After a slow couple of days on the wide receiver market, we finally have some tangible movement as Allen Robinson is joining the Los Angeles Rams.
The #Rams are signing WR Allen Robinson to a three-year, $46.5 million deal that includes $30.7M fully guaranteed, per sources.
The deal was negotiated by agents @bparker of @vaynersports and Roosevelt Barnes. https://t.co/sBlfz6iTEb
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 17, 2022
Allen Robinson Career Stats
The 2021 season was an outright disaster for Robinson. Seemingly disgruntled with the Chicago organization from the outset of last offseason when he was franchise tagged, his effort was questioned, while he also dealt with ankle, hamstring, and COVID issues during the season to go along with subpar quarterback play.
All of that resulted in a tailspin that ended with 38 catches for 410 yards and one touchdown over 12 games. He set career lows per game across the board outside of the 2017 season when he played just three offensive snaps before suffering a season-ending injury.
Coming off last season’s output, has Robinson finally been freed or are we too late to get the best out of Robinson?
Outside of his own underperformance, motivation, and health, just 60.6% of Robinson’s limited targets were deemed catchable (84th among wideouts) while posting 35 yards or fewer in 9-of-12 games.
Playing with effective quarterback play and upper echelon offenses have been something Robinson has never had so far over his career.
Allen Robison Career Performance Per Quarterback
With just under 80% of his career targets coming from Blake Bortles and Mitchell Trubisky, Robinson will unequivocally be playing the best quarterback of his career in Matthew Stafford. Robinson is leaving the 30th ranked offense in expected points added via passing offense (-50.0 EPA) in Chicago for a Rams team that ranked first (+237.3 EPA). On a per pass attempt, Stafford ranked second in the NFL in points earned per attempt (0.222) according to Sports Info Solutions.
Robinson did take a step back in effectiveness versus man coverage last season compared to his career output, but he still destroyed press coverage while ranking in the 81st percentile in win rate versus man coverage in Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception.
The Bears also limited Robinson’s route tree. 39.8% of Robinson’s routes last season were strictly slants and curls per SIS. Those shallow routes collectively provided a 5.9-yard depth of target, which played a large role in his depressed yards per catch. In 2020, 32.0% of his routes were slants and curls.
Playing outside in Sean McVay’s offense, Robinson will surely get a bump in route diversity, while adding more fantasy-friendly routes to his profile. Just 20.9% of the routes run by Rams pass catchers in 2021 came on those curl and slant routes that Robinson was boxed into.
No team had more air yards in 2021 on digs, posts, go, and deep crossing routes than the Rams (1,184) while no team had fewer air yards on those routes than the Bears (361) last season. Robinson had just 10 total targets on those routes in 2021 with just 23 in 2020. while those routes accounted for 25.4% of his tree in 2021 and 27.2% in 2020.
The Rams also were an aggressive offense near the end zone with Stafford, ranking fourth in red zone passing rate (59.2%), while second in pass rate inside of the 10-yard line (58.4%), and first in pass rate inside of the 5-yard line (65.9%). 79.7% of the Rams offensive touchdowns in 2021 were passing touchdowns, the highest rate in the league.
Robinson was coming off WR11 and WR13 per game fantasy seasons prior to last year so there is plenty of room for him to reclaim functionality for fantasy moving to the Rams. This is almost as good of a landing spot as possible. That said, we are unlikely to back to Robinson flirting with 25-30% target shares he posted over the 2019-2020 seasons as a target vacuum on a limited offense.
Cooper Kupp is still the featured target in this offense. Even if Kupp concedes a portion of the gaudy 31.5% target share that he had in 2021, the days of Robinson pushing 150 targets carries low probability of returning.
That said, with the trade of Robert Woods and Odell Beckham (if retained) projected to be looking at a return to the field in November or even later, Robinson can fail to rebound in the volume department while trading that off for the more efficient and fantasy-friendly targets. Even if Robinson has truly lost a step that wasn’t tied to anything related to his situation with the Bears last year, this offense can mask a number of deficiencies.
He may not quite reclaim being a fringe WR1 in fantasy, but that gives him more than added viability as a fantasy WR2 and attractive player to bounce back from a forgettable 2021.
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