Second-Year Scouting Report: Brian Robinson


We are now just 30 days away from the start of the 2023 NFL season. Thursday, Sept. 7, we will all be enjoying the Thursday night kickoff matchup between the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs.


Best ball season is in full swing, and redraft leagues preparations have intensified. As more and more fantasy managers begin drafting, this year’s rookies start to gain momentum. As the rookies gain attention, the sophomore class from last season starts to become overshadowed. Taking advantage of the prioritization of rookies over established veterans is a great edge to attack in fantasy drafts, especially when it comes to second-year players. These players often take huge strides during their second NFL season, building on their full season of NFL experience and development. 

We continue our second-year scouting report series today with Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson. The third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft overcame a near-tragedy when he was shot during an attempted robbery in late August. Robinson only missed the first four games of the season, joining the team in Week 5. Robinson enters this season in full health and is expected to be the lead running back for the Commanders. This article will provide an overview of Brian Robinson and how you should view him for redraft and dynasty leagues this season.

Brian Robinson, RB, Washington Commanders

Robinson was a talented running back at Alabama, producing a superb final collegiate season. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound bruising RB posted 1,337 rushing yards, 16 total touchdowns, and even produced in the passing game with 35 receptions. Is Robinson just an early-down grinder, or can his potential be unlocked with new offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy? 

What Went Wrong

Given the near-tragic start of Robinson’s rookie season, it’s hard to classify any part of Robinson’s season as “what went wrong.” There wasn’t even an expectation that Robinson would see the field the entire season, let alone become a regular contributor. Given his final season at Alabama, his lack of passing game usage was disappointing. Robinson only tallied nine receptions on 12 targets. Fantasy drafters would certainly like to see those numbers increase this season. 

What Went Right

Not only did Robinson find his way to the field quickly, he also was a solid contributor. Per the FTN Utilization Report, Robinson accounted for 50% of the Commanders rushing yards, despite seeing roughly a 42% snap share throughout the season. He posted three straight weeks of 100-plus total yards, including the overall RB5 PPR performance in Week 12 against Atlanta. Robinson was a workhouse for Washington, accumulating six games of 18 or more carries. 


Prognosis Entering 2023

There’s a lot of change in Washington, with Bienemy’s arrival and a new starting quarterback in Sam Howell or Jacoby Brissett. Most fantasy players see an increased role for fellow running back Antonio Gibson, who brings elite receiving ability. While camp highlights can often be noise, I am not surprised to see Robinson flashing his receiving ability. 

He has a unique running back, bringing 4.53 speed but minimal burst. Robinson is largely viewed by the fantasy world as a “plodder,” but he has unique upside given the offensive coordinator change. Bienemy had a productive backfield with Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon last season, who compare favorably to Robinson and Gibson. 

Dynasty Outlook

This is a critical season for Robinson and a huge pivot point in his career. In the range of outcomes, there is a path for him to ascend to an RB1 in fantasy. If Howell wins the starting job, Robinson could benefit from his mobility, creating rushing lines for his bruising style. The question is whether he can siphon some of Gibson’s receiving work, making his opportunity share even greater. Gibson has posted three straight seasons of 36 or more receptions, but his fantasy value has been bolstered by 26 total touchdowns. Last year, Gibson’s impact declined, as he finished as only the RB28 in PPR formats. Given Robinson’s slow start, it’s clear Washington wants to see Gibson in less of a rushing role. If Robinson can prove to be a true three-down back, Gibson’s role could be rendered irrelevant over the next few years. 

I would look to acquire Robinson in as many leagues as possible given his potential upside. There is enough doubt on his passing game role to keep his acquisition cost low, but his talent and profile suggest he is much more than a plodding NFL running back. 

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