Fantasy week: RBs not the key for Skins

June, 28, 2012
6/28/12
10:03
AM ET
Fantasy week has captured the imagination of readers of the NFC East blog, and one of those readers is our very own "Football Scientist," KC Joyner. You may have seen KC in some of the roundtable videos we've been featuring in this week's fantasy-related content, and much of what he's offering there can be found in his annual "TFS Draft Guide." KC has emailed to share some of the NFC East-related content from this year's guide, and this one bit in particular caught my eye:
Washington has a very good group of run blockers, as their 45.7 good blocking rate (GBR) ranked tied for 11th in the league. If they keep that level of play up or improve upon it, it really shouldn't matter who Mike Shanahan decides to put into the backfield on a week to week basis.

That is, as you likely know by now, Shanahan's theory. Barring the presence of a special, Terrell Davis-type back, he's content to use his running backs as interchangeable because he thinks the zone-blocking scheme will help make them into stars. He preaches this to his offensive linemen, running through lists of backs who have had big years in his system. And the fact that Roy Helu, Ryan Torain and Evan Royster were all able to post 100-yard games in 2011 after starter Tim Hightower got hurt helps make his point.

If healthy, Hightower is the starting running back in Washington. Shanahan just thinks he helps the most overall, as a runner, a pass-blocker and a receiver. But Hightower is coming off that ACL tear, and that could mean early-season opportunity for Helu or Royster. The good thing is, if you have a Redskins running back on your fantasy team, and he happens to start the game in a given week, you can feel pretty confident that he'll put up numbers for you. The bad thing is, from week to week, you can't feel confident at all that your guy is going to be the starter.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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