It’s time for another #TFAthrowdown! In this fantasy debate, two of our writers take a look at the decision of whether to draft Allen Robinson or A.J. Green. John Holton will take the ARob side, and Zack Marmer will side with Green. Who would you take? Let us know with the hashtag #TFAthrowdown on Twitter! If you aren’t following The Fantasy Authority already, then you are missing out on some great content so give us a follow here:
Last year Allen Robinson was far and away one of the best steals of the draft. Most managers who drafted the wide receiver probably took him around the sixth to seventh round. It paid off in a big way with Robinson finishing the season as the fourth-highest fantasy scorer. His 2015 stats speak for themselves, with 1,400 total yards and a league leading 14 receiving TDs. However, you’re not reading this to reminisce about Robinson’s great season last year. You’re reading this because you want to know if he can do even better this season, and I think the answer to that is a solid yes.
Sky’s The Limit
One of the main things that will benefit Robinson this year is the fact that the major factors of the receiving situation in Jacksonville have remained unchanged. Robinson will still be catching passes from QB Blake Bortles, the QB who finished third in fantasy scoring last season with an incredible 4400 YDs/35 TD stat line. In addition, Robinson will still have WR Allen Hurns lining up across the field from him. Last season Hurns was a credible threat to opposing defenses, a player that they could not ignore. Having someone like that on the opposite side opened up a vast amount of space for Robinson, something that should happen again this season. Read more about the Allen’s in this piece about the top fantasy wide receivers for 2016.
Now all of that is nice, but if anything it just proves that Robinson will be as good as he was last season. I don’t think that’s his ceiling, though. There are other factors that show he can blow his performance last season out of the water. I think the most notable of these are the improvements made to the running game in Jacksonville. After last season the Jaguars decided to bring in free agent RB Chris Ivory, who is just coming off a stellar season for the Jets. In addition, head coach Gus Bradley noted that the team has retooled a lot of the run schemes they use. This means the run game will be something previously unseen, and just one more thing that defenses that face the Jaguars will have to worry about. If the new backfield proves to be a success, Robinson will be able to get even more open as defenses try to key in on the run.
Compare all this to AJ Green. Green has a great situation in Cincinnati but I think it’s safe to say you know what you’ll be getting from him. He’s definitely a safe pick and one that you’d be lucky to have on your team, but we’ve seen what he can do and you probably like him more for his floor than his potential. Yet as we all saw last season that floor can cave in. On the other hand, you have Robinson. His floor should be his stat line from last season, but we still don’t know the heights he could yet reach.
If you want to play this season safe then go right ahead and draft Green. However, if you’re looking for a player whose ceiling is sky high then you should be clicking the button next to Allen Robinson’s name on draft day.
Floor vs. Ceiling
Historically with AJ Green, you picked him because of his yearly floor. The 6th year receiver out of Georgia has never posted less than 1,057 receiving yards or 6 touchdowns. His floor is a WR2, and likely will be his entire career. However, this year his ceiling may be higher than it has ever been. In past years, Green has had a solid receiving option aside him. Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Jerome Simpson all produced years with at least 725 receiving yards to compliment Green. The year where the WR2 had the fewest yards (2013 Marvin Jones had 712 yards) A.J. had his best year in terms of receiving yards. (1,426) This year, Sanu is gone, Jones is gone, and Tyler Eifert may miss a quarter or more of the fantasy season. I love Tyler Boyd, and the Bengals signed Brandon LaFell, but I still think Cincy will have to lean heavily on Green to keep the passing game afloat especially at the beginning of the season.
I think Robinson’s ceiling is around the numbers he posted last year, which would be better than any year A.J. Green has ever had. I also think there is a potential for Robinson to regress as well. Mind you, I don’t think it’s a huge chance, but if the Jags defense is markedly better, and the run game improves in the red zone, there could be fewer targets and touchdowns to go around.
I love Allen Robinson. I’m a Penn State alumnus, and I enjoyed the heck out of watching him there from the stands. The guy is a beast. I don’t think you can make a wrong choice here, as I think both receivers are worth a first round pick. The big knock on Robinson seems to be that the Jaguars will be more conservative on offense and have more weapons to spread the ball to. This fact in addition to the larger expected target share that AJ Green will receive gives Green the safer floor. If you draft safe at the top of your draft, Green may be your guy. If you are looking to swing for the fences, maybe you should lean towards Robinson as he has all the talent to be one of the top 3 or 4 receivers in this league for a long time.