Alfred Morris Fantasy Mystery

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Published: September 14, 2012

Hidden underneath Washington’s Robert Griffith III’s spectacular opening day was another Redskins’ offensive performance that have made for a hot waiver wire pick up. Running back Alfred Morris grabbed at least a little bit of RG3’s thunder after they went on the road and beat the New Orleans Saints 40-32.

Morris carried the ball 28 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns. His day was the sixth best rushing day on Week One and his two touchdowns were tied for first. Now that everyone knows his name, is Morris worth a roster spot and a possible start?

Mike Shanahan

Before you rush out to pluck Morris off the waiver wire and throw him into your lineup you should consider a few things before putting long term faith in the Florida Atlantic rookie.

Anyone who has played fantasy football knows Morris’ head coach is a notorious fantasy football running back killer – Mike Shanahan. Starting all the way back in 1988 – Shanahan’s first year as a head coach he split his running back’s carries. Both Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen had over 130 carries and neither hit double digits for touchdowns. Jackson of course only played half a year, but it started a disturbing trend for Shanahan’s running backs. Unless he had a big name – AKA Terrell Davis or Clinton Portis – Shanahan has used a committee approach with his runners.

Shanahan has a group of non-descript runners again this year. History says Shanahan is going to keep the Redskins’ backfield in constant flux with a different runner highlighted nearly every week. Even if Morris ends up being the main back, other backs a sure to get plenty of time carrying the rock.

If you think Morris has a chance to become one of the few Shanahan featured runners for an entire season you might want to take a closer look at the rookie’s production in Week One. Twenty eight carries for ninety six yards is only a 3.4 yards per carry average. That is not going to get it done long term for any team.

That 3.4 yard per carry average was racked up against a Saints’ defense that ranked next to last in average yards rushing given up per attempt in 2011. To make matters worse, that paltry average was done against a bad defense whose coaching staff is in disarray. It was done against a defense that didn’t have its best player – Jonathan Vilma.

Will Morris end up being a great pick up and continue on a path toward double digit touchdowns and a thousand yard season? It is possible, but based on his Week One performance I am not buying the hype.

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