Breakouts Only Happen Once – The Case for Allen Robinson in 2015
Allen Robinson is the wide receiver you need to draft in 2015, the WR who may singlehandedly win you your leagues. The mid-round steal who might just finish as a top 12 option. Think of guys like Josh Gordon, Alshon Jeffery, and to a lesser extent, DeAndre Hopkins.I’m not saying that because of the constant hype coming out of Jaguars OTAs. That’s just a symptom of the impending breakout. Here are the real reasons he’s going to breakout in 2014.
Robinson Was an Incredible Prospect
Last season, Jon Moore made the case that not only was Allen Robinson a first round talent, but the best WR in the 2014 class. Jon was banging the Robinson drum earlier and harder than anyone else- if he weren’t traveling the world right now I imagine he’d be writing this article instead of myself. Jon cites Robinson’s amazing age-adjusted production, and points out how he compares favorably to Demaryius Thomas, Josh Gordon, DeAndre Hopkins, Dez Bryant, Hakeem Nicks, and Kenny Britt.
One thing we have this year that we didn’t last year is the Box Score Scout. Here are Robinson’s closest comps when using his pro day numbers:
So let’s add in Julio Jones, Jordy Nelson, and Jordan Matthews as comps for good measure. Of course, you do have famous busts Stephen Hill and Jon Baldwin, but they’ve never even produced a season as good as Robinson’s rookie season.
History Repeats Itself
Here’s Robinson’s plot of comparable player seasons from the WR Similarity Score App:
The app gives him a median projection of 14.4 PPR points per game (would have been WR19 last season) and a high end projection of 16.6 PPR PPG (WR13 last season). Remember when I mentioned Josh Gordon and DeAndre Hopkins at the beginning of the article? I wasn’t just invoking those names randomly, they’re actually two of his closest comps.
Speaking of Gordon, I should point out that the high projection the app gives actually isn’t the best case scenario. Between his rookie and sophomore seasons Gordon improved his per game scoring by 125 percent. I’m pretty comfortable saying Robinson won’t improve quite that much. Why? Because that would give him 25.9 FPPG in 2015. The highest FPPG scored since 2000 is Odell Beckham’s 24.8 last season. What I’m trying to convey here is that Robinson really does have limitless upside. A lot of people point to Blake Bortles’ inadequacies and the general situation in Jacksonville as to why Robinson couldn’t possibly reach that upside, but let’s not pretend 2013 Cleveland was a paradise. Great talent can overcome.
A Windfall of Targets
The RotoViz writers currently have Robinson projected for 130 targets. You would expect that to translate into a WR18 finish. By this point in the article you’ll probably be unsurprised to hear that I think that total is too low.
Why do I think 130 is too low? Well for one thing he had 81 targets in just 10 games last season. If you prorate that to a full season it works out to… 130 targets.1 You would expect some increase in that total merely because Robinson is going to be a sophomore rather than a rookie. But it also helps that Cecil Shorts left in free agency. Shorts led the team with 110 targets last season. Robinson is absolutely going to take some of those targets for himself.
Oh, and do you like TDs? Because Shorts also had 16 red zone targets last season. Robinson’s red zone opportunity is bound to be significantly more than the five targets he saw last season.
Players like Robinson, Gordon, Hopkins, and even Beckham only break out once. If you want to benefit from that breakout you have to be willing to pull the trigger when it’s not quite obvious just how good they are. That time is now for Robinson. According to the Best Ball ADP App, he is being drafted at WR29 in the 6th round. That’s a small price to pay for even a WR2, let alone for someone with Robinson’s high-end WR1 potential.
In dynasty, Robinson is a bit more costly. According to the Dynasty ADP App, Robinson is being drafted at the edge of the 4th and 5th rounds. That’s after WRs like Emmanuel Sanders and Golden Tate but ahead of Nelson Agholor and Jarvis Landry. I would gladly trade any of the WRs I just mentioned for Robinson and am generally targeting him at that price. I think the biggest problem with trading for Robinson is simply getting the other owner to do it, as our message board users report that nobody is willing to give him up. If you really do want him, this might be your last chance.