Redskins Beat: 'Clear' that Rob Kelley is the RB1

Redskins beat writer Master Tesfatsion:

At this point, it’s clear that Rob Kelley will be the starting running back. Kelley has been the first running back to receive carries with the first team, when he’s healthy. Redskins Coach Jay Gruden’s past would also suggest that Kelley should receive most of the carries during the regular season. He started Alfred Morris over Matt Jones two years ago. Last year, Jones had the starting job despite Kelley’s impressive performance during training camp and the preseason.

Chris Thompson will still be the third-down back, so that must be accounted for as well. I would think that, just as he did two years ago, Gruden will likely roll with the hot hand between Kelley and Samaje Perine. Kelley should get most of the carries, but if Perine can get something going during a game in his limited role, I would think Gruden would stick with him until he cools off or needs a breather.

Perine has been impressive, but I’m still a fan of Kelley. They are both aggressive runners who should give the Redskins a level of physicality they didn’t consistently have last year.

Fantasy Impact: 

This positive Kelley mention comes on the heels of an earlier report that Perine was struggling with ball security and pass protection. Kelley won the RB1 job in Week 8, and from that point on, he was the #13 RB in standard (#15 in PPR) down the stretch. He averaged 4.19 YPC, which was the 14th-highest per carry average of the 27 running backs who saw at least 150 carries last year. Perine will make a hard push for the job, but it's clear that Kelley is taking his job seriously by getting leaner in the offseason. He currently sits atop the Washington depth chart, so he’s one of the cheapest starters available in early drafts.

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