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An Unfortunate Truth: Early 2021 Fantasy Football Busts

(Image credit: Barry Werner/USA Today Sports)

By: Austin Geller

Twitter: @24Ageller

Ladies and gentlemen, there is a hard truth that needs to be accepted after these first three weeks of football. You may have drafted these men in the first or second round, so you have my condolences. As disappointing as this is to hear, Antonio Gibson and Jonathan Taylor are officially RB2s, while Allen Robinson is officially a WR2.

Antonio Gibson (RB - WAS): The 2nd year pro out of Memphis came into the season with an ADP of about 18 (RB10), according to FantasyPros. After a rookie campaign in which he accumulated 795 rushing yards, 247 receiving yards, and 11 total touchdowns, Gibson finished the season as RB13. This is a player that fantasy managers were expecting to take that next stride forward. Unfortunately, things do not always work out as planned.

The first 3 weeks of the 2021 season have been abysmal for Antonio Gibson owners. Coming into Week 4 as RB19, Gibson is far below where he was expected to be. Besides Week 1 in which he had 23 touches, the volume has had a major reduction. He had 15 touches in Week 2 and 13 touches in Week 3. Fortunately, Gibson took his only reception to the house for 73 yards. Unfortunately, that is not to be expected on a weekly basis. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke continues to look downfield, instead of his star running back that formerly played wide receiver for three years before transferring to Memphis.

If the first three weeks have been any indicator, it is that Antonio Gibson is officially an RB2. Until Gibson gets the volume, the second-year running back should be treated and valued as an RB2.

Jonathan Taylor: (RB - IND): The start to the 2021 season for Jonathan Taylor managers has been nothing short of a disappointment. After a rookie season in which he accounted for 1169 rushing yards, 299 receiving yards, and 12 total touchdowns, Taylor finished his campaign as RB6. He came into the 2021 season with an ADP of about 10 (according to FantasyPros), which valued him as a first-round pick. Unfortunately (and it goes without saying), the second-year back has not lived up to the hype.

After a sluggish first three weeks, Taylor approaches Week 4 as RB28. After Week 1 in which he rushed 17 times for 56 yards and caught 6 passes for 60 yards, Taylor finished the week with 17.6 FPTS. The volume he received was exactly what an RB1 should be receiving. And then Week 2 and 3 happened, where we saw Taylor touch the ball 27 times, total, in those two weeks. Keep in mind he had 23 touches in Week 1, alone. The drop in volume is frightening. The heavy involvement of Nyheim Hines, especially in the passing game, has snatched away a lot of touches from Taylor. With Carson Wentz under center, the Colts are going to favor the passing game, which does not bode well for Jonathan Taylor owners.

Similar to Antonio Gibson, Jonathan Taylor is an RB1 talent that is not receiving RB1 volume. Unless we see an increase in his usage, Jonathan Taylor must be treated and valued as an RB2.

Allen Robinson (WR - CHI): The 2021 season has not been kind to Allen Robinson owners (such as myself). A-Rob completed the 2020 season with 1250 yards and 6 touchdowns on 102 receptions. A monster year propelled Robinson to a WR9 finish. He came into this season with an ADP of about 32, which put him at WR11. Now three weeks into the season, Robinson comes into Week 4 as WR65. Averaging just 8.2 FPTS a game, A-Rob has caught a measly two balls in back-to-back weeks. What could go wrong has gone wrong.

The Bears offense is abysmal. The offensive line is practically handing out sacks like Oprah: “you get a sack, you get a sack, now you get a sack!” I think a team actually has to try to let their quarterback get sacked 9 times in one game. How can Robinson get the ball when his quarterback is on the ground before he breaks out of his route?

The Bears offensive line is horrifying to watch, but not as horrifying as Matt Nagy’s playcalling. Adjectives to describe Chicago’s offense: predictable, boring, sloppy, unwatchable. No wonder Allen Robinson has not gotten the ball; they don’t ever call plays for him, and it is a travesty!

Last but not least, the quarterback carousel is a headache for fantasy managers. Will it be Nick Foles, or will it be Justin Fields? Without a consistent quarterback for Allen Robinson to play with, he will not be able to develop chemistry with whoever is under center.

Allen Robinson has been one of my favorite players in fantasy the last two seasons. It breaks my heart, but he is officially a WR2 until the Bears can resolve their issues on offense.

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