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RB changes raise Morris' fantasy stock

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RB changes raise Morris' fantasy stock

Have you been sitting around trying to decipher how an injured Roy Helu and a newly signed Ryan Grant affectsthe Redskins backfield?In the world of fantasy football, there is no Da Vinci Code to crack: it'struly all about Alfred Morris now.The rookie runner's stunning rise up the depth chart from unassuming sixthround pick to weekly starter has actually moved up a notch, if possible,following the flurry of moves over the last 24 hours. Factor in a gimpy EvanRoyster (knee strain) and the word unassailable comes to mind when discussing Morris'hold on the gig. In pure fantasy terms and weekly matchup aside, the FloridaAtlantic product is a low-end RB2 with a chance for more should the Redskinsmaintain their high-scoring production. Though Tampa Bay, Washington's next opponent, rank tops in the NFL against the run thru three weeks, Morris remains a top 20 option innon-PPR (points per reception) formats.Based on last year's production, Helu figured to eventually be Morris'primary challenger for touches even if his style suggested change-of-paceoption. That might still be the case, but now that Helu has been placed oninjured reserve, it's a 2013 discussion.Royster could still suit up for against Tampa Bay in Week 4. While MikeShanahan has been known to switch lead backs on a whim - well, that's how itappears to us gamers anyway - there is little hint that he's ready to jettisonMorris out of the starting role for the ex-Penn Stater.This brings us to Grant, a former stud with the Packers, who has beenwatching from the sidelines this year after starting 14 of 15 games forGreen Bay last year. Never the most explosive runner even in his heyday, theterm plodding comes to mind when looking back on Grant's 2011 campaign, thoughhe still averaged 4.2 yards on 134 carries. Being familiar with the Redskinszone-blocking ways should help the self-described "one-cut" runner'sintroductory process.For the moment, at least until we see what the 29-year-old has left in thetank, any talk of Grant's signing should focus more on how he helps Robert GriffinIII rather than whether he's a threat to Morris' touches. The Redskins pass blocking is flawed.
One way to help the situation, add anexperienced running back trained in the art of pass protection. This was to beTim Hightower's role, but it's hard to stop ill-intentioned blitzers on oneleg. If Grant can compliment Morris - who does not have a reception this year -as a third or passing down option, that should help keep RG3's jersey clean (orat least clean-ish).For now, even handcuff-desiring fantasy owners can leave Grant on thewaiver wire; Royster and his youthful legs make for a better call if one feelscompelled to make such a move. Unless Grant shows more than just being RG3'sbackfield bodyguard or Morris' currently healthy yards per carry average starts(4.3) heading south, there is nothing for fantasy owners to see here.Well, other than Morris taking a stronger hold on the starting job.(P.S. Should Shanahan run Grant 20 times against the Bucs, this post will self-destruct)

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Need to Know: What will the Redskins do after Jonathan Allen's injury?

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Associated Press

Need to Know: What will the Redskins do after Jonathan Allen's injury?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 19, four days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences, open locker room, after practice approx. 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 10
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 17
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 35

Jonathan Allen’s absence

The Redskins defensive line has been one of the most improved positions on the team. Now they have a large hole to fill in that unit.

Jonathan Allen’s Lisfranc injury will require surgery and that means he will be sidelined for the rest of the season. He likely will go on injured reserve sometime this week.

The team’s first-round draft pick had been playing very well. He has helped to provide the Redskins with pass rush up the middle, an important element that has been missing from the defense. The 17th overall pick had a sack, three QB hits and 10 hurries.

What will the Redskins do in Allen’s absence? The first thing they’ll do is take consolation in the fact that they still have Matt Ioannidis to give them some inside pass rush. The second-year player rebounded from a 2016 season where he played sparingly and is providing consistent pass rush pressure between the tackles. He has 3.5 sacks and 16 pressures.

But Ioannidis can’t do it alone. He and Allen each benefitted from the presence of the other one. And edge rushers Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan have both been helped by the attention the other teams had to pay to the pass pressure threat from the interior.

With Allen gone, who will take his place?

That question has a few different answers. When Allen goes on injured reserve, a lineman will be signed to take his place. That could be rookie Brandon Banks, who has been on the practice squad all year. They could bring up A.J. Francis, who has been around on the practice squad for a couple of years but he has not been with a team since he was release in Redskins’ cut to 53 on September 2.

They also could find a veteran who is not currently working or sign a player off of another team’s practice squad. The Redskins tried out 16 players on Tuesday and the only defensive lineman among them was Owa Odighizuwa, who played in 18 games for the Giants in 2015-2016.

But whoever takes the roster spot likely will be inactive most of the time. Anthony Lanier, the second-year defensive end who has been on the team this year but has not been active for a game, will be active on Monday night. He is a pass-rush specialist and it seems likely that he will get most of Allen’s snaps in nickel situations.

In base defense, Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain will rotate in more frequently. It’s not as though they have been sitting on the bench this season. While the rotation has favored Allen and Ioannidis, McClain and McGee have played 131 snaps this year. Ziggy Hood has 155, Ioannidis 170 and Allen 159.

McClain and McGee are OK defending the run so there won’t be a huge drop off there. The spotlight will be on Lanier, who played in just four games last year before an injury ended his season, to continue to get push up the middle with Ioannidis.

He will get his chance on Monday as the Redskins take on the Eagles. In the season opener, the Redskins were able to get pressure on quarterback Carson Wentz (22 pressures on 41 pass dropbacks) but they weren’t often able to bring him down. We will see if Lanier can get to him a time or two and finish the job.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Three plays that show why the Redskins' screen game is so effective

Three plays that show why the Redskins' screen game is so effective

By Ryan Wormeli

The Redskins eked out a close win at home on Sunday, coming away with a 26-24 final over the 49ers. One of the keys to the team's success on offense was their effective screen game. 

Doc Walker says running back Chris Thompson is the best in the NFL at catching screens and turning them into big plays. Still, he knows it takes more than just one great player to find success in the screen game.

On Redskins Gameplan, he turned to the film to break down three big plays from Sunday's victory, highlighting the offensive line in giving Thompson the room he needed to make something happen.

Play 1: Recievers getting in on the "Block Party"

Nearly half of the Redskins on the field for this play found themselves with someone to block. Walker points out how active the big guys are, shouting out Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao in particular. The receivers get some shine too, with Doc even pointing out, "You know you gotta give 11 some credit on that."

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Play 2: Trent Williams just keeps looking for guys to block

With the Redskins deep in their own territory, they once again call for a screen pass, and you know Doc gets really excited to see the big fellas move.

"Now watch the big uglies, downfield. Agile! Hostile! Getting after it! Staying on their feet, no belly floppers," exclaimed Walker. "That's the key to it."

Play 3: Brandon Scherff redeems himself later in the drive

Brandon Scherff started off this important drive with a holding penalty, costing his team valuable yards. He then saw the screen pass as an opportunity to make it up to his teammates, and he takes full advantage.

Doc has just one thing to say for players staring down an angry Brandon Scherff.

"You, my friend, are in trouble."

RELATED: WEEK 7 STATE OF THE 'SKINS

The Redskins probably hoped their game against the winless 49ers would be a bit more comfortable than a 26-24 victory. Still, when they found themselves in a dogfight, they were able to rely on their quality screen game to get them big yardage when needed, and it helped them come out with a big Week 6 win.

For more segments like this, tune in to Redskins Gameplan at 6 p.m. on Thursday.