extra week to rest with his BYE. The Broncos have a similar situation in that they have 3 games before their Week 11 BYE. Look for Anderson to return in Week 12. Devontae Booker is a must own in leagues and has RB1 upside as Denver faces SD, OAK and NO...We finally have news on what was up with Dion Lewis. He had a patella fracture fixation. Tom Curran reported he has screws inserted to stabilize his patella. I'm still of the belief that Lewis a week or so away from playing and even then he'll likely be eased into action because James White is currently killing it as his replacement.
Matt Asiata - Minnesota Vikings
Jerick McKinnon left Sunday's game with a ankle sprain. It's not known yet if McKinnon will miss any time but it's not like he was running away with the job either. The Vikings line is still a mess and Asiata's no nonsense running style allows him to get what's available in every run. I think we'll be seeing more of a 50/50 split between the two backs going forward with Asiata being a valuable back down the stretch if McKinnon can't shake the injury bug. The Vikings have a great upcoming schedule too. I'm trying to fit Asiata on every roster I can this week.
Mike Gillislee - Buffalo Bills
LeSean McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury during Sunday's game and it appears he could miss some time. The Bills have tough match ups vs NE and SEA before their Week 10 BYE. If McCoy is unable to go Gillislee is the back to own in Buffalo. Gillislee has looked exceptional in his limited action the past two years - averaging over 6 YPC over the last year and a half. I'm a fan of his decisive downhill running style. He should be seen as a priority handcuff the rest of the season.
SLEEPER RUNNING BACK
Damien Williams - Miami Dolphins
Speaking of priority handcuffs, we have another one here in Damien Williams. With Arian Foster out of the picture now Williams becomes the clear backup in Miami. While Ajayi has been a man-child the past two weeks much of his success is also due to Miami's offensive line. When Ajayi got banged up near the end of last weeks game Williams bulldozed his way in for a score. If Ajayi were to ever go down there could be a huge workload ahead for Williams.
Week 7 Thoughts: I'm ready to eat crow on Randall Cobb and Golden Tate. Tate again had another strong performance and seems to back in the WR 1A & 1B role with Marvin Jones. Randall Cobb leads the NFL in targets and receptions over the past 3 weeks...Another reminder that if Corey Coleman or Donte Moncrief are available on your waiver wire that you need to go out and grab them. Moncrief should play this week and it sounds like Coleman should be ready to return in Week 9...So while I'm selling on Robinson now I'm ready to "Buy" DeAndre Hopkins. Oswieler has been horrific but he's also faced some of the best D's in the league and has a much easier schedule the rest of the way...The trade deadline is next Tuesday and there were rumors floating around that Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith might be made available. I'll believe there traded when I see it. Wide receivers are tough to trade midseason since they'll need to learn a whole new offense...We're still waiting on seeing who surfaces as the WR 2 in Tampa. It doesn't appear to be Adam Humphries who got off to a nice start to the year...You can drop Kendall Wright, Jeremy Kerley and any other bench WR depth in favor for a RB handcuff this time of year...Steve Smith should be returning shortly from his high ankle sprain. Mike Wallace has been a target hog in his absence...DeSean Jackson isn't a must hold any longer. He's been outside the Top 40 in WR the past 4 weeks and has yet to be the deep passing threat we were hoping for...With the Dolphins relying heavily on their run game it appears that Jarvis Landry's high floor may lower a bit. Still a great WR in PPR leagues...Davante Adams had a breakout game last Thursday night toasting the Bears UDFA corner. Like I mentioned a week or so ago he's been just fine this season and is worth scooping up. The Packers offense took a step in the right direction...Speaking of Packers WRs it's awesome that Ty Montgomery has gained RB eligibility. He's right there in the Theo Riddick category now - a guy who will hopefully see 6 catches or so a game with some rushing opportunities mixed in. I hope the Packers continue with his usage.
Michael Floyd - Arizona Cardinals
Floyd played himself out of the starting lineup but is now back in line to see valuable targets now with John Brown banged up (Sickle Cell, Hamstring) and Jaron Brown (ACL) out for the year. Floyd has 5 receptions for 65 yards on 7 targets against a tough Seattle defense last week. With his opportunity growing by default he deserves to be rostered to see if he gets back on track. The Cardinals have some great match ups in the coming weeks facing a horrid Panthers and 49ers defense in Weeks 8 and 10.
SLEEPER WIDE RECEIVER
Cordarrelle Patterson - Minnesota Vikings
Guys, it's time. We need to talk about Cordarelle Patterson. He's seen 6 targets each of the past 3 weeks and has two TD's to show for it. Patterson hasn't developed into the receiver most imagined when he was selected at the end of the 1st round in 2013 but the VIkings are now using him where he "wins." Patterson has been mainly targeted on bubble screens and shallow crossing routes which is great because he's best used in space. Patterson is the WR3 in an offense that doesn't pass much but they need to get the ball out quick because their line is horrific. At this time Patterson is an extreme boom or bust but at least we can say Minnesota is finally giving him a chance.
Week 7 Thoughts: TE has been quite terrible this years so there are some weeks you'll have to just take what you can get...CJ Fiedorowicz has been a Top 5 TE the past month and should be considered a legit streaming option once again as he faces a Detroit defense that TE's feast against...Ladarius Green is set to return to practice this week...Jack Doyle is TE3 so far this season. With Moncrief returning his targets may take a hit but he should still be a good bet for 5 or so receptions and 50 yards while Allen is still out. The Colts face Kansas City this week who has yet to allow a Top 15 TE performance this season..Eric Ebron appears to be close to returning from an ankle injury that has sidelined him the past three weeks. His status for Week 8 is still unclear...Delanie Walker has been up and down this season but he's still the most reliable passing threat in Tennessee. He had two huge games vs Jacksonville last year.
Tyler Eifert - Cincinnati Bengals
Eifert saw 15 snaps in his first action back from an ankle injury. In a more competitive game the Bengals might have opted to use Eifert more. In the coming weeks Eifert should once again emerge as a high end TE1. He a premier red zone threat and with Jones and Sanu no longer on the team his between the 20's targets should increase as well.
SLEEPER TIGHT END
Vernon Davis - Washington Redskins
Jordan Reed has been cleared to practice this week after missing the last two games with a concussion. With his concussion history though I wouldn't be shocked if Washington keeps Reed at home while the team travels to London this week and allows him to rest through their Week 9 BYE. If that's the case Davis is a great streamer option again. Davis has finished a TE4 and TE10 in his two weeks filling in for Reed. Last week he caught all 6 of his targets last week for 79 yards and is facing a Bengals D that has been pretty generous to opposing TE's this year. Bennett and Gronk just combined for 210 yards vs Cincinnati.