Fantasy Football 2014: Making the Case for Khiry Robinson

Daniel Stack@@stacdemonContributor IIJune 27, 2014

New Orleans Saints running back Khiry Robinson (29) celebrates after running for a 1-yard touchdown during the fourth quarter of an NFC divisional playoff NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

When it comes to preparing for your fantasy football draft this summer, Khiry Robinson is a name you might want to get to know.

There is a lot to like about Robinson as he enters his second year with the Saints. With the club losing Darren Sproles in the offseason to the Eagles and Mark Ingram having done nothing to stand out in his time with the Saints, Robinson stands to make a major impact while sharing carries with Pierre Thomas in New Orleans.

Although Robinson had a pedestrian rookie year with 54 carries for 224 rushing yards and one touchdown, you have to realize he was an undrafted rookie learning the ropes and, as mentioned, was fourth on the depth chart to Thomas, Sproles and Ingram.

However, he showed flashes of potential last year, especially in Week 6 at New England when he ran for 53 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries, as well as the last week of the season against Tampa Bay when he ran for 50 yards on 12 carries.

When he got carries, Robinson made the most of them, as his 4.1 yards-per-carry clip attests. He also picked up a good dose of carries in the playoffs last year when Thomas got hurt.

Certainly Thomas will get his carries, and he has to be considered the de facto No. 1 back. But with Sproles gone, all Robinson has to do is leapfrog the perpetually underachieving Ingram to be Thomas' sidekick in New Orleans. Ingram has seemingly never fit in with the Saints offense and has only 356 career carries in his three years in the league while also battling a myriad of injury problems as well.

Meanwhile Robinson has fresh legs and untapped potential that has impressed Saints coach Sean Payton.

From Mike Triplett of

Saints coach Sean Payton started feeding the 6-foot, 220-pounder more during the playoffs after veteran Pierre Thomas was injured. And Payton famously revealed that his mentor, Bill Parcells, compared Robinson to Hall of Famer Curtis Martin and insisted that Payton needed to use him more.

Now, Robinson is hoping to build off that success while also becoming a more well-rounded back capable of catching passes and being trusted in pass protection.

'He is someone obviously that has more confidence now,' Payton said last week during the Saints' first week of organized team activities. 'You see him, just from an assignment standpoint, understanding the protections much quicker. That took a while for him last year. I think (with) a year under his belt, the overall understanding of all the things he needs to do at the running back position is a lot better. …

'He is a lot further along than he was this time last year.'

That is a heck of a vote of confidence for Robinson. He has every chance to play a major role in the Saints offense, and as a result, you should feel comfortable trying to nab Robinson in the middle-to-late rounds of fantasy drafts.

While it may take some time for Robinson to find his footing, it looks like he will be granted a huge opportunity this year. And when it comes to playing fantasy football, that's all you look for in breakouts or sleepers. And being an integral part of the Saints' high-octane offense is just icing on the cake.

Aim to target Robinson as a low-end No. 3 RB/high-end No. 4 RB in most 10-12 teams leagues with his projections to be around 160-180 carries, 730-760 rushing yards and five to seven touchdowns.

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