Allen Robinson arrives in Chicago with great expectations.
Robinson figures to be Mitch Trubisky’s top target, and history suggests he’ll be up to the task. After all, Robinson is well-versed in catching passes from young, developing quarterbacks. And if he can make Blake Bortles look good and post a 1,400-yard, 14-touchdown season in the process, then it’s easy to imagine even better things from a player whose accuracy was regarded as a strength coming out of college.
From a fantasy football perspective, big things are expected from Robinson in that regard, too. With that in mind, Pro Football Focus asks a question that fantasy owners will be pondering soon enough:
Who ya got? pic.twitter.com/yp8Ie1R33p
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) June 19, 2018
One of the oldest debates among fantasy football players is whether a lesser team’s WR1 is more valuable than a better team’s second option. And while we don’t want to take anything away from the ultra-talented Juju Smith-Schuster, there appears to be considerable upside in Robinson moving forward.
Not only does Robinson assume the responsibility of being WR1, he’ll also slide into the X wide receiver role in Matt Nagy’s offense that tends to get a ton of attention. In this role, Robinson figures to be thrown at early and often. It’s not as if Robinson is a stranger to a heavy volume of work. During his breakout 2015 season in Jacksonville, Robinson was targeted 151 times. And even in a down 2016 season (in which Robinson caught 73 passes for 883 yards), he was the intended receiver on 151 attempts. If it was in the air, there was a good chance a pass was going in Robinson’s direction when he was at the peak of his powers in Jacksonville.
Robinson’s value isn’t just in the waves of passes that figure to go in his direction, it’s that he’ll probably get a bunch of deep passes. Back in 2015, Robinson led the NFL in deep receiving yards (672) and ranked 13th among receivers in yards per route run (2.17) according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics. If Robinson is targeted on deep passes often enough, his value as a fantasy player grows.
The Bears had the league’s worst deep passing offense last season, but the receivers in the Chiefs’ Nagy-led offense gained the third most yards on deep passes. And since Trubisky posted a 108.1 rating on passes that traveled 20+ yards down the field, it should give Robinson enough chances to be a big-time scoring threat in 2018.
While the Bears’ offense will offer more variety than what we have seen in recent years, Robinson will get a bulk of the pass-catching action – and with good reason. If Trubisky can take advantage of having a reliable wideout to throw to, then he’ll see enough passes to produce at a floor level WR2. And if Trubisky takes a dramatic second-year leap, then Robinson has WR1 potential moving forward.