Scouting Notebook: Morris makes his mark

Week 1 always means really bad news for some owners due to the dreaded early KO of a high draft pick. But, on the flip side, there is also ample opportunity for owners considering that unexpected stars always emerge from the depths of the waiver wire. The question: Will they burn brightly or die out fast?

Maybe Alfred Morris is still available in your league. I told you to get him last week though. So why did you wait? We had made an educated guess and then about 95 percent confirmed it mid-week thanks to some sleuthing by my friend and colleague, the NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala (@akinkhabwala) who was on site with Washington at the key moment. But whether you own him or can claim him, what's he actually worth?
I would not be a seller. He had 28 carries in a Mike Shanahan offense with a running QB who sure looks like he will move the chains at will. This is an elite set-up. In non-PPR, definitely Morris over Steven Jackson. Depending on how you score catches, I can see keeping Jackson. I wouldn't do it. But I can't say it's 100 percent stupid. Maybe 70 percent stupid. Look, don't trot out numbers about where Jackson ranked last year in your scoring format. The better question is what was his mean ranking each week and how much separation from the pack? Running back is a churn position and there will be comparable or superior scorers to Jackson all through the season if he stays healthy. If not, think Eddie George 2001 for Jackson, just as Jeff Fisher surely will be doing.
Morris over Trent Richardson? Maybe I watched too much of the Browns. Maybe the Eagles are all-world defensively. But they were easy to run on last year, I recall. Where's the ceiling there? Is he going to be a championship asset? I can't see it. Will Morris be one? Can't say for sure but I can sure say there's a better chance. Of course, you can get more than Morris, too. But I would be a buyer. The potential difference makers at running back are not available at reasonable prices every week.
Finally, Morris over Shonn Greene? Absolutely. Greene fumbled twice unforced and got away with them both on Sunday.
What about C.J. Spiller? Well, his owners hit the jackpot, it looks like. But I hate to couch an injury to a player in positive terms. We'll follow up on Fred Jackson and have a Spiller forecast on Twitter (@michaelsalfino). But Spiller is rostered almost everywhere.
The caveats with Kevin Ogletree are the Giants decimated secondary, which had taxi-squad caliber corners covering him. That's not likely to be repeated going forward. And given the Sunday developments, I'd definitely take Stephen Hill over Ogletree. I drafted Hill late in every league that I play. I obviously like the guy. But I had no idea if the Jets would effectively exploit his freakish size and speed. Upside: Poor man's Megatron.
Sneer all you want about how Mark Sanchez doesn't stack up to Matthew Stafford, but Sanchez has a penchant for big plays (fourth most total TDs for any 25-year-old QB in NFL history). So I don't see the Jets QB situation being a drag on Hill's upside. And it's always about upside. You know what floors are for? The losers at the bottom of the standings. Winners use the door! (h/t Springsteen)
Robert Griffin III was amazing. I feel like we just went through this with Cam Newton but Griffin actually looked better. In retrospect, that does not seem so surprising. Shanahan is one of the all-time offensive geniuses, which many have forgotten. So, like Newton last year, we totally believe. He's a top eight QB easy. This is not a selling opportunity. Hold. Better yet, buy from someone who has him as a second QB.
Michael Bush is playable. These touchdowns were a given – Matt Forte was 8-for-36 career in converting goal-line runs. But the Colts are not on the schedule every week.
Reggie Bush's day went just as expected against one of the toughest defenses in the NFL. Plenty of PPR value there – a perfect No. 2 back in that format.
Okay, maybe I was wrong about the Falcons not being able to feed both Roddy White and Julio Jones at WR1 levels. You know, Mike Smith is a very smart coach who is statistically inclined and, of course, all the stats say that NFL teams throw far too little.
A big fourth quarter masked some pretty bad numbers for Drew Brees. You know in the mob movies when the capos go out and do the walk and talk in the street with the boss to avoid FBI surveillance? Sean Payton has to do that with someone in the organization this week. All New Orleans needs is an ambitious intern and a tape recorder.
Okay, Chris Johnson is scaring me. Still, surprisingly acceptable PPR value, somehow. Still just 26. Hold for now.
I think everyone got ahead of themselves with Ryan Williams. This Cardinals offensive line is bad. Williams going before the Redskins backs was always a joke. Yes, you have to hide under the bed when the Washington games comes on the TV because of that monster Shanahan, I know.
Vernon Davis was targeted far too little given his skills. And he's blocking now on some goal line passing downs so Randy Moss can run patterns? Stupid. But less touches maybe means more productivity for Frank Gore. This is a great running environment, too. But the Niners are going to be more Shanahan-like, I believe, than Shanahan.
Cedric Benson had a tough matchup but if I had the roster room to spare, I would definitely sneak in a claim on Alex Green this week.
Hat tip to Doug Martin for some very tough, late-game running. Also, kudos to David Akers owners, who finally got to find out how their league scores 63-yard field goals.

What to Read Next