With the imminent settlement of NFL labor issues, we are beginning to see meaningful fantasy football projections. Fantasy guru Michael Fabiano is unsure that Ryan Torain, whom he projects as a No. 2 fantasy back, will remain healthy enough through the full season. He says rookie Roy Helu is a perfect fit for the Mike Shanahan zone blocking scheme and could be the sleeper pick of your fantasy draft. Here’s Fabiano’s comment from his July 14 post on NFL.com:
“Redskins running backs: The days of Clinton Portis dominating the carries in Washington are over, leaving fantasy owners to contemplate the value of the talented but injury-prone Ryan Torain. If he can stay on the field, the Arizona State product could be a valuable No. 2 fantasy back. But if his past continues into the future, the name Roy Helu could become one to remember in drafts. The rookie out of Nebraska is a perfect fit for the team’s zone-blocking scheme and has the tools to become a valuable sleeper in the offense of coach Mike Shanahan, so look for him in the late rounds.”
The video that accompanies this story is Fabiano’s interview with Chris Cooley. Capt. Chaos does not see Donovan McNabb returning to the Redskins this season. “Both sides want it that way.” He sees John Beck as the starting quarterback to start the season.
Fabiano sees Beck as the great uncertainty for the fantasy impact of Washington’s wide receivers. The other uncertainty is who will be on the Redskins’ roster at receiver. He expects Washington to be big buyers in the free agent market.
Early indications are that the ‘Skins have to spend about $52 million in new salaries and bonuses to meet new salary cap rules. That is the opposite of Washington’s normal position when they are scrambling to find a few million in cap room to sign somone.
Two Redskins ommissions from Fabiano’s story: RB Keiland Williams and WR Malcolm Kelly.
Everybody overlooks Williams. Dial the Wayback Machine to November 15, 2010. The Eagles ran up an insurmountable 35-point lead before the Redskins’ first score. Williams accounted for three of Washington’s four touchdowns that night, one by pass reception and two second-half rushing touchdowns. Granted, by the second half, the Iggles were not worried by Redskins rushing. But Williams showed a versatility that Torain never showed. He is the Redskins secret weapon.
Kelly trumps the injury concerns of Torain by a factor of two. The coaches like him, in the same way coaches liked Taylor Jacobs. Like Jacobs, Kelly has never translated his talent to game performance and he has never shown the ruggedness to stand up to a full season.
David Elfin called Kelly “healthy and explosive” in players-only practices. You know, those events without coaches, or opponents, or hard hitting by safeties. Like many fans, and maybe Kelly himself, I’ll believe it when I see it…in games.
The Redskins expect that Leanard Hankerson, a third round pick and Niles Paul, a fifth round pick, will be a better answer than Kelly, a second round pick. I have my hopes, but I have my doubts. That’s why everyone expects the Shanahans to be receiver shopping next week.