It is no secret Mike Shanahan seems to get a rise out of messing with fantasy owners' minds when it comes to juggling his running backs.
Offseason sleeper Roy Helu's durability was a regular talking point when Shanahan addressed the versatile back. It should come as no surprise that turf toe and an Achilles' tendon strain have forced him to season-ending Injured Reserve. It almost seems like it was predetermined by Shanny in what seems to be offseason foreshadowing, if you will, in hindsight.
Evan Royster (knee) has a strained patella tendon, which is an injury that you do not want to take any chances with. The second-year back does nothing special and is a questionable fit for this zone-blocking system.
Desperate times call for Grant?
In typical Shanahan fashion, virtually unknown rookie rusher Alfred Morris emerged as this offense's go-to back. Consider him the top dog until you see otherwise. He has been slightly better than adequate.
This backfield needed an explosive element - something Helu could have brought to the table - until they realized what exactly they had in Robert Griffin III. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has done a fine job molding his system to fit RGIII's skill set by implementing zone-reads to take advantage of Griffin's legs while also setting up play-action passing.
With Helu on IR and Royster on the mend, Morris will get the occasional breather from veteran Ryan Grant. He is, well, serviceable. Grant won't break many long runs, but he isn't a liability either with ball security or playing body guard for RGIII.
Encouraging for fantasy purposes, huh? Owned in only 8 percent of leagues polled, Grant has more value than that. He is an acceptable receiver out of the backfield, an area Morris isn't on par with him and the offense lost depth with Helu's injury.
Fantasy footballers looking for depth - you know, the owners of Shonn Greene, Beanie Wells, Chris Johnson, Steven Jackson, Michael Turner, Donald Brown, to name a few - have to consider Grant for their squads. I'm not saying you should play him, especially this weekend, but snatch him up to see how this situation shakes out if you have roster room. Conversely, don't be surprised if he is released in a few weeks if a better option tickles Mike Shanahan's fancy, and Washington's upcoming schedule versus the position is less than appealing.
Maybe Grant can exceed low expectations to provide value as desperation play.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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