It took a bit longer than expected, but Allen Robinson is finally on the move.
After the Jaguars wrecked the wide receiver market for 48 hours after their early spending spree, A-Rob is the first of the big name receivers to sign. He got a healthy commitment from the Rams as GM Les Snead continues to press all of the right buttons:
Allen Robinson contract with Rams: three years, $46.5 million, according to a league source— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 17, 2022
Robinson signing for $30M+ guaranteed also suggests the team won’t re-sign Odell Beckham, who looked as close to his old self with the Rams before unfortunately re-tearing his ACL in the Super Bowl. OBJ will likely be on his third team in the last 2 seasons.
Obviously, the 2021 season was a downright disaster for Robinson.
Across 12 injury-riddled (ankle / hamstring) games, A-Rob had just 38 receptions, 410 yards, and 1 TD en route to his worst career year in fantasy points per game (7.1) by a mile. Between his injuries and terrible quarterback play, it was a lost year. Few receivers struggled because of poor, inaccurate throws more often than A-Rob. Per SIS, just 68.7% of Robinson’s 67 targets were catchable – the eighth-lowest rate out of 91 qualifying WRs.
Now in L.A., Matthew Stafford is unquestionably the best quarterback A-Rob has ever played with. After eight years of playing with up-and-down passers – Mitchell Trubisky was probably the best of the bunch – Robinson’s patience pays off.
We’ve got a history of Robinson being a WR1 with adequate quarterback play (at best), and it’s easy to get excited about his outlook with Stafford. A-Rob has finished as the WR13 or better three times in his career, which is honestly impressive given the list of quarterbacks he’s had to endure:
Allen Robinson’s career fantasy finishes
|Year / Primary QB||Fantasy Points per Game||WR Finish (FPG)|
|2014 / Bortles||11.5||WR38|
|2015 / Bortles||19.0||WR8|
|2016 / Bortles||12.3||WR33|
|2017||Missed Season (ACL)||DNP|
|2018 / Trubisky||11.9||WR32|
|2019 / Trubisky||15.9||WR9|
|2020 / Trubisky & Foles||16.4||WR13|
|2021 / Fields & Dalton||7.1||WR88|
Now, for 2022 and beyond, the big question is how will the Rams split up their targets?
Well, the Super Bowl Rams were among the most pass-heavy teams in all game situations in 2021, ranking 3rd in pass rate when the game was within a score (65.1%), 5th when trailing (71.5%), and 8th when leading (55.9%). As a result, the Rams ranked 10th in pass attempts per game with 35.7.
So, let’s make a few logical assumptions when it comes to mapping out targets for this Rams receiver group and we’ll project things out from there.
Stafford averaged 35.7 attempts per game in 2021 and has room for growth with A-Rob added
Overall, the Rams were the 8th-most pass-heavy team (62.9%)
A realistic 2-3% increase in pass rate in 2022 would equate to the Rams averaging 37-39 pass attempts per game
Ok, so how does that project out for 2022 between Kupp, A-Rob, and Van Jefferson?
Last year, Kupp led the NFL in target share (32%) and it didn’t really matter if now-Titan Robert Woods was healthy or not. Kupp got the rock.
Cooper Kupp’s usage was basically unchanged with / without Robert Woods
|With Woods (9 games)||Without Woods (12 games)|
|Targets per game – 11.6||Targets per game – 10.8|
|Target share – 32.8%||Target share – 31.9%|
Meanwhile, Robert Woods was a clear second fiddle in target share when he was healthy last season (7.8 targets per game; 21.8% share) while Van Jefferson (5.4 targets per game; 14.7% share) was a distant third.
So, even if Kupp’s target share naturally falls from 32% to, say, 28% with Robinson in the picture – he still has an easy path to 175-180 targets if the Rams do throw just a bit more in 2022.
As for Robinson, I figure that he’ll end up squeezing Tyler Higbee further out of the equation and make up for around 20% of the team’s targets. Even if he “only” hovers in the low-20% range for target share, Robinson has a pathway to 110-130 total looks depending on just how pass-heavy L.A. ends up being.
Meanwhile, Jefferson is back in the WR4-5 fantasy conversation after the Rams shipped off Woods to the Titans. Jefferson is not someone I will be on for re-draft leagues, but he’s an easy piece to target late as a part of Rams stacks in best-ball.
Just for reference, Dallas (Cooper, Lamb, and Gallup) and Tampa Bay (Evans, Godwin, and Brown) all would have had 3 receivers with triple-digit targets in 2021 had health cooperated, and I expect the Rams to be in that conversation in 2022.
Kupp still has a repeat WR1 season well within his range of outcomes while Robinson has a pathway to strong WR2 numbers attached to the best QB he’s ever played with and a pass-heavy attack. Meanwhile, fantasy football has been broken by mobile quarterbacks, but as far as the non-runners go – you won’t be able to find any better than Matthew Stafford. Especially after Aaron Rodgers just lost Davante Adams.