The Atlanta Falcons under coach Arthur Smith pride themselves on playing positionless football. Cordarrelle Patterson, for instance, was listed as a starting "Joker" on the team's initial depth chart.
But the Falcons aren't joking around with their plans at running back, though fantasy owners may find themselves fooled.
Atlanta is expected to continue splitting carries in the backfield between standout rookie Bijan Robinson and second-year ball-carrier Tyler Allgeier, including Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on NFL GameDay Morning.
"Expect them to split carries," Rapoport explained. "While Bijan Robinson may get the start, he is not going to be the bell cow. This'll be evenly divided, driving fantasy fans crazy, but Falcons fans will love it."
Robinson, the highly touted No. 8 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, was a revelation in the preseason and a lightning rod in Atlanta's Week 1 opener, earning 83 yards and an ankle-breaking touchdown on 16 touches. But Robinson was out-carried and outgained by Allgeier (10 to 15, 83 to 94) in the win over Carolina despite playing five more snaps (31 to 26). Allgeier doubled him up on tuddies, too.
This isn't new for Allgeier or the Falcons. The 2022 fifth-round pick played a position-high 51.2% of offensive snaps last season, with Patterson (46.3%), Caleb Huntley (17.1%) and others also getting action. Allgeier, a surprise breakout, led the team with 1,174 yards from scrimmage and four total TDs on 226 touches. But with Robinson in tow for 2023, the BYU product was thought to be taking a back seat to the rookie. Not so, apparently.
Falcons fans and fantasy players alike would surely prefer to see more Robinson in action, as well as fellow top-10 offensive selections Drake London and Kyle Pitts cop more targets (four on 39 combined routes in Week 1, per Next Gen Stats). Why draft these toys so early if you're not going to play with them, after all?
But Smith's Falcons march to the beat of their own drum, potentially to 2-0 if their tandem backfield runs roughshod again Sunday afternoon.