Punch Drunk Wonderland

Does Denard Robinson Have Fantasy Football Potential?

Week 7 saw Denard Robinson get a surprising majority of the touches for the Jacksonville backfield. He had 22 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown. With Toby Gerhart out it was expected to see Robinson and teammate Storm Johnson getting carries, but Denard saw the lion’s share. Johnson was only given 6 carries. The Jags run game hasn’t been that impressive, so this big performance from Robinson could mean a larger role going forward. He may have even bought himself a bigger piece of the pie even when Gerhart returns. There are certainly a lot of question marks, and fantasy owners are now scrambling to discern Robinson’s fantasy value going forward.

Our friends at numberFire.com have taken a look at Robinson and have given some insight into his fantasy football potential going forward this season.

As a fantasy football fanatic, I sometimes have to make compromises on Saturdays to be able to put in serious fantasy football time on Sundays. While I grew up in Cleveland and consider myself first and foremost a Browns fan and an Ohio State fan, my wife is a Michigan alum. So in spite of being the living embodiment of the ESPN College Football commercials, I often find myself watching more than my fair share of Michigan games on Saturdays. In a quick phrase, happy wife, happy life.

With that in mind, I’m sure you’re questioning what my point is right now. Well, here it comes. I probably have seen more of Denard “Shoelace” Robinson’s games than a lot of people and really saw him as an “athlete” or a change of pace back in the NFL. So when I was watching Robinson gash the Browns on Sunday for 127 rushing yards and a touchdown on a career-high 22 carries, I took a keen interest in the performance to see if anything can be gleaned from it. For someone who had 20 carries in 2013 and 28 carries before Week 7’s breakout vs. the Browns, the volume and the performance was certainly eye-opening.

Was Robinson’s Week 7 Performance Legitimate?

For the year, Shoelace stacks up fairly well among the 43 running backs with 50 carries or more in terms of our Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP):

Player Games Rushes Rushing NEP Rushing NEP/Rush Success Rate
D. Robinson 7 50 0.73 (17th) .015 (13th) 48.0% (7th)

To paint a picture how good Robinson’s Week 7 was, his Rushing NEP after Week 6 was -3.08 and now it is 0.73 – or 17th among running backs with 50 carries or more (his 50 carries just hit the threshold). That means that Robinson’s performance versus the Browns resulted in a very solid 3.81 points for the week.

As Rushing NEP is a cumulative statistic, his overall rank of 17th shows three things. First, running the ball is very inefficient by its very nature, and adding 0.73 points over the course of a season isn’t all that bad.

Second, this indicates how poorly other running backs have performed this season (I’m looking at you, Alfred Morris). Third, it also now gives Robinson both the volume and Rushing NEP score to be compared with a peer group featuring guys like Shane Vereen and Ben Tate.

Continue reading at numberFire.com… (@numberfire)

K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...