During the draft season, Robert Kelley was a relatively unknown fantasy football commodity. The then-23-year-old rookie was buried on the depth chart behind presumptive starter Matt Jones and change-of-pace back Chris Thompson. However, Matt Jones’ butterfingers left him planted firmly on the bench, paving the way for “Fat Rob” to be the lead back in Washington. Last week he was only able to muster a sixteen-touch, 42-yard effort, and things aren’t looking better for him this week as Washington travels to Arizona to take on the Cardinals.
Prior to cratering last week, Rob Kelley looked to be one of the big breakouts of the second-half of the season as his first three opportunities to get and keep the starting job went like this: 21 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown, 22 carries for 97 yards and 24 carries for 137 yards and three touchdowns. 331 yards and four touchdowns over a three-game span are RB1 numbers, but underneath the exterior there was a rotten core of potential production issues, despite is heavy workload. He is a two-down grinder, losing third-down and two-minute drill snaps to Chris Thompson, which limits his upside. Washington leans on Kirk Cousins as much as they can, which limits his upside. He had a great hot streak, but last week was the beginning of the end for Fat Rob’s fantasy production.
Dallas, last week’s opponent, is bottom-ten in the NFL for fantasy points per game allowed to running backs. Kelley was stymied by them, and that was the bad news. Here is the worse news. The Cardinals are the second-best in the NFL at limiting the production of running backs against them. Running backs can score against them, but their yardage is extremely low against them, leading to limited upside. The opposition needs that touchdown to be fantasy relevant against the Arizona. With Thompson cutting into Kelley’s carries and snaps, it will limit his ability to be on the field for that important score.
This week isn’t a great play for Kelley, and things aren’t going to get better anytime soon. Every single opponent between now and week sixteen (fantasy finals in most leagues) is bottom-ten in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Fat Rob had a great run, and he may have value for the rest of the season, but the deck is stack against him. His matchups for the rest of the year, this weekend included, preclude his ability to be a useful fantasy football contributor for the rest of the year. Bench him for now, but if he continues his ridiculous pace of carries, he will be worth playing on volume alone.