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Sleeper Spotlight: Washington Redskins

As part of the premium content package, we’re not only releasing exclusive team capsules (complete with commentary), but also focusing on one sleeper from all 32 teams in the NFL.

These sleepers all have varying levels of “sleeperness,” but all merit a little more talking about than we had room for in the dynasty capsules for each team. Some of these players are deep dynasty sleepers who could merit a spot on your bench in a deep league, while others are players who may contribute a little faster than the deep prospects, but deserve more attention than they may be getting. By definition, a sleeper could mean something a little different to everyone, but we’re simply doing the best job we can to unearth one player from each team who fits the category in some way, shape or form.

We’ll just never insult you with a comprehensive list of “sleepers” that includes such names as Demaryius Thomas, Ryan Mathews or even someone like Stevan Ridley. You’re all too good for that.

While many of these players will undoubtedly fizzle, we figure there’s value in looking more closely at these deeper prospects and players. We invite you to keep an open mind and even re-assess your value on those who may be rostered in your league. You may even consider adding a few of these deeper prospects we focus on this Summer who are free agents in your league – after all, some are destined to pan out, too.

Alfred Morris, RB WAS
Age: 23 (12/12/88)

At 5’10”, 218 lbs. and out of Florida Atlantic, Alfred Morris quietly became a Redskin in the 2012 NFL draft.  But since that time, Morris has been anything but quiet.

The durable college runner was a three year starter, notching over 225 carries every year from 2009 – 2011.  Averaging a respectable 4.8 yards per carry, Morris lacked the typical gaudy numbers we like to see in college backs, but with 27 touchdowns, he has a nose for the end zone that cannot be denied.  Not a natural pass catcher out of the backfield, Morris shows capability enough to suggest that he could grow into a third down option in time.

Sharing a backfield already occupied by Tim Hightower, Roy Helu Jr., and Evan Royster, what can really be expected from Morris?  The only fact a fantasy coach needs to understand is the system in which Morris plays.  With none other than Mike Shanahan as head coach, the running back at the bottom of the depth chart has nearly as much value as those on top of it.  With 25 carries for 88 yards thus far into the preseason, Morris hasn’t shown an overly impressive dynamic, but has shown flashes of carry the load ability.

While trying to read the tea leaves toward determining what Shanahan may be thinking is an exercise in futility, what we do know is he has a history of elevating unknown backs into starting caliber players.  Whether Reuben Droughns, Olandis Gary or even Evan Royster, Shanahan’s approach of allowing the the most hungry players to rise to the top of the chart has  proven effective in the NFL, but maddening in fantasy.  In 2012, Morris is the most unlikely sleeper of the group, which makes him the most intriguing.

What we know about Morris from his time in Florida Atlantic is that he’s more polished as a runner than we would have otherwise expected.  He’s in possession of an NFL build, has a thick lower body and has a powerful leg drive to churn out yards after contact.  His large hands suggest better performance in the passing game and if not for a slower than desired forty time (4.67), there’s little not to like about Morris with the ball in his hands.  Watching film on Morris also shows a well developed sense of patience and natural feel as a runner.  He’s far from elusive, but uses his body well to get small when needed or use his strength to gain leverage.  Showing his athleticism, Morris also turned in an impressive vertical jump at the combine, leaping a surprising 35.5″.

With the athletic Robert Griffin III under center and a underrated receiving corps at his disposal, defenses at the line of scrimmage should be softer than otherwise would be expected.  Morris doesn’t have the speed to get to the edge quickly, but should be able to rack up tough inside yardage if called upon.   Morris needs more discipline in how he carries the ball as he does tend to allow his carrying arm to fly away from his body as he nears, or shortly after, first contact.  If there’s one mistake that Coach Shanahan will not tolerate, it’s a back who puts the ball on the ground.

Alfred Morris isn’t a flashy running back.  He’s not a back who will take over a game nor cause opposing defenses to stack the box.  Simply put, Morris is a hard nosed, blue collar runner who will give you everything he has in his tank – exactly the type of back who Mike Shanahan loves to feature.  It could be considered a long shot that Morris sees significant time come the regular season, but in a Mike Shanahan offense, that fact alone raises Morris’ stock as a sleeper take stock in.

Believe it or not, that’s all 32 team sleepers for 2012. If you missed any of them, make sure you sign in and check the premium archive.

Jeff Haverlack
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Mark Tavares
9 years ago

Great series, guys! The team Sleepers and Capsules alone are easily worth the price of a year’s subscription. Thanks to the entire DLF staff.

Jon Denny
9 years ago

Agreed!

bbwayne
9 years ago

So what’s next? I’m greedy. :-). Great series guys.

Admin
Reply to  bbwayne
9 years ago

In the next week, premium subscribers can look forward to the following:

Rookie draft risers, rookie draft fallers, Washington’s Team Capsule, DLF’s Annual Predictions, Week Three’s preseason observations, Week Four’s preseason observations and our premium lineup advice column (exclusively for premium members) starts on September 1st.

…and that’s just what’s on the calendar at the moment. We’re going to hit 90 articles in August in total with more than half on the premium side.

Matt Dawson
Reply to  Ken Kelly
9 years ago

Great work guys.

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