Scouting Notebook: Redskin on a roll

Michael Salfino
Yahoo! Sports

Going into the week, I thought we were finally going to get crystal clarity on the always very controversial (at least when I'm touting him) Alfred Morris. After all, the Bucs were allowing only 46 rushing yards per game on little more than two yards per carry.

The primary reason why I liked Morris so much, so early was that Robert Griffin III and the Pistol Formation (and all other similar tricks) would make any back in this system very dangerous. I also believed this makes Morris a matchup-defying runner. So who cares, for example, if Tampa Bay has a tough run defense against everyone else because that's not likely to be predictive against Washington.
Morris's great day confirms this and makes him a lower-end RB1 or a high-end RB2 for the rest of the season – in other words, a low first round pick in a re-draft. While he caught a pass, those will not come often and are a drag on his scoring. But he gains so much more from RGIII. Plus he has good ability – not elite, by any means, but he's not some journeyman, either. Morris is a tough, decisive runner with great size and at least average NFL evasiveness as demonstrated on his long TD run. And, yes, in a re-draft, at the turn, I'd take him over Marshawn Lynch.
I respect Steven Jackson's career. But he's a waste of a roster space now. I guess you have to play him if you drafted him because you sure can't trade him. Remember this when someone tells you about "touches." You have to do something with them, too. Jackson is like a slop-throwing innings eater in fantasy baseball.
I think the people who complained about my off-the-cuff ranking of Lynch, which was really just an aside, have a good point about me having DeMarco Murray over Lynch. But I'd still take Murray, I must admit. Murray, though, scores very poorly in my Body Mass Index RB rankings, which I theorize may make injuries more likely.
I had two other models this week on Twitter @michaelsalfino. One dealt with Morris averaging over 4.0 per carry on 50-plus carries with at least three TDs his first three games as a rookie. Only six others did that – guys like Marshall Faulk, Marcus Allen, Calvin Hill, Earl Campbell, Billy Sims (and Karim Abdul-Jabbar). Point was, you're unlikely to end up being a stiff with a start like Morris had.
The other one that worked out at least in Week 4 involved Doug Martin, who averaged under 3.5 per carry on 50-plus carries your first three rookie games. These guys mostly had very disappointing rookie years – 3.6 yards per carry on average. One follower, @LordReebs, tweeted Sunday that he traded Martin right after seeing it. I didn't recommend that, but so far, so good because Martin was a huge disappointment in Week 4.
It's hard to spin all those rushing yards by Pats as being good for Tom Brady so we will Occam's Razor this and just say it's bad. And what do you do about Brandon Bolden this week in free agency? Get him, of course. But you can't expect a better than 50/50 run split in New England or 80 plays from scrimmage every week. Playing the Bills is good for everyone. Has any team ever allowed a 300-yard passer and two 100-yard rushers in the same game? I'll answer that tomorrow I hope.
Stevie Johnson was too quiet but should have had a long TD except that Ryan Fitzpatrick threw it out of bounds for no good reason.
I liked Scott Chandler because of a great, athletic catch in preseason and because I read that Ryan Fitzpatrick really liked him. But I only own him because I was forced to in the two-TE Stopa Law Firm expert league. But more importantly, Chandler shows how very wrong I was about how much better Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham were than other TEs. There are a multitude of good ones, not that Graham or Gronk are stiffs. But the high pick wasn't worth it. Chandler is definitely top 12 going forward.
I thought Ben Tate was going to be a good play today. The Texans did not run it well and Arian Foster had standard workhorse workload. You can't play Tate going forward. All those who said I was crazy about how Tate was going to take significant carries away from Foster with consistency were correct.
Chris Johnson was running well even when this was a game. But, yes, lots of garbage-time yards. He's a RB2 again. But he looked a step slower than he has in the past to my eye.
BenJarvis Green-Ellis had three carries from the one-yard line and failed to score on all three, fumbling once. But Cincy rolled so maybe all will be forgiven.
The Jets are sickening, but still get Bilal Powell because he should get most carries going forward.
If Davone Bess was on the Patriots, he'd be like a peak Wes Welker instead of a guy available on waivers. In football, like in real estate, location, location, location.
But is Miami a bad spot now? Either Ryan Tannehill is pretty good already or we're overrating the Arizona D, which has given up lots of yards. Playing for your college coach (Mike Sherman) can't hurt and obviously Joe Philbin had a lot more to do with the Packers offensive success than many of us thought. Brian Hartline of course is a must add, too, this week.
Don't know what to take out of this Peyton Manning game today. The Raiders put no pressure on Manning. It was like they were counting five Mississippi. And Oakland is just pathetic, period. Carson Palmer high-tailing it out of Cincy was a brilliant career move, wasn't it?
Darren McFadden is the new Chris Johnson. Let the panic begin … now.