Few people took note when the Washington Redskins took running back Alfred Morris in the sixth round (173rd overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft, but he emerged as the team’s starting tailback during training camp and went on to finish second in the league in both rushing yards (1,613) and rushing touchdowns (13).
Let’s take a closer look at Morris’s 2012 campaign and shed some light on what fantasy football owners can expect in 2013.
Morris became a top waiver wire addition in fantasy leagues after rushing for 96 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1 last season, and he remained an every-week starter over the rest of the season. He had over 75 rushing yards in 14 of 16 regular season games, and had only one game all season where he didn’t have at least that many yards on the ground or a touchdown.
Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan has drawn the ire of fantasy owners for years with how he deploys his running backs, but it would take a devastating injury for Morris not to get the majority of the carries this season. But he was not a primary option in the passing game last season (11 receptions), and it would take a dramatic change to make his catch total noteworthy. Washington added two rookies (Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison) to their running back mix in April’s draft, but they will compete with incumbents Evan Royster and Roy Helu for what little playing time Morris leaves behind.
Morris had 335 carries (third in the league) in 2012, and it would not be surprising to see him top 300 carries again this season. That expected workload makes him sure to be one of the first 5-10 running backs drafted in the majority of fantasy leagues, and a likely first-round pick in standard formats. But a lack of receptions puts a serious ceiling on his potential in PPR leagues, and also makes him less immune to a fluxuation in carries compared to most of the other top running backs this year.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.