College Football Pick’em
Talking the business of sports
The Jets‘ acquisition of running back James Robinson for a sixth-round pick makes two things very clear: They still intend to be a multi-back, run-preferred offense, and they believe they can contend for a playoff spot.
They are 5-2 after all. And Robinson gives them a power back to try and help them get there.
Robinson, 24, will help replace Breece Hall after the Jets rookie tore his ACL in Week 7 at Denver. Hall had proven to be a dynamic threat who played nearly 70% of the Jets’ snaps in his three games prior to injury. It’s unlikely Robinson will see THAT much playing time considering the Jets have second-year back Michael Carter, but it’s pretty easy to figure out that both will see a lot of snaps.
When you think about the past year-plus for Carter — his inability to cement a large role in the Jets offense as a rookie, watching his team draft a stud rookie in April and then trade for a good veteran power back to replace the stud rookie — it’s tough to see him evolving into a serious Fantasy asset. That would change if he could start commanding targets on a week-to-week basis, but the Jets offense doesn’t call for a lot of throws to the running back, and quarterback Zach Wilson has a tendency to look downfield, not throw short.
Carter has also gotten off to a pretty blah start. His rushing average sits at 3.5, his rush attempts per game is at a smallish 9.4 and his receiving numbers have all but dried up since Wilson has taken over at quarterback. His only highlight was scoring twice in a blowout win versus Miami in Week 5.
Carter is obviously worth rostering but isn’t likely to be any better than a No. 3 running back for however long Robinson makes an impact. He should still be on the hook for at least 10 touches per week and roughly 40% of the snaps with the Jets, but it’s unlikely he’ll be used regularly in high-value situations like near the goal line.
That short-yardage work has to be ticketed for Robinson, a physical grinder whose speed and quickness has been taken down a notch following Achilles surgery, but he has excellent vision to find space to run and maximize his carries. He’s the sustaining type of runner who can keep the Jets from putting too much on Wilson’s plate.
Through the first six games of the season, Robinson averaged a respectable 4.2 yards per carry thanks to four runs of 20-plus yards in the first three weeks. He had one carry for more than 11 yards in the three games after and reportedly had a knee issue that kept him sidelined for most of his Week 7 game against the Giants.
Robinson’s arrival gives the Jets a shot at maintaining a strong run game, though it’s not going to be anywhere close to what Hall had delivered since Hall is young, speedy and elusive. Tack on an offensive line that lost another starting tackle last week and there’s concern that Robinson will have to score in order to make Fantasy managers satisfied.
Robinson would be a low-end No. 2 running back in non-PPR, particularly in the Jets’ matchups where the run defense they face isn’t strong. Week 8 against the Patriots will not be one of those matchups, nor will their outings against the Bills in Week 9 or the Pats again in Week 11 after their Week 10 bye.
Given the Jets’ near-term schedule, you may want to consider trading Robinson for whatever you can get from a RB-needy Fantasy manager in the coming week because he may seriously disappoint. You won’t be able to get much interest in Carter until he proves he’s more than just a 1B type of back.
So that wasn’t fun to read, was it? Is there anything good that came out of this trade?!
There is in Jacksonville.
Travis Etienne displayed in Week 7 that he can be a feature back for the Jaguars. Against the Giants, Etienne notched career-highs in snaps played (80%), carries (14) and rush yards (114) while scoring his first touchdown. He’s also averaged an other-worldly 7.97 yards per carry in his past three games with at least a dozen touches in each. We still haven’t seen him go off as a receiver much, but that will get worked into the Jaguars offense soon. Etienne is good to go as a must-start No. 2 Fantasy rusher.
He’ll have help from game to game as JaMycal Hasty and Snoop Conner can provide some relief. Hasty is a speedster like Etienne (well, not exactly like him, he’s averaging ONLY 4.8 yards per carry over his career), and Conner is a physical back like Robinson who could eventually find his way into some short-yardage touchdowns. Neither one is a must-stash but both have some appeal in deeper leagues for those who want to handcuff Etienne.
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