Alfred Morris Fantasy News

Gruden: Redskins RB Matt Jones has 'natural hands'

Saturday, May 16, 2015, 7:53pm

USA Today - [Full Article]

In hopes of complementing Alfred Morris with their first true big running back since Stephen Davis left after the 2002 season, the Redskins drafted Florida's 6-2, 226-pound Matt Jones in the third round this month.

"Alfred's a darn good halfback," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Saturday on the second day of Washington's three-day rookie minicamp. "In order to take carries off of him, you gotta show a lot. "So far, Matt's taken the right steps to take a little bit of the load off of Alfred (who had 85 percent of the carries by Washington's running backs the past three seasons). If you want to commit to running the football, you gotta have a couple guys that can tote it."

By hiring offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who helped make Dallas the NFL's top rushing offense in 2014, and using three of their first five draft choices on Jones, tackle Brandon Scherff, and guard Arie Kouandjio, new Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan has shown how committed the Redskins are to a power running game. McCloughan called Jones "a physical player and as tough as crud." And yet, Gruden raved about the rest of the rookie's game.

"You think of him as a big, power-type back, but Matt's done some things out in space that have been very, very impressive, making moves on the second level, in the passing game, running some option routes on linebackers," Gruden said. "He's got natural hands."

Fantasy Impact:

Jones only had 19 catches in three years at Florida, but it sounds as if he may compete for third down duties now that Roy Helu is no longer locking down that role. Morris has caught 68.5 percent of his targets, which is a higher rate than what Shane Vereen and Jamaal Charles posted last season, but he has yet to make much of an impression in the passing game.

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Washington HC Jay Gruden discusses running back by committee

Thursday, May 14, 2015, 9:24am

Real Redskins - [Full Article]

“The running game nowadays, you need to have a couple of guys that can tote it,” Redskins HC Jay Gruden told Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro on ESPN 980 earlier this week. “Sixteen games is a long time, that’s a lot of games, a lot of carries, that’s a lot of hits on these running backs.”

Gruden said that he would like to split up the carries more than he did last year, when he went with what was mostly a one-back attack. Alfred Morris had 265 rushing attempts. The other tailbacks on the roster, Roy Helu, Silas Redd, and Chris Thompson, combined for 59 rushing attempts. That is 82 percent of the carries for Morris, 18 percent for the rest.

In his three years as the offensive coordinator with the Bengals, Gruden spread the workload in different ways in different seasons. In 2012 he had BenJarvus Green-Ellis take 80 percent of the tailback rushing attempts. But in 2011 it was a 70-30 split between Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott. And in 2013 Cincinnati drafted Giovani Bernard and gave him 170 carries to 220 for Green-Ellis (that’s a 56-44 split in percentage terms).

So maybe splitting up the running back carries isn’t so much a matter of philosophy for Gruden as much as doing things the way the quality of his stable of running backs dictates. He told Sheehan and Loverro that he will see who can earn the carries that Morris won’t get.

“I think you give Alfred the bulk of [the carries] and then Matt Jones comes in there, it could be Chris Thompson, it could be Silas Redd,” he said. “We’ll see how camp goes to see who deserves the carries, who’s going to get the carries. They have to prove then can protect the ball, No. 1, and prove they can pick up blitzes, No. 2 and then they will get some carries behind Alfred.”

Fantasy Impact:

We're still expecting Morris to see the vast majority of the carries, but this is something to keep in mind if another back flashes in the preseason. In his first three seasons, Morris has finished #5, #14 and #13 in standard formats. He's more of a RB2 in PPR leagues (#7, #19, #17) since he has only averaged 0.8 receptions per game in his career. Bill Callahan's arrival (as offensive line coach) should help the effectiveness of the team's running game, which in turn will help Morris's fantasy production. He's a solid value and a safe pick in the 3rd/4th round of early PPR drafts. He should go in the 2nd/3rd in standard leagues.

Gruden: Alfred Morris 'won't be affected' by Matt Jones

Monday, May 4, 2015, 12:43pm

CSN Washington - [Full Article]

When the Redskins added running back Matt Jones in the third round there naturally were questions about what that means for the future of incumbent back Alfred Morris.

“Alfred won’t be affected,” said Jay Gruden soon after the team handed in the card with Jones’ name on it. “Alfred’s still the running back here. He’s had three great seasons and that won’t change, but to add another guy that can come in here and pound the rock a little bit doesn’t hurt anything. It’ll help Alfred in that regard taking some carries off of him, but for the most part, Alfred will be getting the bulk of the carries and Matt will get some too, obviously.”

Fantasy Impact:

Of course Morris will be affected by Jones, but Gruden's attempt to minimize the impact is encouraging for Morris owners. Jones could see a few more carries than Roy Helu did -- Helu had 40 carries in 14 games last season -- though Morris could see a bit of Helu's workload (42 catches) in the passing game. This would boost Morris's value in PPR leagues, though we've been waiting for Morris to get an expanded receiving role for a few years now. Don't count on it.

Gruden: RB Alfred Morris 'will be happy' under new O-line coach Bill Callahan

Monday, March 30, 2015, 12:40pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Bill Callahan, the Redskins’ new offensive line coach, will be in charge of the run game, as he was in Dallas last season. In Jay Gruden’s first year, the Redskins used a lot of zone runs while also calling power runs, more so than they had under previous coach Mike Shanahan.

Callahan’s arrival signals a change.

“Obviously his staple is being a great line coach, a physical line coach,” Gruden said. “And the running game he brings is more a physical, downhill approach that we employed some last year, but not as many as we could. Part of that is because of the type of linemen we have. We have to adjust our running game to the style we want to be, but we have to make sure we have the linemen in the building to do what we want to do.”

That also means changes for running back Alfred Morris. But Gruden said they won’t be tough for him. The sense is that Washington will run the ball more next season after doing so only 401 times last season (league average: 428, according to ESPN Stats & Information). Some of that stemmed from game situations; some stemmed from wanting to throw more than they should.

“If you’re a running back, you want to play for Coach Callahan because he likes to run the ball a lot,” Gruden said. “Alfred will be happy. There will be some different styles of runs for him, so for the most part, Alfred’s got great vision and did a great job protecting the football last year, so I think Alfred will be happy with some of the changes.”

Fantasy Impact:

In his first three seasons, Morris has finished #5, #14 and #13 in standard formats. He's more of a RB2 in PPR leagues (#7, #19, #17) since he has only averaged 0.8 receptions per game in his career. Callahan's arrival should help the effectiveness of the team's running game, which in turn will help Morris's fantasy production. He's a good value and a safe pick in the 5th round of early PPR drafts.

Falcons cut RB Steven Jackson; Devonta Freeman ready for bigger role

Friday, February 27, 2015, 10:37am

Adam Schefter, Twitter - [Full Article]

Falcons released RB Steven Jackson, per source.

Fantasy Impact:

Looking at the running back position, Kyle Shanahan presided over three stellar fantasy seasons in his seven years as an offensive coordinator. In 2008, while Shanny was the OC of the Texans, Steve Slaton turned 327 touches (50 receptions) into 1,659 yards and 10 touchdowns. (Slaton averaged 77.6 total yards on 15.9 touches in 2009.) In 2012, rookie Alfred Morris racked up 1,690 total yards and 13 touchdowns. He followed it up with 1,353 total yards and seven scores in 2013. Shanahan even coaxed 86.7 total yards (on 18.2 touches) from Ryan Torain in 2010 and 67.9 yards on 13.3 touches from Roy Helu in 2011. Freeman wasn't terribly impressive in his rookie season (248 yards rushing, 3.8 YPC), but he was active and effective in the passing game (30 catches for 225 yards), so a Slaton-esque season isn't out of the realm of possibility. With Jackson out of the way, GM Thomas Dimitroff said that there was “no question” that Freeman is ready to be the feature back in Atlanta.

Falcons GM believes Devonta Freeman is capable of a featured role

Thursday, February 19, 2015, 8:51pm

Vaughn McClure, Twitter - [Full Article]

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said Devonta Freeman can be the team's featured back.

Fantasy Impact:

Looking at the running back position, new OC Kyle Shanahan presided over three stellar fantasy seasons in his seven years as an offensive coordinator. In 2008, while Shanny was the OC of the Texans, Steve Slaton turned 327 touches (50 receptions) into 1,659 yards and 10 touchdowns. (Slaton averaged 77.6 total yards on 15.9 touches in 2009.) In 2012, rookie Alfred Morris racked up 1,690 total yards and 13 touchdowns. He followed it up with 1,353 total yards and seven scores in 2013. Shanahan even coaxed 86.7 total yards (on 18.2 touches) from Ryan Torain in 2010 and 67.9 yards on 13.3 touches from Roy Helu in 2011. Freeman wasn't terribly impressive as a runner in his rookie season (248 yards rushing, 3.8 YPC), but he was active and effective in the passing game (30 catches for 225 yards), so a Slaton-esque season isn't out of the realm of possibility. If the Falcons stand pat at running back, he'll have some middle round appeal, assuming his role looks to be bigger than Steven Jackson's.

Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan 'loved' Devonta Freeman prior to 2014 Draft

Tuesday, February 10, 2015, 2:09pm

Jay Adams, Twitter - [Full Article]

Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan said he loved Devonta Freeman last year coming out of college. He’s still evaluating offensive talent on roster here.

Fantasy Impact:

Looking at the running back position, Shanahan presided over three stellar fantasy seasons in his seven years as an offensive coordinator. In 2008, while Shanny was the OC of the Texans, Steve Slaton turned 327 touches (50 receptions) into 1,659 yards and 10 touchdowns. (Slaton averaged 77.6 total yards on 15.9 touches in 2009.) In 2012, rookie Alfred Morris racked up 1,690 total yards and 13 touchdowns. He followed it up with 1,353 total yards and seven scores in 2013. Shanahan even coaxed 86.7 total yards (on 18.2 touches) from Ryan Torain in 2010 and 67.9 yards on 13.3 touches from Roy Helu in 2011. Freeman wasn't terribly impressive in his rookie season (248 yards rushing, 3.8 YPC), but he was active and effective in the passing game (30 catches for 225 yards), so a Slaton-esque season isn't out of the realm of possibility. If the Falcons stand pat at running back, he'll have some middle round appeal, assuming his role looks to be bigger than Steven Jackson's.

Friday, December 12, 2014, 6:26pm

Redskins RB Roy Helu (toe, out) took limited practice reps again Friday and is out for Week 15. Alfred Morris could see some extra work on passing downs with Helu out.

Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) cleared to play in Week 14

Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 8:34pm

Fox Sports - [Full Article]

Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray has been cleared to play this week against San Francisco after missing the previous game with a concussion.

Murray was officially cleared Tuesday morning and was back at practice on Wednesday as the Raiders (1-11) prepare to face the rival 49ers (7-5) on Sunday in Oakland.

Fantasy Impact:

Murray should take over the top spot in the Raiders' backfield after the 171 yards and two touchdown he produced on 11 touches in his last two games, but HC Tony Sparano has already said that he won't use Murray as a "workhorse" back, per Alex Marvez of Fox Sports. On paper, Murray's matchup with the 49ers is a tough one, though San Francisco has yielded over 5.0 YPC to Marshawn Lynch and Alfred Morris in the last two games.

Return of RG3 sparks Washington run game

Monday, November 3, 2014, 9:27am

Washington Post - [Full Article]

The return of Redskins QB Robert Griffin III on Sunday against Minnesota created a few more opportunities for running back Alfred Morris, bringing him closer to replicating the productivity of his first two seasons — something he’s yet to truly do under Coach Jay Gruden.

Morris rushed for a season-high 92 yards on 19 carries and accounted for two of Washington’s touchdowns in the 29-26 loss at Minnesota.

“Defenses have to honor Robert because he can run, and he’s more of a threat on the ground as opposed to some of the quarterbacks we have, so you have to honor him,” Morris said in the locker room afterward. “He’s one of those guys that can open up some things for you.”

Fantasy Impact:

Morris has struggled most of this season which is unlike the back who has been very consistent throughout his short career when RG3 is under center. The hope for Morris owners is these type of performances now continue with Griffin back from his ankle injury. Morris likely isn't going to be a factor in the passing game, but is certainly capable of high end RB2 numbers.

Gruden: Redskins RB Alfred Morris is 'still a force'

Thursday, October 30, 2014, 12:04pm

Real Redskins - [Full Article]

Although Alfred Morris is having an off year, HC Jay Gruden still has confidence in him. “Well, I think from an expectation level, I think we all expected him to have probably more yards, more touchdowns and that’s a combination of things—not getting as many looks, me not calling enough runs, maybe,” he said. “Like I said, in the running game, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong. But he is where he is. He’s still a force.”

Fantasy Impact:

Fantasy-wise, Morris is having a solid year. He's the #14 RB in standard formats and is #17 in PPR leagues. He has a nice set of matchups in the fantasy playoffs against the Giants in Week 15 and the Eagles in Week 16.

Week 8 MNF Injury Report - Robert Griffin III QUESTIONABLE

Saturday, October 25, 2014, 5:00pm

Redskins
QUESTIONABLE
QB Robert Griffin (ankle), CB Tracy Porter (hamstring)

PROBABLE
DE Chris Baker (thigh), S Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder), RB Alfred Morris (ankle), T Tyler Polumbus (knee), LB Perry Riley (knee), T Trent Williams (knee)

Cowboys
OUT
DE Jack Crawford (calf)

PROBABLE
WR Dez Bryant (shoulder), LB Bruce Carter (thigh), T Doug Free (foot), S Jakar Hamilton (not injury related), T Jermey Parnell (chest), QB Tony Romo (back), DE Anthony Spencer (knee, foot)

Fantasy Impact:

RGIII is questionable and was limited at practice all week. The team said they are preparing as of Colt McCoy is starting, but leaving open the possibility Griffin will play. Seems like a longshot, and owners shouldn't count on him. On top of those risks, the Cowboys defense has been playing well this year so it's not a great matchup for Washington on the road.

Also of note, Cowboys WR Dez Bryant and QB Tony Romo are considered probable, as is Washington RB Alfred Morris. All are expected to play and it's especially a great matchup for Bryant and Romo.

Friday, October 24, 2014, 6:26pm

Redskins RB Alfred Morris (ankle) took full practice reps again Friday. Morris played through the injury in Week 7, so he should be fine for Monday night.

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm

Redskins RB Alfred Morris (ankle) took full practice reps Thursday. Morris played through the injury in Week 7, so he should be fine for Monday night.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 1:46pm

CSN Washington - [Full Article]

According to Redskins beat writers from CSN Washington, HC Jay Gruden seems to be losing his patience with the stagnant running game.

“Where do you want me to start?” he said Monday, asked what’s wrong with the ground attack.

But after saying Alfred Morris has missed some cutback opportunities in addition to numerous other systemic breakdowns, Gruden also gave Morris a vote of confidence, saying, “We still like Alfred. We still feel like he’s going to carry us to where we need to go.”

So it doesn’t sound to me like making a change is even in the discussion.

Fantasy Impact:

The normally consistent Morris has been anything but this year. It's a similar situation where LeSean McCoy is struggling but Darren Sproles has fewer carries but a higher yards per carry average. The same can be said for Roy Helu and Morris in Washington. Helu's carries are far and few between, but he's performing better behind a bad offensive line. The schedule does ease for the short term so we'll see if the team can get some momentum in the running game. The possible return of Robert Griffin III at QB could also help.

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