Drafting an offensive skill position player from Temple? In this economy? Oh yes. Tight end David Martin-Robinson has emerged as a legitimate college fantasy football option, and one of the tight end Campus2Canton drafters need to know.
Since joining the Owls program in 2018, Martin-Robinson has been through some very lean years, but an offensive renaissance seems to be taking place in Philadelphia. As a graduate tight end, Martin-Robinson is one of the best well-rounded players at the position in the country. In 2022 he played nearly every snap for the offense, averaging over 56 snaps per game, topping all skill position players for Temple.
At the tight end position, he had an 84.2% route participation rate on passing plays despite lining up in line for 63.8% of snaps. In fantasy, we don’t care about blocking unless we’re in a points-per-pancake league, but this is the type of instance where it matters. Because Martin-Robinson is one of the best two-way tight ends at the position, he’s seldom taken off the field. In situations where quarterback EJ Warner audibles out of run plays, expect Martin-Robinson to continue to have a high route participation.
What this looked like in 2022 was ranking in the top ten among tight-end opportunities. With 5.4 targets per game, Martin-Robinson ranked ninth in the country and fourth among returning tight ends behind Brock Bowers, JT Sanders, and Brant Kuithe. He became a safety blanket for EJ Warner down the stretch with 21-231-2 in the last three games of the season after missing the first three games. We want to tentatively project his involvement late season moving forward, at least to a degree.
There has been a jolt of excitement offensively with Kurt Warner’s son EJ Warner taking over as a true freshman. For the first time since the PJ Walker era, Temple has a real playmaking quarterback under center. In 2022 Warner attempted over 40 passes per game, and with a yards per attempt sub-7 yards, Martin-Robinson fits into Warner’s current development as a quarterback. Additionally, Temple ranked 28th in plays per minute (2.51) and looks to replicate that success and approach in 2023.
Martin-Robinson’s opportunity should go unchanged this season with Adonicas Sanders and Jose Barbon exhausting eligibility. Between the two, that opens nearly 38% of last year’s target share while adding only Dante Wright to the receiver room. He does have a fellow tight end in Jordan Smith to theoretically compete with, but Temple was one of the teams that most heavily utilized 2TE sets last year. With limited returning receiver production, it should continue.
The defense should put the offense into positive (for fantasy) game scripts. Despite returning 76% of defensive production (ranked 11th nationally), it was a unit that struggled mightily last year. Overall, the unit ranked 89th in EPA/play and struggled against the rush specifically, ranking 109th. Even outside of a per-play basis, they averaged 30.6 (ranked 96th) in points against per game. I do not doubt that the offense will need to throw 40+ times a game in 2023 again.
Per Campus2Canton ADP, in C2C leagues Martin-Robinson is being drafted as TE49 and ranks 492nd in our ADP. He often goes undrafted in mocks and sometimes in leagues. Given the production from 2022 and the outlook for 2023, there’s a comfort level projecting him as a top-15 tight end with TE1 upside. In college fantasy leagues, they have a better pulse on his valuation. At TE21, there’s still meat on the bone, but his ADP of 181, averaging round 15, is too low in TE premium and certainly too low in 2TE leagues.
Martin-Robinson is a value tight end with the potential to smash in his opportunity. Draft him and profit.