Most of the headlines surrounding the Washington Redskins this week have focused on finger pointing and accountability, with quarterback Robert Griffin III as the central figure after they fell to 3-7 with a Week 11 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. But injuries in the aftermath of that game have left Griffin thin on pass targets, with wide receiver Leonard Hankerson (knee) out for the season and tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) possibly out for next Monday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.
So the Redskins may be forced to focus on running the football more, and the 49ers have not been as stingy against the run as they’ve been in recent years to this point in the season (103.8 yards per game, tied for 12th in the league). Could that open the door for someone else in Washington’s backfield to be an option for fantasy football owners in Week 12?
Alfred Morris is clearly the top dog in the Redskins’ running back mix, with 181 carries for 918 yards and five touchdowns so far this season, but his limitations as a receiver (just three catches this season) makes him essentially a two-down back with Roy Helu taking his place in passing situations.
The 49ers enter Week 12 in the bottom half of the league against opposing running backs (16.2 fantasy points per game, ESPN scoring), and they have allowed at least 90 rushing yards to the position in five of their last six games and a touchdown to a running back in four of their last five games. San Francisco has also been fairly generous in terms of receptions (54) and receiving yards (401) allowed to running backs so far this season.
I think it’s possible Helu has an expanded overall role during Monday night’s game, with an already talent-poor skill position group for the Redskins further thinned by the injuries to Hankerson and Reed. That does not mean Morris would see fewer snaps unless the game is one-sided in favor of the 49ers, but Helu’s potential use as a multi-purpose piece makes him an intriguing flex option this week in deep PPR leagues.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.