I’d like you to close your eyes, and drift back to a time when hope still lived. It was, oh, about two months ago.
August of the year 2012 was a wondrous time, and solely because scientists finally perfected the bionic eye. But we’ll remember it for so much more, for it is the month of the Morris. Alfred Morris.
You know Morris now as the Redskins’ running back, and the next leading candidate to get Clinton Portis’ed after he’s ridden by Mike Shanahan for a few years, and then promptly discarded. But if anyone during Shanny’s running back tyranny deserves a far better fate, it’s Morris, because he’s made history during the first five games of his NFL career.
Even after Tim Hightower expired, and when it became clear that Morris would be the primary option in Washington’s backfield essentially by default with Evan Royster and Roy Helu also injured at the time, collectively fantasy drafters gave the rookie only passing interest. That’s the natural reflex with any Shanahan starter at running back — a title that’s instinctively said with air quotes — and it led to an ADP of 101.3 for Morris in ESPN leagues, behind Shonn Greene, Beanie Wells, Cedric Benson, Michael Bush, and Kevin Smith, all of whom are either backups, the epitome of brittle, or simply awful.
We couldn’t have possibly predicted what would happen next, but that doesn’t make the regret any easier to bear. Morris is now fourth in rushing with his 491 yards on 98.2 per game and 4.9 per carry, and he’s scored four times, and broken off three runs of at least 25 yards. Against Atlanta this past Sunday his per carry average jumped to a season-high 6.4 on his also season-high 115 total yards.
But it gets better/worse for those who didn’t take Morris seriously in those sunny late August days filled with promise, hope, and other warm, nursing thoughts. Please bury us further, Mike Jones:
He joined Eric Dickerson as the only rookies in NFL history to rush for at least 75 yards in each of his team’s first five games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
There could be some trying times ahead prior to the Redskins’ Week 11 bye, with unfavorable matchups against the Vikings — who just held Chris Johnson to only 1.6 YPC Sunday — and Steelers on deck over the next four weeks. But that stretch also includes the Panthers, and their welcoming ground defense that gave up 118 yards and two touchdowns to Andre Brown in his first career start.
So you win, Morris owners whose heads are swelling and pulsating like martians bent on murdering Jack Nicholson. You own the sixth best fantasy point producer at the running back position (Morris has 74 points). There’s a considerable gap between Morris and LeSean McCoy, who has 60 points, and he was taken about 100 picks earlier on average.