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New Contract Spotlight

Allen Robinson Contract

New Contract Spotlight

Allen Robinson

By: Matt Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

Today’s article may be a little shorter than most and that is by design. If you’ve been reading my articles over the past few months, you know that I usually include a News section. The big news stories have been dwindling ever since the NFL Draft has concluded. Therefore, I’m going to start including my news section in every other article instead of every article. That being said, let me continue with my pre-season Top 5 rankings. Today, I will be talking about the running backs.

Top 5 Running Back Rankings

Last year around this time I did a sneak peek of some of my rankings. Over the next three weeks I will present the Top 5 from each major position. I talked about QBs in my article last week. These rankings are subject to change, and they will likely do so many times between now and the start of the regular season.

PlayerTeamAgeSalaryYears Left on Contract
Jonathan TaylorIND23$1,957,2872
Najee HarrisPIT24$3,261,5623
D’Andre SwiftDET23$2,134,7282
Austin EkelerLAC27$6,125,0002
Christian McCaffreyCAR26$16,015,8754

We have quite an assortment of ages and salaries on this list. Let’s start with the Number one RB, Jonathan Taylor. Taylor is a no-brainer pick for the top spot in running backs. Many dynasty and redraft experts are picking Taylor #1 overall, and that isn’t even taking salary into account.  When you factor in salary, there isn’t another player I would consider as my first running back.  It really isn’t even close either. He finished as RB1 last year, and the next closest RB was more than 40 points behind him (Ekeler). I have made a few trade attempts at Taylor. One included giving up two 1st round rookie draft picks, one 2nd round rookie draft pick and a Top 5 running back. The offer was declined. I was overpaying, but I still don’t blame the Taylor owner for declining it.  It seems that unless you draft Taylor you will be unlikely to ever own him.

Second is Najee Harris. Harris was the RB3 last year. He was sandwiched between Ekeler and Joe Mixon ($12,000,000). Harris had 381 touches in 2021 including 74 receptions. This led all running backs in total touches. I do think Harris’ role as the lead running back for the Steelers is more than secure. However, I do believe the news that Harris’ workload will be somewhat dialed back this year. Most coaches (if not all) realize that nearly 400 touches per season is not sustainable for any running back. I expect Harris’ workload to decrease by roughly 12%. This translates to 335 total touches. Even with this decrease, Harris should easily slide in as a Top 8 running back. With a slight increase in efficiency, he could also find his way into the Top 5 for the second year in a row.

The third and fourth spots were the hardest ones for me to evaluate, and I wouldn’t complain if you wanted to switch them. Swift and Ekeler come in at 3 and 4 respectively. Swift is a little scary for me as he is still on a well below average team. His opportunity and volume should be guaranteed, but his scoring opportunities and high value touches may be lacking. Regardless, I would take Swift as my third running back off the board.

Ekeler is fourth. Yes, his salary is nearly three times that of Swift, but I have Ekeler outscoring Swift for at least the next three seasons. Remember, these rankings aren’t just for one season, they are looking at around 3 – 5 years out. Ekeler is the oldest running back in my Top 5. That is concerning for sure, but as I stated above, I think he’ll have Top 6 production for the next three years.

Finally, we have a player who was once the Number one running back in Dynasty Owner. He was Number one in overall production and value.  It’s Christian McCaffrey (CMC). McCaffrey could very easily outperform this ranking. If he stays healthy for an entire season, he will likely rank as the RB1 at the end of 2022. That is a big “if” though. When you take his league leading running back salary into account, he looks like even more of a risky pick. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to own CMC, but I would be hesitant to take him any higher than the fifth running back off the board.

New Contract Spotlight

Allen Robinson

Robinson was one of the worst picks that you could have made in a 2021 startup draft. This includes redraft, dynasty and Dynasty Owner. He was flat out disappointing and borderline terrible. So, I ask you, why is he rostered in nearly 100 percent of Dynasty Owner leagues? The answer has many layers.

First, his salary slightly dropped this year. Robinson was on a franchise tag in 2021. He cost his Dynasty Owners $17,880,000 for a single year. As I stated above, this was one of the worst values that you could have had last year. Well, this year his salary has dropped to $15,500,000 for three years. I understand that a decline of $2,380,000 in salary alone does not warrant a huge jump in ownership, but it does help.

Second, he received a long-term contract which was seemingly what he was looking for prior to being franchised last season. I’m not going to speculate on whether his contract disappointment is what solely led to his poor play, but I think that played some role.

Finally, and most importantly, he joins a team that is an offensive powerhouse…the Los Angeles Rams. Will Robinson make an immediate impact with the Rams? It remains to be seen, but my prediction is “yes”. The Rams have lost Robert Woods ($16,250,000). Woods was lost first to injury, then to a trade with Tennessee. They are also likely to lose Odell Beckham Jr. ($1,250,000). For Beckham, it was first to injury, then likely to free agency. This means that the only competition Robinson will have for the WR2 spot is Van Jefferson ($1,402,784). I like Jefferson as a young WR3, but I don’t see him being the second leading wide receiver behind Cooper Kupp ($15,750,000).

Conclusion

I understand why Robinson’s roster percentage in Dynasty Owner shot up after the signing with the Rams. He will likely be the second option for Stafford after Kupp. This is a valuable position to be in, and it’s one that I recommend taking a shot on. I have two Dynasty Owner leagues where I have Robinson on my roster. I rostered him throughout the entire off-season, so far, despite being up against the cap. Much like I mentioned with MVS in my last article, I would be a holder of Robinson at least through the first month of the 2022 season.

Thank you for reading.  If there is any player that you want me to Spotlight, just message me on Twitter (@dynastyjerk) and let me know. I would appreciate it if you followed @Dynasty_Owner on Twitter as well as subscribed to Dynasty Owner on YouTube.  Take care everyone and be safe.

TheJerk

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