Make Up or Break Up: Allen Robinson (Fantasy Football)
Dear Mr. Robinson,
Here’s to you, sir. At least here’s to the good times we had together. Remember the good old days? Let me remind you – the start of our life together began in 2015 when you were a Jacksonville Jaguar. You were fresh off your rookie season, wide-eyed, and ready to take the fantasy world by storm. And you did. That season was incredible for you, with 80 receptions for 1400 yards and 14 TDs. You had the 6th most receiving yards that season and you were rewarded with a trip to the pro-bowl. We were exchanging love letters throughout your tenure as a Jag – I know I was the first to send flowers when you injured yourself in 2017, tearing your ACL in the first game of the year– and I was hopeful for the future when you became a Chicago Bear. It took you a minute to get going in the Windy City, but in 2019 you hit your stride, and I felt that we were back to sunshine and roses. That year you were back over 1100 receiving yards, and even though you only averaged 2.7 YAC, you finished as the WR11 in half-point PPR. The following season was close to a carbon copy of 2019, and I – and everyone else that had drafted you – were riding high. On average, you had been the 15th WR drafted that season, so you proved to be a solid return on investment.
But Allen. We need to talk about last season; I was so pumped for it! Owners were getting wise to your consistency. You were mature, stable – the perfect security blanket to incoming rookie Justin Fields. I didn’t mind that Andy Dalton was there either; he looked at you the same way I did. You were being drafted as the 12th WR off the board at the beginning of that season, and I was ok with it. Most owners were taking you in the 3rd round, and after going RB then RB in my first two rounds, I was more than ok to take you as my first WR. Then you proceeded to break my heart. You caught a career-low 410 yards and only one TD. You only caught more than 50 yards a game three times. You didn’t even hit over 35 yards receiving until the fourth week of the season. Sure, you scored a TD in the second game of the season, just enough to keep me hanging on a couple more weeks, hoping you would turn it around. But to no avail. You were not targeted like you were used to – with seven or fewer targets in 11 out of the 12 games you played last year. I didn’t just bench you on my fantasy team – I dropped you, and countless fantasy managers did the same. I felt great about that decision as the season progressed, and we saw more of the same from you, not to mention the five games you sat out in the back half of the season. It did not even matter who was throwing you the ball; you looked equally pedestrian, whether it was Justin Fields or Andy Dalton under center. There were moments at the end of last season where you just gave up.
But then you decided to trade your snow boots and questionable QB play for flip flops and Super Bowl-winning Matthew Stafford. My ears pricked up. Was I ready to risk my heart again? I started to muse. You were heading to a team that was tied with the 7th most points scored last season versus your old flame, the Chicago Bears that scored the 5th fewest in the NFL. In PFF’s top ten graded teams for both passing offense and overall offense, you look ripe to slide right into Sean McVay’s offensive powerhouse, ready to “run it back” with them for another Super Bowl. Stafford loved to throw last season, helping the Rams become the 5th most passing offense with the second-most yards per pass in the league. It is a big juicy passing pie in Southern California. But how big a slice will you get? You will not be the primary pass-catcher – how can you be with Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp playing beside you – but will you still have the opportunities?
Pass catchers not named Cooper Kupp still have success in the Rams system. In 2021, Robert Woods had 556 receiving yards, only in nine games, and was on pace for close to a thousand-yard season and around 130 targets if he had stayed healthy. Van Jefferson, stepping up with Woods’s injury, managed to catch over 800 yards as Stafford’s secondary option. And this was not only during the 2021 season. A Sean McVay-led offense loves peppering the second WR with targets. In 2020 Robert Woods had 936 receiving yards to Cooper Kupp’s 974, with both having over 120 targets. The year previous, Woods and Kupp’s receiving totals were almost identical, and this time both had over 130 targets. The LA Rams can clearly support two stellar fantasy WRs. And now Bobby Trees has been traded to Tennessee, and it is uncertain if OBJ will be returning to the team, and if he does, there is no guarantee that he will be healthy enough to contribute. The door is wide open for you, Mr. Robinson, wide open for you to walk right in to become the overly successful second WR for the Los Angeles Rams in the 2022 season. Matthew Stafford has made it clear that he is excited to have you as well, saying this about you after you signed with the team – “his ability to go up and make catches over guys, around guys, whatever it is, is really special… I’m eager to get out there and get to work with him and see what it’s like throwing to him.” I don’t want to tell you how to plan your days, Allen, but penciling in Sunday brunches with Matthew Stafford seems like a solid plan.
I know relationships take work, and we have had our ups and downs, but I cannot stay mad at you, Allen. At least now, with this glorious opportunity staring at you going into the 2022 season. Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home at Sofi stadium, and let’s win another championship together.