Summer is upon us which means we are inching closer by the day to the return of professional football. With the return of on-field action comes the return of fantasy football. For some, leagues are already beginning to draft. But for others, the prep work continues and here at The Falcoholic we will take a look at some players on the Atlanta Falcons’ offense that will have an impact in the fantasy world.
To the disappointment of some and the excitement of others, the Falcons took running back Bijan Robinson in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Robinson entered the draft with comparisons to LaDainian Tomlinson and as the highest-regarded running back prospect since Saquon Barkley in 2018.
2022 fantasy performance
Since Robinson was not in the NFL in 2022, we obviously can’t look at his previous performance in the pros. What we can do is look at his fantasy college football stats, which is a thing. Overall, Robinson finished as the 17th-ranked fantasy player in 2022 with 309.4 total fantasy points. This ranking also includes quarterbacks, which if you play fantasy, you know how impressive that is. Robinson recorded 1,580 rushing yards, 18 rushing touchdowns, 19 receptions, 314 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns in 2022.
As of this posting, Robinson is going off boards incredibly early, with a current Average Draft Position (ADP) of RB4 or ninth overall. That means before he even steps on an NFL field, fantasy owners have Robinson going in the first round of this season’s drafts. That’s not to say he doesn’t deserve it, but my goodness, that is high.
The main reason for the early selections of Robinson is that the sky is the limit for him. We already know how supremely talented he is and what he brings to the Falcons. But something that can’t go unrecognized is what the Falcons are bringing to him.
In 2022, Atlanta had arguably the best rushing attack in the league. Pro Football Focus gave the Falcons the highest rushing grade in 2022. Now you add one of the most highly regarded running back prospects we have seen in a good while, and there’s no surprise that the expectations for Robinson in this offense has folks excited.
In college, Robinson set a record for having the most forced missed tackles in a single season, and with the Falcons they plan to use him on the ground and through the air. Best-case scenario is Robinson comes in and goes bonkers on the stat line. If things go as I hope that they do, I predict Robinson will finish the season with around 240 carries, 1,100 yards, 300 receiving yards, and 10 total touchdowns.
The risk here is, again, he is going super-early in drafts and has not played an NFL game yet. Generally, if you miss in Round 1 of your draft, that’s usually tough to bounce back from. I think the only real threat to Robinson being a juggernaut in 2023 is Tyler Allgeier. Allgeier put people on notice in 2022 with a recorded 210 carries, 1,035 yards, and four total touchdowns. The Falcons seemed to have found a gem on Day 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft, and Allgeier played so well that some argued there was no need to take Robinson because of him. It’s possible that there’s a 50/50 split with Robinson and Allgeier this upcoming season, which isn't a deal breaker because it’s rare these days that a single running back gets an overwhelming share of their team’s carries, but Allgeier is good enough to make Robinson owners somewhat nervous.
If you do manage to select Robinson in your league’s draft, it’s highly recommended that you also get Allgeier. If you get Allgeier, problem solved and you’ll be able to enjoy the terrific Falcons rushing attack.
If Allgeier is the main guy out of the gate, benching Robinson won’t be that big of a deal because once he takes over, you just switch them. But if you take Robinson and don’t have his handcuff in Allgeier, and Allgeier is getting a majority of the share of carries, now you’re in a pickle — one that panicky fantasy owners will try and trade out of and possibly be taken advantage of. It’s also worth mentioning that Cordarrelle Patterson still exists, and he could also eat into Robinson’s share.