Gruden could hamper Alfred Morris' fantasy impact

Gruden could hamper Alfred Morris' fantasy impact
April 1, 2014, 12:15 pm
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The final part of my Q&A with Rotoworld's Evan Silva takes an early look at Alfred Morris, Andre Roberts and the Redskins from a fantasy football -- and pre-DeSean Jackson -- perspective.  We previously discussed the Redskins' NFL Draft options and their free agency moves to date.

* CSN: You’re have feet in both the NFL and fantasy football analyst camps. The Redskins signed Andre Roberts away from the Arizona Cardinals. What are you early thoughts about the slot receiver threat as a fantasy threat in 2014?

Silva: I like Roberts better in real life than fantasy. Not entirely unlike outgoing playcaller Kyle Shanahan, Gruden has a history of scheming his No. 1 receiver open and peppering him with passing-game targets. Pierre Garcon's ascent should continue. Historically, Gruden has used rotations at No. 2 receiver, and I don't think Roberts is a special enough talent to overcome that trend and suddenly put up big box-score numbers in D.C. Roberts brings versatility and deceptive speed to the Skins' receiver corps, but I expect Garcon and Jordan Reed to be the focal points of this passing attack.

*CSN: Sticking with the fantasy angle though take this anyway you want: Do you feel any of the incumbent players are either helped or hurt by the transition from Mike Shanahan to Jay Gruden?

Silva: Gruden's background is a little bit scary for the future prospects of Alfred Morris. Gruden adheres to a pass-centric philosophy, and Morris struggles in the passing game. I don't want to minimize the impact the Shanahans' zone scheme had on Morris' production. Losing them and their run-based style of offense can only hurt the Redskins' early-down back. Gruden's in-house talent evaluation and distribution of snaps also left something to be desired in Cincinnati. He frequently played plodder BenJarvus Green-Ellis over Giovani Bernard in the backfield, and thoroughly underwhelming Mohamed Sanu over playmaker Marvin Jones. Gruden struggled to find ways to put 2013 first-round pick Tyler Eifert's talents to effective use last season. Still, Morris would be the Redskins' fantasy player I worry about most. Roy Helu is vastly superior as a receiver and blocker, and I could definitely envision a scenario where Helu's playing time rises at Alf's expense.

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