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RB changes raise Morris' fantasy stock


RB changes raise Morris' fantasy stock

Have you been sitting around trying to decipher how an injured Roy Helu and a newly signed Ryan Grant affectsthe Redskins backfield?In the world of fantasy football, there is no Da Vinci Code to crack: it'struly all about Alfred Morris now.The rookie runner's stunning rise up the depth chart from unassuming sixthround pick to weekly starter has actually moved up a notch, if possible,following the flurry of moves over the last 24 hours. Factor in a gimpy EvanRoyster (knee strain) and the word unassailable comes to mind when discussing Morris'hold on the gig. In pure fantasy terms and weekly matchup aside, the FloridaAtlantic product is a low-end RB2 with a chance for more should the Redskinsmaintain their high-scoring production. Though Tampa Bay, Washington's next opponent, rank tops in the NFL against the run thru three weeks, Morris remains a top 20 option innon-PPR (points per reception) formats.Based on last year's production, Helu figured to eventually be Morris'primary challenger for touches even if his style suggested change-of-paceoption. That might still be the case, but now that Helu has been placed oninjured reserve, it's a 2013 discussion.Royster could still suit up for against Tampa Bay in Week 4. While MikeShanahan has been known to switch lead backs on a whim - well, that's how itappears to us gamers anyway - there is little hint that he's ready to jettisonMorris out of the starting role for the ex-Penn Stater.This brings us to Grant, a former stud with the Packers, who has beenwatching from the sidelines this year after starting 14 of 15 games forGreen Bay last year. Never the most explosive runner even in his heyday, theterm plodding comes to mind when looking back on Grant's 2011 campaign, thoughhe still averaged 4.2 yards on 134 carries. Being familiar with the Redskinszone-blocking ways should help the self-described "one-cut" runner'sintroductory process.For the moment, at least until we see what the 29-year-old has left in thetank, any talk of Grant's signing should focus more on how he helps Robert GriffinIII rather than whether he's a threat to Morris' touches. The Redskins pass blocking is flawed.
One way to help the situation, add anexperienced running back trained in the art of pass protection. This was to beTim Hightower's role, but it's hard to stop ill-intentioned blitzers on oneleg. If Grant can compliment Morris - who does not have a reception this year -as a third or passing down option, that should help keep RG3's jersey clean (orat least clean-ish).For now, even handcuff-desiring fantasy owners can leave Grant on thewaiver wire; Royster and his youthful legs make for a better call if one feelscompelled to make such a move. Unless Grant shows more than just being RG3'sbackfield bodyguard or Morris' currently healthy yards per carry average starts(4.3) heading south, there is nothing for fantasy owners to see here.Well, other than Morris taking a stronger hold on the starting job.(P.S. Should Shanahan run Grant 20 times against the Bucs, this post will self-destruct)

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Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

When the Redskins won the NFC East in 2015 with a 9-7 record, most critics dismissed the division as weak. That theory was largely proved right when the Redskins got stomped at home in the first round of the playoffs by the Wild Card Green Bay Packers.

In 2016, however, the NFC East largely looked like the best division in football, or at least among the best divisions. Dallas won 13 games and took the NFC East title, the Giants won 11 and took the NFC's top Wild Card spot. The Redskins had a chance to make the playoffs in Week 17, but unceremoniously lost and fell short.

Still, Washington won eight games and Philadelphia won seven. In fact, the NFC East was the only division in the NFL without a team that lost 10 or more games. The AFC West - a division that some would argue was tougher than the NFC East - still had the Chargers and their 5-11 record.

What does it mean for 2017? If anything the only team expected to regress would be the Cowboys, and their regression could easily still have them looking to win around 10 games. 

The Eagles have improved with young, star QB Carson Wentz. New York will be interesting, as they have some age at various spots on their roster but still feature a two-time Super Bowl winning QB in Eli Manning and one of the best defenses in the NFL.

As for Washington? The defense should be much improved. It almost has to be as the 2016 version struggled significantly. If the defense can just be average (and I'd argue it could push for Top 15) the offense should continue to move the ball well. Producing in the red zone needs to look different than last season too.

The NFC East looks like a beast yet again. It would be no surprise if both NFC Wild Cards come from the division.

Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 28, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start their mandatory minicamp on June 13.


Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/27) 60
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 74
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 105

Note: I am on vacation this week in the Outer Banks. Need to Know will be a mix of new content and some of the most popular posts of 2017.

Redskins faced one of NFL’s toughest slates in 2016

(originally posted January 28)

As the Redskins came off their 2015 playoff season and looked towards 2016, one thing jumped out. Even before any games were played it looked like their path to a repeat playoff appearance would be difficult, more so than it was when they went 9-7 and took the NFC East title.

The 2015 schedule looked fairly easy when applying the eyeball test. They played just two games against teams that made the playoffs and those teams, the Patriots and Panthers, plus the Jets were the only teams they faced that finished the season with winning records.

The eyeball test was borne out by the numbers. According to the stat gurus at Football Outsiders the Redskins faced the 28th toughest schedule in terms of the DVOA of opposing defenses and the opposing offenses added up to the 24th most difficult.

The going was considerably tougher in 2016. The Redskins played seven games against teams that were in the playoff field. The defenses they faced stacked up as the toughest group of any NFL team. They played nine games against teams that finished in the top 11 in defensive DVOA. The offenses they faced were a little better than average, ranking 13th as a group.

While the Redskins’ season was widely regarded as a disappointment, it would be reasonable to say that given vastly improved quality of the competition that they did well in only having their record drop by half a game.

Of course, the goal is to be good enough to prosper and make the playoffs no matter what mix of teams the luck of the draw happens to put on the schedule. They will need to get there in a hurry. Awaiting the Redskins on their 2017 schedule are seven 2016 playoff teams plus one more that finished the year with a winning record.

The fortunes of NFL teams can’t always be predicted in advance, especially more than seven months before the season kicks off. But it’s safe to say that the 2017 slate will be challenging. If they are going to improve their record they are going to have to improve their level of play dramatically.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.