RB Roy Helu, Free agent
HT: 6-0, WT: 219, Born: 12-6-1988, College: Nebraska, Drafted: Round 4
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Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]Overall: C Fleener (193), Roy Helu (195), R Hillman (197)
Position: D McCluster (185-RB59), D Brown (191-RB60), Roy Helu (195 - RB61), R Hillman (197-RB62), C Anderson (208-RB63)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: R Hillman (189), Roy Helu (191), C Fleener (192), K Thompkins (193)
Position: J Starks (183-RB59), R Hillman (189-RB60), Roy Helu (191 - RB61), D Brown (198-RB62), J Rodgers (201-RB63)
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Redskins coach Jay Gruden was a proponent of running back-by-committee while calling plays in Cincinnati. That offers a hope that Helu can retain some modest fantasy value this year even if Alfred Morris stays healthy. Helu has a career 87 receptions for 675 yards and seemingly fits well into the 3rd down role. That said, Helu will need to earn his role in training camp as the Redskins have 2013 fifth-round pick Chris Thompson and 2014 sixth-round pick Lache Seastrunk, who are both more explosive than Helu.
2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - In a scenario where the Redskins had their backs to the wall for most of the contest, Helu's snap count was likely elevated in a manner that few expected. With Alfred Morris fumbling once and dropping a pitch from Griffin in the Redskins' end zone - not to mention, obviously that the Redskins trailed for a majority of the tilt - the Redskins turned to Helu to steady the backfield while they played catch-up. While Helu occassionally leaked out of the backfield on screen pass routes or split out wide when the Redskins emptied the backfield, Shanahan and son primarily employed him for his blitz pickup acumen. The Philadelphia defense's gameplan seemed to be to bury Griffin under the shoddy FedEx Field turf, and Helu did well to keep Washington's star player upright and in the game. The third-year back did rip off the Redskins' most impressive run of the evening on a draw play that featured his quick feet, burst, and closing speed. Unfortunately, the twenty-yard scamper got called back on a holding penalty by the Redskins. With a more reliable set of hands than Alfred Morris and the Redskins' desire to keep Robert Griffin upright, it stands to reason that Helu will see his fair share of snaps in the future.
Week 3 - Helu's snap count through three weeks of the season always increases as the game unfolds and the Redskins are down by multiple scores. His key play of the game came deep in the Detroit red zone, with the Redskins down ten in the fourth quarter. Snagging a pass out of the backfield, he shook off multiple Lions defensive players before getting tackled at the Detroit three-yard-line. There is certainly plenty of juice to Helu's overall game and he remains the Redskins' best pass-catching back. As long as Washington remains in the red each week, Helu should see plenty of garbage time playing catch-up.
Week 4 - Helu took control of the Redskins' backfield when Alfred Morris exited the game with a rib injury. Producing eighty-four yards from scrimmage on fifteen touches, Helu spelled Morris nicely in a lead role. The Nebraska product had the two most splashy plays of the Redskins offense against Oakland, and they came back-to-back. First, Helu caught a strike from Robert Griffin III on the run and rumbled toward the Raiders' end zone, managing to actually hurdle over one defender for a twenty-eight yard gain. His catch-and-run set up the Redskins inside the Raiders' red zone, where Helu took the ball to the house, slipping through several Oakland tacklers. The Redskins called on Helu to close out their first victory, and he helped Washington run out the clock in the ground game. Helu might back up Alfred Morris, but he certainly has the running ability - the wiggle, burst, cutting ability, second gear, what-have-you, to fill in for Morris should he go down for any period of time. Helu certainly also has the better receiving ability of the two halfbacks. Morris' rib injury is supposedly not serious, and with the Redskins on a bye in Week Five, Helu's touches could be limited when the Redskins face off against Dallas in Week Six.
Week 6 - Helu continues to carve out touches in the Redskins' backfield, though Alfred Morris is the team's bell cow, due to Helu's versatility. Helu accumulated over seventy yards from scrimmage as a halfback and receiver out the backfield, slot, and lining out wide. He was the Redskins' primary halfback in the fourth quarter as they played catch-up against the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Helu ran tough when necessary, including a physical two-yard run on third-and-two in the third quarter and two big fifteen-plus yard scampers in garbage time. He also did well catching balls in several formations, and continues to be a valuable pass catcher, an area where Alfred Morris struggles. It would not surprise if Helu's snap count continues to increase based on his receiving ability and underrated running ability.
Week 7 - When fantasy football managers start Bears running back Matt Forte, they expect Forte to find the end zone every game. When Forte finds the end zone multiple times, they are pleasantly surprised and pleased. When fantasy football owners start Redskins RB2 Roy Helu,Jr., they just want Helu to get what he can get with the limited snaps he is afforded. Indeed, much to the delight of Redskins fans and those bold souls that started Roy Helu, Jr against the Bears, they were treated to an absolutel scoring bonanza. Helu matched Forte's three touchdowns, including two scores inside Chicago's five-yard-line. Helu's first score was easily the most electrifying, a fourteen-yard gallop where he exhibited tremendous patience waiting for a hole from the offensive line, then shot the gap to the second level to reach the end zone. Helu's second and third touchdowns were shorter scores, but still required patience in following blockers to see running lanes develop. His last touchdown came with forty-five seconds on the clock to give Washington the lead in a wild game that featured over eighty points scored. Helu carried the ball half as many times as lead back Alfred Morris, but he anchored the rushing attack as well as any other ball carrier for the Redskins. Helu missed the 2012 season due to injury, and the Redskins led the NFL in rushing last season. If he stays healthy in 2013, the Redskins have a chance to lead the league on the ground again.
Week 8 - Helu bested Alfred Morris in the snap count department, but underwhelmed performance-wise facing the Bronco. He found it tough to manuever against a solid Broncos front seven, gaining slightly above two yards per carry on five carries. Helu caught only one pass from Robert Griffin III, as Griffin preferred to take shots downfield instead of targeting the steady Helu. It should not surprise that Helu's touch count was limited after his three-touchdown explosion against the Bears, given the Redskins' preference to run Morris on early downs.
Week 10 - Helu got his typical snaps as Washington's third down/change-of-pace halfback on the road facing the Vikings. He saw only two carries to Morris' twenty-six, but dominated the backfield touches in the fourth quarter. It was Helu, and not Morris, oddly enough, who received a carry on first-and-goal in Minnesota territory. He also received a handful of targets on designed screen pass plays. The Redskins seem committed to Helu in his current role, though his goal line usage remains a source of frustration to Redskins fans and fantasy owners of Alfred Morris. Still, Helu receiving carries, even in the red zone, is Washington's attempt at deceiving the defenses of opponents, lest the Redskins telegraph their plays out of the backfield in the style of Mathews and Woodhead on the Chargers.
Week 11 - Helu progressively saw more of the field the further the Redskins fell behind in Philadelphia, employed in his usual role as the Redskins' third down/hurry-up halfback. He broke off his longest run of the 2013 season, a twenty-four yard jaunt up the right sideline that set up the Redskins in the Philadelphia red zone off third-and-one. Helu also fumbled a dump-off pass from Robert Griffin III that the Redskins were able to recover and retain possession. Helu's touches were limited in this game based on game situation, but seem limited regardless, as the Redskins wish to give Alfred Morris a supermajority of the carries on run plays.
Week 12 - oddly enough, every Redskins runner accumulated the same yards per carry - a little north of three-and-a-half - and the same long run of twelve yards. Helu's long run came right between the tackles on the Redskins' fourth series, shredding a usually sturdy Forty Niners run defense. Washington's usage of Helu continues to perplex audiences. Early in the third quarter, the Redskins elected to have Helu run for a first down on a key fourth-and-two, which he was unable to attain. As goes the Redskins (unintentional) game script, Helu saw more of the field as San Francisco widened its lead in the third quarter, his skillset more suited to the Redskins' catch-up offense.
Week 13 - Helu recorded his usual handful of touches and encountered difficulty running against the Giants on Sunday night. He looked fairly spry as a receiver, often splitting out wide, and he even tallied a twenty-yard catch-and-run at one point, Washington's longest play through the air. He continues to fill his niche role as the Redskins' third down/fourth-quarter comeback running back.
Week 14 - Despite Washington's massive deficit after the first half, Helu saw his fewest touches since Week Two against the Packers. The Redskins asked little of Helu aside from pass protection, though Kirk Cousins looked his way on several unsuccessful flat and out routes. Like the early down back Alfred Morris, Helu's usage is context-dependent, though with the Redskins unable to prevent opposing offenses, defenses, or special teams from scoring, Helu will continue to see a fair amount of snaps as the Redskins often play in catch-up mode.
Week 15 - Helu had little impact facing the Falcons, accumulating four touches and nine total yards from scrimmage.
Week 16 - Helu notched one carry for negative yardage and caught two passes for five yards. Unlike games past, he did not see many snaps in the red zone and had his touches greatly reduced from earlier in the season.
Week 17 - Helu had his customary handful of touches in New York during Week Seventeen. Once again, the Redskins elected to use him instead of Alfred Morris on a critical fourth-and-one situation in the fourth quarter in New York territory, and the Giants stopped him. Helu's other meaningful touches involved a fumble - which he recovered - and a nineteen-yard scamper on a third-and-ten draw play. Alfred Morris will likely accumulate most of the running back touches in 2014 for the Redskins, but Helu will continue to spell him out of the backfield. With the newly announced vacancy for the head coaching job in Washington, it remains to be seen if Helu's usage will be as puzzling next season as it was during 2013.