RB Alfred Morris, Dallas Cowboys
HT: 5-9, WT: 222, Born: 12-12-1988, College: Florida Atlantic, Drafted: Round 6
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Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]Overall: D Martin (23), A Jeffery (24), Alfred Morris (25), A Brown (26), Z Stacy (27)
Position: L Bell (21-RB11), D Martin (23-RB12), Alfred Morris (25 - RB13), Z Stacy (27-RB14), A Ellington (31-RB15)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: A Ellington (28), J Thomas (29), Alfred Morris (30), Z Stacy (31), R Bush (32)
Position: D Martin (25-RB12), A Ellington (28-RB13), Alfred Morris (30 - RB14), Z Stacy (31-RB15), R Bush (32-RB16)
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Alfred Morris is likely to be one of the more controversial fantasy RBs to analyze this year. Supporters will note Morris is coming off a solid 1,275 yard season where he averaged 4.6 yards per carry. Detractors will point out Morris' non-existent role in the passing game (20 receptions in 32 starts). The real question is how Morris' role changes under new head coach Jay Gruden. Morris thrived in Mike Shanahan's one-cut-and-go zone blocking scheme, but will be asked to run out of a more conventional blocking schemed this season. It's unclear whether Morris will be the bell cow we've come to view him as; and without a heavy workload it will be difficult to justify a 2nd or 3rd round pick for 3rd year tailback.
|1||San Francisco 49ers|
|2||at Tennessee Titans|
|3||at St. Louis Rams|
|4||New Orleans Saints|
|6||at Seattle Seahawks|
|7||New York Giants|
|10||at Jacksonville Jaguars|
|12||at New York Giants|
|14||at Chicago Bears|
|15||at Philadelphia Eagles|
|17||at Washington Redskins|
|19||at Green Bay Packers|
2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Morris received the lion's share of carries in the Washington backfield, but a surprisingly stout Eagles run defense - buoyed by their constant blitzing - gave the sophomore halfback little running room. Washington being down 33-7 in the third quarter also forced Morris off the field for a sizable amount of the second half, as the Redskins had to run their two-minute offense. It was a forgettable season opener for Morris, who fumbled on his first carry of the game, and dropped a high pitch from Griffin in the Redskins' end zone for an Eagles safety. Redskins fans and fantasy owners alike searching for a silver lining should take solace in the fact that Morris did take it to the house for a five-yard score towards the end of the third quarter on a sleek, slow-developing cutback run. The holes and creases the Redskins offensive line provided Morris were fairly wide, and Morris had no trouble hitting them hard and bursting forward. As the game wore on and the Redskins trailed further and further from Philadelphia, Morris, as previously mentioned, simply did not see much of the field.
Week 2 - Down by thirty-one midway through the third quarter, the Redskins were by and large forced to abandon the run, but Morris still got his against Green Bay. Twice, the sophomore tailback ripped off runs of thirty-two yards, eclipsing the century mark for the first time this season. Morris ran with determination and patience, rarely pressing forward unless he saw a hole opening up through the line. His longer runs were a great showcase for his second level, as he shook off defenders to gain extra yardage. Morris also added two catches, much to the surprise of Redskins fans and fantasy owners, but they were of the checkdown-pass variety. Unfortunately, it stands to reason that if Washington continues to trail, Morris will not see as much of the field, ceding passing-down and hurry-up snaps to Roy Helu, Jr.
Week 3 - Morris continues to do well with the limited opportunities he is afforded, based on the porous nature of the Redskins defense. With Washington repeatedly down in each game of the season thus far - and the game against the Lions, while relatively close, was still no exception - Morris did not see much of the field with the Redskins in pass-heavy catch-up mode. When the Redskins called Morris' number, he was terrific, essentially as advertised through his short career. Averaging nearly five yards a carry, he ran patiently behind blockers, tough through the serviceable holes creating by the Redskins' zone-blocking scheme, and showcased a terrific wiggle for a man of his size. Morris did gallop to the end zone for Washington's lone offensive touchdown of the afternoon - a thirty-yard run to the right created by a terrific block from wide receiver Josh Morgan - where Morris displayed a fine second gear in his motor, sprinting ahead of the Lions defenders that managed to nearly catch up to him. Additionally, to his credit, Morris provided terrific pass protection for Robert Griffin III on a pass to Logan Paulsen. With the pocket collapsing on first-and-ten on the Redskins' second offensive series, Morris lit up a blitzing Lions' defensive lineman to keep his quarterback upright. This sort of effort on passing plays will help keep him in the game, at least early on, though if Morris does not manage to improve his hands on pass plays out of the backfield, Roy Helu will see more of the field, and Redskins fans and fantasy owners will see less of Morris.
Week 4 - Morris carried the ball a season-high sixteen times (which is impressive given how the Redskins have trailed in every contest in 2013) against an unimposing Raiders run defense, and actually turned in one of his least impressive games of the young season. Before exiting the game with a rib injury - postgame reports indicated he would be avaialble for Washington's Week Six tilt against the Cowboys - Morris did a lot of pile-moving, single-digit runs. The infield and outfield at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum actually made for some tough sledding - many players left the field with an injury during the course of the game - and Morris could not seem to cut and run in the battered O.Co turf. Patient as ever behind blockers and courageous in the face of tackling linemen, Morris still ran with determination and skill, but the results were not there in the box score.
Week 6 - Morris averaged five yards per carry against the Cowboys and showed no signs of the rib injury he suffered against the Raiders. However, the majority of Morris' yardage came on a forty-five yard touchdown gallop where he slipped through a tight hole created by the Redskins offensive line. Breaking two tackles, Morris breezed into the Cowboys's end zone for the Redskins' only touchdown on Sunday Night Football. Save the big touchdown run, Morris found himself bottled up many times by the Cowboys' patchwork defensive line, and looked rather ordinary - though still his defender-dragging self. What is worth mentioning from Morris' performance against Dallas was a critical drop on first-and-goal in the Cowboys' red zone. Robert Griffin III's touch pass richocheted off Morris' hands and hit the turf. It was his only target of the night. This drop probably contributed to Roy Helu, Jr. dominating the snap count out of the backfield in the fourth quarter on Sunday night.
Week 7 - The Redskins ran the ball an astounding forty-three times against the Bears, and Morris accounted for nearly half of Washington's rushing yards in Week Seven. While the Bears were unusually banged-up on defense, Chicago routinely sold out to stop Morris, tackling him at or behind the line of scrimmage on five of his nineteen carries. However, Morris also broke runs of ten-plus yards three times against Chicago, including a twenty-one yard tackle-dragging scamper. Morris' shorter gains deserve credit in this space. Chicago stacked the box in order to stop him, and often had him dead-to-rights, but Morris refused to submit on any carry. Faced with no holes to cut through, he carried defenders along to generate positive yardage. Morris's nineteen carries were a season high for the sophomore halfback, though it was a bit unusual to see Washington elect to use Helu to punch in scores twice inside the five-yard-line of the Bears. It should also be noted that Washington used Morris exclusively as a ball carrier against the Bears, a likely response to the swing pass Morris dropped in Week Six against the Cowboys - a probable scoring play. In any case, with Robert Griffin III getting very close to his 2012 form, Morris stands to benefit, and should crack the century mark again in the coming weeks.
Week 8 - After Roy Helu, Jr. ran in three touchdowns against the Bears at home, Morris appeared in line for a big week facing the Broncos given that he was Washington's squeaky wheel on offense. Morris delivered another solid box score, a sixth-straight game of seventy-plus yards on the ground. The Redskins' offensive line gave Morris both gaping holes and narrow gaps, and Morris had no difficulties fitting through either. The second-year halfback was a load to tackle in the open field, and ran over defenders on an easy score from one yard out, in the third quarter, giving Washington a two-touchdown lead. Yet the Redskins sapped their star ball-carrier's value anyway, only giving Morris three carries after they led by seven in the third quarter. Morris got no touches after the Broncos tied the Redskins, and afte Denver took the lead, Roy Helu, Jr. dominated the snap count out of the backfield. With the Redskins repeatedly trailing due to a sputtering offense and Swiss cheese defense - and not giving Morris touches when games are close, apparently - Morris' value appears capped, for now, at fifteen-plus touches a game.
Week 9 - It took nine weeks and five quarters, but Alfred Morris finally eclipsed twenty carries, the century mark, and a touchdown in the same game. Feeding Morris early and often worked wonders for the Redskins, who never trailed by more than seven points at any point in the game. Morris, to his credit, was flat-out terrific, exhibiting levels of patience and vision that are far more important in a zone-blocking scheme than mere speed. The sophomore halfback waited what seemed like several seconds in the backfield on runs of nineteen and twenty-six yards, respectively, and allowed the line all the time in the world to get to its blocking assignments on a five-yard score in the second quarter. While fantasy owners likely bemoan fullback Darrel Young getting three touchdowns in the red zone, Morris was tackled short of the stripe on a goal-line carry, even after bouncing off one tackle. Young scored on the next snap. Morris's best games are likely not behind him this year, as the Redskins' upcoming schedule still has the Vikings, Eagles, Cowboys, Falcons, and the Giants twice, all teams susceptible to the powerful ground game.
Week 10 - After failing to record twenty carries for the first nine weeks of the season, Morris broke twenty-five carries for the second week in a row. Morris ran all over a listless Vikings defense at home, shedding tackles at will, while averaging well over five yards per carry. The second-year tailback from Florida Atlantic ripped off four runs of ten-plus yards, including a twenty-six yard gallop to Minnesota's eight yard line, setting up a Robert Griffin III touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon. Another one of these double-digit runs featured Morris bouncing off a whopping four would-be Viking tacklers. He would later bounce off three more tackles on a different nine-yard run. Certainly, credit is due to the Redskins' offensive line, which provided Morris the requisite holes to cut and through towards the Minnesota secondary. Much to the chagrin of fantasy owners, Morris got stopped short of the stripe at Minnesota's one yard-line, and it was Roy Helu, Jr. who got the red zone carry on Washington's last offensive series of the game. Morris is certainly one of the more consistent halfbacks in the NFL today, especially in a season wrought with injury and laughable underperformance by many veteran ball-carriers. However, he is also one of the NFL's more one-dimensional halfbacks, which does hurt his overall scoring chances.
Week 11 - Morris notched his third-straight game of twenty-plus carries, but the Eagles defense held him to slightly over four yards per carry, his lowest since he faced Philadelphia on Opening Night. Nine of Morris' carries went for one yard or fewer, as the Eagles did their level best to limit one of the NFL's leading rushers from ripping off too many big gains. Only two of Morris' carries went for double digit yardage. Morris and the Redskins' offensive line were in sync, to be sure, working in tandem to create holes and power through them - the Eagles' defensive front were simply too effective at getting penetration. Curiously enough, Washington remained committed to the run even after falling into a deep hole, calling for Morris to carry the ball on six straight run plays late in the fourth quarter. However, as Redskins games seem to be scripted, Morris did not record a touch in the fourth quarter, with Washington down by twenty-four points.
Week 12 - Morris found almost no room to run facing the stingy Forty Niners, routinely getting tackled at or just in front of the line of scrimmage. San Francisco's defensive line manhandled the Redskins' offensive line, leaving Morris with no holes or cutback windows. The sophomore halfback ran as angry and, yes, patient as ever, waiting for the line to create opportunties - even creating gains of one or two yards out of nothing. He could only do so much against a relentless defensive front intent on stopping option football, which it did easily. Morris will have better games in 2013, but continues to be shackled by an offense that cannot use his talent when the defense causes the team to fall behind.
Week 13 - Morris had his worst game of the season by far, gaining only twenty-six yards on the ground facing the visting Giants. New York tended to load the box and blitz Washington in order to take away Morris and force Griffin to throw. Morris simply had nowhere to run, and the absence of fullback Darrell Young due to injury was evident. The Redskins elected to use backup running back Evan Royster in certain running situations, with little success. The first few drives of the evening, the Redskins kept the Giants at bay by running a no-huddle offense and involving Morris in the passing game, a new development given the second-year player's difficulties catching the ball out of the backfield. Morris caught all three of his targets for a career-high twenty-seven receiving yards, as Robert Griffin III used him as a checkdown option. Morris scored easily from the New York one-yard line on the team's opening drive, but did not make an impact thereafter. The Redskins elected to pass a fair amount, and also ran a bevy of option plays that resulted in Morris not recording carries based on Griffin's read of the defense. As the Redskins' game script goes, Morris also saw less of the field as the Redskins began to trail in the second half. Morris' involvement in the passing game is encouraging for his future, but he remains one of the NFL's most context-dependent skill players.
Week 14 - Pardon the seasonal pun, but Morris found extremely tough sledding facing the visiting Chiefs on a snowy Sunday at FedEx Field. Kansas City routinely broke through the Redskins' overwhelmed offensive line and got to Morris before he could plant his foot and cut downfield. The slippery conditions of the field were of no help to Morris, either. He sometimes slipped behind or just in front of the line of scrimmage. The third component of the trifecta keeping Morris from a good performance at home were the points the Chiefs kept adding to their score, which eventually prevented Morris from seeing the field. He did not record a carry in the fourth quarter. Morris' passing game involvement - a relevation against the Giants the week before - was nonexistent this week. He was not targeted. Washington boasted the league's best rushing attack through thirteen weeks, but it did not show against the Chiefs in Week Fourteen. Morris has a cakewalk schedule to end the season, but if the Redskins continue to trail, he will not see much of the field.
Week 15 - After a series of thoroughly disappointing performances, Morris trucked the Falcons in the Georgia Dome to the tune of well over five yards per carry. The Redskins' offensive line opened up terrific holes for Morris to pound through, and the return of fullback Darrell Young proved to have a positive impact on Morris' performance. In fact, it was Young who helped spring Morris on a thirty-seven yard gallop just short of the Falcons' red zone late in the second quarter. For all his decisive, practically clairvoyant runs in which he anticipated the defense or generated gains out of losses, Morris lost two fumbles against Atlanta - the first game in his young career he lost multiple fumbles. Early in the second quarter, he fumbled in Atlanta's red zone, though Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan fumbled on the next play from scrimmage, giving the Redskins the ball back. The second time Morris fumbled, he was also in the red zone - giving at least passable credence to the Redskins' oft-criticized decision to use change-of-pace running back Roy Helu in the red zone. Luckily for Morris, Atlanta generated zero points off of his turnovers.
Week 16 - Morris was the prototypical bell cow for the Redskins in Week Sixteen. He carried the ball twenty-four times - Washington ran the ball twenty-eight - while getting one target through the air. Morris' per-carry numbers were not particularly gaudy, as he ran for fewer than four yards per carry, but he still delivered as the Redskins' most consistent offensive skill player of 2013. The gnarly FedEx Field turf, as well as a Cowboys defense that kept bringing pressure up front, were not particularly kind to Morris. Pressure from the defensive front seven of Dallas also kept the Redskins' offensive line from opening up sizable holes to Morris, but he still found room to run, only getting tackled for a loss three times. Morris did his best work in the red zone in the third quarter after the Redskins intercepted a Tony Romo pass to give themselves good field position. Morris ran for nine, six, and seven yards before encountered zero resistance on a four-yard touchdown run, his seventh score of the 2013 season. The proud 1991 Mazda 626 owner continued another season of steady, determined play with his mix of power running and field vision, getting six first down for the Redskins in their one-point loss.
Week 17 - Morris had his worst outing of the season, by far, against the Giants back on the first of December. He finished with a much more respectable day, including catching two passes - and looking comfortable doing so - on the Redskins' first drive of the afternoon. Still, in the midst of a close game, the Redskins continued their puzzling usage of their young feature back. Morris only received two carries in the red zone, and one fourth-quarter carry, while Roy Helu, Jr. and Darrel Young both received the call to convert on fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter. Morris was not demolishing the Giants' front seven by any means, yet he hardly received any touches in a game where the Redskins found themselves down by eleven going into the fourth quarter. Perhaps Mike Shanahan and his staff intended to preserve Morris for seasons to come. Morris still ran hard later into the game, ripping off runs of fourteen and nineteen yards, respectively, despite getting little assistance from a offensive line that produced clear lanes earlier in the season. Morris will still be worthy of a second-round pick in fantasy drafts in 2014 as he figures to anchor the Washington offense, at least until the second half, when the Redskins trail and his touch count is reduced dramatically.