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The NFL season is fast approaching, and your redraft fantasy drafts are right around the corner. As training camps are underway, there are many question marks about NFL running back rooms. With the emergence of running back by committees, the days of being able to draft multiple bellcow running backs in fantasy leagues look like they are over. With that in mind, in this series of articles, we will look at crowded running back rooms and how you should be attacking each this season. Next up is the Washington Commanders.
The Commanders have faced challenges in establishing a consistent offensive identity under head coach Ron Rivera's leadership. The team's offensive inconsistency has contributed to speculation surrounding Rivera's job security as the 2023 season approaches. To address these concerns, Rivera made a significant move by bringing in former Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to lead the offense.
However, questions have arisen regarding Bieniemy's impact on the Chiefs' offensive success during his tenure. Some wonder how much of their success can be attributed to Andy Reid's influence on the team. Additionally, there is uncertainty about who was actually calling the plays on the Chiefs' offense. Moreover, the positive outcomes of the Chiefs' offensive scheme have been closely associated with the talents of quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, a future Hall of Famer.
Given these question marks, there is understandable scrutiny surrounding the hiring of Bieniemy and whether he can replicate the Chiefs' offensive success with the Commanders. While Bieniemy has been highly regarded for his offensive acumen, how much of that success can be translated to the Commanders remains uncertain.
Bieniemy's version of the West Coast offense could have a positive impact on Sam Howell's development as a passer, emphasizing quick and horizontal passes. This style of offense could play to Howell's strengths and help him grow as a passer.
As for the running scheme, there might be some uncertainty given the difference in philosophies between Rivera's desire for a run-first approach and Bieniemy's history with a pass-heavy offense in Kansas City. However, it's essential to consider the context of the Chiefs' offense, which heavily relied on Patrick Mahomes II. With the Commanders, Bieniemy will adapt his playbook to fit the personnel, including a mix of multiple running concepts to keep the defense off-balance.
In his time with the Chiefs, Bieniemy utilized a wide array of running concepts, such as gap runs, zone RPOs, jet sweeps, traps, and power runs. These varied concepts, coupled with different personnel and formations, will make it challenging for opposing defenses to predict and defend against the Commanders' rushing attack.
Additionally, pre-snap motion will likely play a significant role in the rushing attack, aiming to confuse run defenses. The Chiefs effectively used pre-snap motion last season. According to PFF, the Chiefs ranked fifth in the NFL with 311 rushing attempts with pre-snap motion, gaining 1,528 yards, 728 yards after contact, and scoring a league-high 16 touchdowns. This approach will likely be carried over to the Commanders, providing an added element of unpredictability to their ground game. Considering the scheme's versatility and its compatibility with the running backs on the roster, there's a chance for multiple running backs to be fantasy-relevant in the upcoming season. As fantasy football managers, identifying the running backs who fit well within Bieniemy's scheme and have the potential for a significant role in the offense will be crucial. Let's dive into those options!
- Contract Status: Year 2 - 4 yr(s) / $5,044,908
- Free Agent: 2026/UFA
- Age: 24
- Redraft ADP: 9th Round RB37
- Dynasty ADP: 10th Round RB35
It appears that Robinson will take on the primary back role in the Commanders' offense. As a former third-round pick out of Alabama, he displayed promise in his rookie season, running 205 times for 797 yards and two touchdowns, despite missing the first four regular-season games due to a shooting incident in August.
Standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing 228 pounds, Robinson possesses a blend of power and explosiveness that aligns well with Bieniemy's coaching style, as seen with his success coaching Isiah Pacheco last season. Pacheco, after assuming the starter role from Week 9, put up RB2 numbers and emerged as a top-7 rusher in the NFL.
While Robinson may not match Pacheco's explosiveness, he is likely to take on the early-down role in the offense and receive valuable redzone touches, making him an enticing option in redraft formats. One of the primary criticisms against Robinson was his lack of touchdowns, but with the Commanders' potentially run-heavy approach, his touchdown production is expected to increase significantly, reaching at least five touchdowns in the 2023 season.
In redraft leagues, Robinson could serve as a late-round target, offering a chance to secure a player capable of delivering safe RB2 numbers while you focus on building the rest of your roster. He could prove to be a value pick with significant upside, especially if the Commanders' offense prioritizes the running game.
In dynasty leagues, Robinson represents an interesting opportunity. He could be a "buy, hold, and sell" candidate, depending on his current price and your team's makeup. For contending teams seeking a cost-effective option at the running back position, Robinson might be an attractive target on the trade market.
- Redraft Meter: ADP Value
- Dynasty Meter: Sell/Hold Depending on Value
Recent Dynasty Trades Involving Robinson (12 Team SF PPR):
- Brian Robinson for Kadarius Toney
- Brian Robinson for Nico Collins/Russell Gage
- Brian Robinson for 2024 3rd
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