On Monday evening, the Jacksonville Jaguars agreed to send running back James Robinson to the New York Jets in exchange for draft compensation. After losing star rookie Breece Hall to an ACL injury, this trade makes a firm statement that the Jets are not throwing in the towel. The team sits at 5-2 in the 2022 NFL season on the heels of a four-game winning streak, and now with the affectionately nicknamed “J-Rob” in tow, head coach Robert Saleh and company will look to keep the good times rolling.
The fantasy impact of this deal has several ripple effects, perhaps most impactfully felt in the city Robinson leaves behind. Running back Travis Etienne of the Jaguars is undoubtedly the largest beneficiary of this trade, as he is likely to inherit a significantly larger portion of the workshare without Robinson in town. Granted, Etienne had already been out-touching J-Rob 48 to 33 since Week 4 per 4for4, but this trade solidifies Etienne's status as “the guy” who will now occupy the backfield uninhibited.
Etienne is the RB18 overall in point-per-reception (PPR) scoring over the last three games, according to FantasyData, with an average of 15.4 PPR points per game. Additionally, Etienne has tallied 151 receiving yards on the season, tied for 14th-most among running backs with Michael Carter of the Jets. Looking forward, Etienne will be an excellent RB2-level play, particularly in PPR formats, that will flirt with RB1 upside, depending on how often he can find the end zone.
Fantasy managers looking to potentially add Etienne's handcuff would best be served looking in the direction of JaMycal Hasty. However, outside of an incredibly deep redraft league or a dynasty league, it would be an unnecessary move at this time.
As far as what this means for the Jets, it is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, fantasy managers who roster Michael Carter have already had their dreams of the injury to Hall turning the second-year back out of North Carolina into a bonafide league-winner squashed. On the other hand, the complementary nature of Carter's and Robinson's skill sets will likely work out just fine for fantasy. In 2021, Carter finished 29th among running backs in receptions (36), and 15th in targets (55) in 14 games played, per FantasyData. If nothing else, Carter should serve as the pass-catching option and can best be viewed as a flex candidate in PPR formats the rest of the way.
As for Robinson, we spoke earlier about the dwindling opportunity he faced in Jacksonville with Travis Etienne taking over in recent times, so escaping that circumstance and finding himself in a Jets offense with a need for his services is a huge win. Fantasy managers know J-Rob is capable of handling the workload, too, as he finished 2021 as the RB24 overall in PPR, serving as the Jaguars' lead back. The Jets have run the ball at the eighth-highest rate in the NFL this season, per Pro Football Reference, and assuming a healthy-yet-even split between himself and Carter, James Robinson should carry low-end RB2 status in this new offense.