Why embracing Roy Helu will be different this time around

      October 11, 2013 @ 13:28:49 PDT


I have been a long-time fan of Washington Redskins running back Roy Helu and the potential he can offer fantasy football owners -- sometimes to a fault. Last season, some dude name Alfred Morris took the bull by the horns and hasn't looked back, rendering Helu's involvement limited, and rightfully so.

There is no doubt Morris is the guy in D.C., but room for Helu to have a larger role in the offense and great opportunity to provide complementary points for fantasy owners exists.

Morris is battling his way through a rib injury, which can be extremely painful, particularly for a powerful running back of his mold. He had the bye week to help recuperate, although it is tough to imagine he is fully healthy. Helu should have an expanded role in the offense ... this week and beyond. He is healthy, finally, and has looked sharp, dating back to the early offseason.

The book on Helu is fairly straightforward. He is quick-footed with the skill set to be a change-of-pace option and the makings of a viable third-down back. Helu's pass-protection ability could stand some work, for sure, but he isn't horrible -- in fact, he has improved a good deal by better recognizing and reading defense's blitz possibilities. At his worst, he is a high-effort, get-in-the-way blocker, if you will.

Indecisiveness has been a big problem for him. Helu often takes extra steps behind the line of scrimmage and misses opportunities because of this. He could be a dynamic player with enhanced decision-making or just letting himself naturally react to what is in front of him.

A few things work in Helu's favor, such as the Redskins' porous defensive play means more passing from the offense, and Morris' lack of receiving prowess. Also, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan publicly said he wanted to increase Helu's involvement but not cut too much into Morris' workload. Translation: Expect more designed plays intended to get the ball into Helu's hands when he is on the field.

Washington's upcoming schedule, especially Week 6, is exciting (ranking vs. PPR RBs from Weeks 1-5):

Week 6 - at Dallas Cowboys: 30th
Week 7 - vs. Chicago Bears: 22nd (23rd after playing NYG)
Week 8 - at Denver Broncos: 26th
Week 9 - vs. San Diego Chargers: 6th (5.2 rec., 43.8 rec. yards per game allowed)
Week 10 - at Minnesota Vikings: 32nd
Week 11 - at Philadelphia Eagles: 18th
Week 12 - vs. San Francisco 49ers: 21st
Week 13 - vs. New York Giants: 25th
Week 14 - vs. Kansas City Chiefs: 5th (4.4 rec., 41.2 rec. yards per game allowed)
Week 15 - at Atlanta Falcons: 13th
Week 16 - vs. Dallas Cowboys: 30th

Helu is available in 55 percent of CBS Sports and a whopping 82 percent of Yahoo! Sports leagues. In most competitive formats, he probably was picked up after his 16-point PPR effort in Week 4. It doesn't hurt to check, since he could have lasted through his bye week. Make sure to get Helu into your Week 6 lineup.

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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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