Is Bijan Robinson the next great fantasy football running back? Or will he fail to reach those lofty expectations with the Atlanta Falcons?
Rookie running backs and wide receivers have been fixtures in fantasy football since its inception. Typically these players come at a discount, as some leagues have managers that only watch NFL — not college football. Thus, the savvy owners who keep tabs on the latest batch of NFL prospects have a distinct advantage.
The Falcons Spend A Valuable Pick On Bijan Robinson
The Atlanta Falcons spent the No. 8 overall pick on running back Bijan Robinson in April. It was the earliest a ball carrier had gone in years, and ironically enough, coincides with the current discourse surrounding veteran running backs.
Using a pick as highly coveted as that ensures that Robinson will see the field plenty as a rookie. He is built to handle a full workload and has the three-down skillset to be a star from the moment the regular season kicks off.
The former Longhorn made his preseason debut on Friday night, shaking and baking the defense on a crafty gain early in the opening drive. He ended the day with four carries for 20 yards, but those numbers can’t possibly describe how good Robinson looked vs. the Bengals.
His trademark elusiveness has followed him to the NFL, as the shifty ball carrier forced an absurd 104 missed tackles in his final year with Texas. Robinson also caught a pass for six yards, showcasing his versatility to the Falcons offense.
The pure talent of Bijan is enough to get any fantasy football fan excited. But his opportunity within a run-heavy Atlanta scheme makes him fantasy gold. Head coach Arthur Smith thrives on asserting the ground game early and often. He helped Tyler Allgeier reach the 1,000-yard mark in 2022.
Don’t Worry About Tyler Allgeier; Bijan Is “The Guy”
Speaking of Allgeier, you might be scared off of Robinson because of the looming threat the BYU product possesses. However, there are more than enough carries available for both to be effective plays in fantasy football. But Robinson should (and will) be the primary option from the jump.
Maybe Allgeier will snipe some touchdowns here and there, but Robinson’s pass-catching upside easily makes up for it. You don’t draft a running back as early as the Falcons did without a plan in place for Year 1.
Another area working in Robinson’s favor is the stout offensive line that general manager Terry Fontenot has assembled. Chris Lindstrom leads a unit that loves getting their nose dirty in the trenches. One thing is for certain, Robinson will consistently have open running lanes to work with.
Quarterback Desmond Ridder enters his first season as the full-time QB1 in Atlanta. It remains to be seen if he is the answer behind center, but having such a reliable running back to lean on is invaluable. Robinson can single-handedly carry an offense down the field.
Robinson Is Expensive In Fantasy Football, But Worth It
I spoke earlier on the value that usually comes with drafting a rookie running back in fantasy football. However, Bijan Robinson is the worst-kept secret this offseason. Even the most casual of fans have heard of the exciting ball carrier, and his ADP on ESPN and Sleeper proves as much.
It will likely cost you a top-ten pick to secure Robinson on your squad. That may seem too rich for a guy that has never logged a “real” NFL snap, but take my word for it; he is worth it. I wouldn’t blame anyone for having Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler, and a few more established runners ahead in rankings.
But Robinson becoming the overall RB1 in fantasy football is a realistic possibility. Sure, some folks crash and burn when the bright lights come on, but the new starter for the Falcons is ready to take it head-on. His blend of explosive running, top-tier pass-catching, and red-zone potential make him a risk-free choice at the backend of Round 1.