Fantasy Football 2013: Keep Rolling With Alfred Morris

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

 

Sophomore running back Alfred Morris has shown some regression in 2013.

Yeah, no kidding. I mean, did you see his rookie campaign from a season ago? The 6th-round draft pick rushed for 1,613 yards and a whopping 13 touchdowns. If you didn’t expect some regression, you were fooling yourself. However, while Morris hasn’t quite been the top-10 back that fantasy owners drafted him to be, just remember that the majority of stud fantasy backs have struggled this season. Those who have Morris on their roster should not be worried whatsoever. In fact, they should be pretty excited looking ahead in the season. But let’s go back and show some of the top tier rushers that haven’t been living up to standards thus far. A certain Bills running back will force me to fight back tears.

Running Back

ADP (ESPN)

Fantasy Points

Rank

Doug Martin 7.0 56.30 20th
C.J. Spiller 10.4 48.60 29th
Ray Rice 5.9 52.40 25th
Trent Richardson 11.4 53.10 24th
Alfred Morris 12.5 57.40 19th

 

Keep in mind, folks, that’s without even mentioning the likes of David WilsonStevan Ridley and Maurice Jones-Drew. And considering that Morris is the only one inside the top-20 right now, perhaps owners should relax. Sure, he isn’t putting up outstanding numbers right now, but he is still averaging a very impressive 5.2 yards per carry, is averaging 75.4 rushing yards per game (9th) and is 6th in the league in rushing touchdowns with three. The running back position as a whole has been frustrating, and to be honest, Morris weaker year isn’t even his fault, if you ask me.

In 2012, the Washington Redskins were one of the most run-heavy teams in all of football. According to teamrankings.com, Washington averaged 31.9 rushing attempts per contest, which was tied with New England for second-most in the league. Morris, meanwhile, averaged about 21 carries per contest, a healthy number for a fantasy back. Fast forward to 2013, and the Redskins have appeared to have lost their identity. Currently averaging 24.4 rushing attempts per game, Washington ranks 22nd in that department. Morris has only carried the ball 72 times, which is good for 23rd-most in football. The defensive struggles have hindered Morris’ volume this season. Through their first four games, the Redskins allowed the most yards during that span than any team in the history of the game, and as of right now, they are the 27th-ranked defense in the league, allowing 395 yards per contest. Because of this, quarterback Robert Griffin III is forced to sling the ball around more often than he would probably like. He is averaging a ridiculous 41.8 passing attempts per game. That is not Washington’s game at all. And because Washington if forced to throw the football more than they would like, it kills Morris’ value, as he isn’t the team’s pass-catching back. Instead, second-string runner Roy Helu sees the field, and he has been on the field more than any Morris owner would like to see. Using the terrific numbers from fantasydata.com, I was actually shocked to see how extremely close the snap count between the two running backs has been.

 

I was kind of surprised to see that Helu has only played seven less snaps than Morris, a true workhorse back. This trend will most likely continue if Washington’s defense doesn’t continue to put this team in come-from-behind situations. However, fantasy owners should stick with Morris because Washington has to improve at some point, right? Okay, who knows? But even if they don’t, Morris still has a pretty favorable rest of season schedule. Let’s take a look ahead, shall we? It’s never too early, after all.

Week

Opponent

FPPG to RB

Rank

7 Chicago 21.05 13th-most
8 Denver 22.34 9th-most
10 Minnesota 27.48 most
12 San Francisco 21.30 12th-most
13 New York Giants 21.40 11th-most
16 Dallas 22.50 6th-most

*Gets Giants again, PHI.

Also, with the report coming out that RG3 plans to start running more again, Morris could find some more running lanes, which could make his job easier. I think there are a lot of struggling backs that warrant some concern, but Morris surely isn’t one of them. He is still one of the top rushers in the league from a statistical standpoint right now, and needs to be thought of as such from a fantasy perspective as well.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.


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