Alfred Morris Fantasy News

Sunday, July 5, 2015, 10:12am

ESPN - [Full Article]

Redskins beat writer John Keim answered a question about Alfred Morris continuing to be the Redskins RB1.

Keim: As of now I'd lean toward Alfred Morris being the starter. That's because I haven't seen any proof that Matt Jones will develop into that guy. I also believe Morris will remain productive. After talking to people in the NFL, it's not as if everyone loved Jones and some rated him well below the third round. His game action from Florida was mixed, though I do think he can be a bigger threat on third down than he was at Florida. Jones has the size coaches love and he's shifty so he has a chance. But before I start thinking about discarding Morris I want to see what Jones can do.

Fantasy Impact:

Morris ranks 15th on our RB list and continues to be a nice RB2 option for fantasy owners. He continues to be limited by his use in the passing game. Even with Roy Helu out of the picture, we figure on Jones getting more receptions than Morris.

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Redskins RB Matt Jones in line for third-down duties

Wednesday, July 1, 2015, 11:19am

CSN Washington - [Full Article]

Redskins beat writers Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler discussed the candidates to replace Roy Helu as the team's third-down back.

Tandler: If [Chris Thompson] stays healthy he is definitely a threat to get the job but I’m putting my hypothetical money on [Matt Jones]. I think that Jay Gruden and company think that they might have quite an unusual weapon in the rookie and they will give him a shot to see what he can do.

El-Bashir: After getting a good look at Jones in OTAs and minicamp, I’m now expecting the Florida product to end up as a direct replacement for Helu, meaning he’ll occasionally spell Morris and fill the role of third down running back.

Fantasy Impact:

Helu finished the season as the #31 RB in PPR formats, and that was with Alfred Morris playing a full season. It's possible that Jones will post RB3 numbers in PPR leagues as Morris's direct backup and Washington's third-down back.

Skins want to 'ground-and-pound' to open up pass

Monday, June 29, 2015, 8:54pm

USA Today - [Full Article]

This make-or-break season for the Washington Redskins is all about quarterback Robert Griffin III taking the next step in coach Jay Gruden's quick-rhythm passing offense.

To help RG3 improve as a more conventional pocket passer, consider new general manager Scot McCloughan's first draft a throwback nod to the Redskins' championship past. McCloughan focused on making the team bigger, tougher and stronger in the trenches, beginning with the fifth overall pick, Iowa's Brandon Scherff, who will start at right tackle. Then McCloughan, who places a premium on building through the draft, added fourth-round guard Arie Kouandjio and seventh-round center Austin Reiter.

In a need-based draft, McCloughan gave RG3 everything he needed to improve.

Think of the 2015 Redskins as The Hogs 2.0 (they can only hope) after McCloughan infused the offensive line with the same smash-mouth mentality that helped the Joe Gibbs-coached Redskins win three Super Bowls behind blockers like Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic and Russ Grimm.

"Just get back to the old days — the ground-and-pound football, which will open up the passing lanes," 6-5, 319-pound Scherff said. "I think that's what they want to start doing, and that's what we will start doing from Day 1."

"We want to be able to run the football. It sets up everything else for us," said McCloughan, who seemed to have a solid, meat-and-potatoes first draft. Scherff and second-round pass rusher Preston Smith project as immediate starters."

Fantasy Impact:

McCloughan's picks gave new offensive line coach Bill Callahan the resources to revamp a leaky group that also allowed 58 sacks last season. Couple that with a successful running game, and it should take pressure off RGIII. Unfortunately, that game plan won't necessarily make for great fantasy QB production, and Griffin comes in 20th in our rankings. But it could be good news for RB Alfred Morris, who once again shapes up to be a safe RB2 option in the third or fourth rounds of fantasy drafts.

Redskins Beat: RB Matt Jones slated for a third-down role

Monday, June 22, 2015, 12:40pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Redskins beat writer John Keim on the team's backfield split:

Last season Alfred Morris took 66 percent of the Redskins' 401 carries. And in his first three seasons with Washington, Morris took 64 percent. That's a good number for him, and if he's running well then I'd expect that to continue. I think the other part is that we don't know how well Matt Jones will run the ball in the NFL. If he's running well, then I could see him getting a handful of carries per game. Regardless, he'll have a role as a third-down back. Also, if the Redskins are as committed to the run as they say, then they should have at least 50 more carries than last season's total of 401. That won't change the percentage, but it would mean more chances for both. Another factor is how often they use the zone-read option. If it's less of a factor, then that's more carries for Morris/Jones to split.

Fantasy Impact:

Morris should continue to be a fringe RB1 in standard formats and a solid RB2 in PPR leagues. It sounds like Jones will take over the role vacated by Roy Helu.

Redskins Beat: RB Matt Jones with the first unit 'early and often,' team has 'major expectations'

Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 11:08pm

Real Redskins - [Full Article]

Redskins beat writer Rich Tandler:

Matt Jones was on the field with the first unit early and often. I think they have major expectations for the rookie.

Fantasy Impact:

Jones is likely to take over third down duties now that Roy Helu is gone. Alfred Morris should continue to see the bulk of the early down carries.

Redskins Beat: Alfred Morris will 'continue as the workhorse back'

Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 3:08pm

Washington Post - [Full Article]

Redskins beat writer Mike Jones on the team's running backs, Alfred Morris and Matt Jones:

If things hold true throughout training camp, then I’d expect to see Morris continue as the workhorse back. Coaches will most likely use Jones to give Morris a breather here in there, or both on short-yardage situations, and on third downs.

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. Bill Callahan's arrival (as offensive line coach) should boost 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.

Alfred Morris believes he'll be 'better' in new power-running scheme

Thursday, May 28, 2015, 3:27pm

Washington Redskins - [Full Article]

The Redskins are expected to transition into more of a power-running scheme in 2015 under new offensive line coach Bill Callahan.

"I feel I'm better at downhill plays anyway," Alfred Morris told ESPN.com’s John Keim earlier this week. "You know what's coming. It's a knockout, drag-out style of play. I don't shy away from contact. It's right up my alley. I thoroughly enjoy it."

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. 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, though rookie Matt Jones may have something to say about that.

Redskins RB Matt Jones slated for third-down duties

Sunday, May 24, 2015, 10:13am

NESN - [Full Article]

Redskins beat writers Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir on the team's running back situation:

Tandler: The change from the zone-blocking scheme that Alfred Morris rode to over 3,600 yards rushing over the last three years to more of a power scheme represents a change that Morris needs to start to figure out. The coaches seem to be confident that he can make the adjustment but learning to hit the hole as opposed to looking for a crease, planning a foot, and cutting will take some time. The Redskins could be trying to make one of the biggest third-down backs in the league out of rookie Matt Jones. He will spend a lot of time catching passes and doing what he can to master pass protection, although the real work on blocking will have to wait until the pads go on in Richmond in July.

El-Bashir: My gut tells me Jones is going to have a bigger role in 2015 than some are anticipating. Sure, Morris is the starter. But Jones is big, powerful and, most important, has good enough hands to be a threat out of the backfield. The question right now is how quickly can he grasp the playbook?

Fantasy Impact:

Morris has worked on his pass-catching skills but hasn't had much of an opportunity to shine in that area. If Jones wins the job, Morris will continue to be a dicey week-to-week play in PPR formats.

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.

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.

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