Roy Helu vs. Jets
I’m going to go out on a limb and say I believe Mike Shanahan when he says that Roy Helu is the team’s starting tailback “for sure” after his breakout performance against the Seahawks.
Going back and watching the film, it’s easy to see why Shanahan seems to feel that Helu is ready to be the team's starter, as he consistently showed a good pad level with a lung at the point of attack, setting himself up to fall forward for an extra yard or to break at tackle.
At no point was this clearer than his 28-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. On the play, Helu hurdled one defender, and on the way down, he put a shoulder into strong safety Kam Chancellor, breaking his poor angled attempt to find himself left alone with only the end zone in sight.
That was obviously a key play in the Redskins come from behind win, but you could see something good was going to happen for Helu earlier in the game, as he seemed to grow before your eye’s right there on camera. More than once, Helu could be seen with physical expressions that would suggest he was starting to like this NFL gig, like his fist pump after an 11-yard run in the second quarter.
A few weeks back, we watched Helu rack up a franchise record 14 receptions against the 49ers, and while he didn’t have that many this past week, Helu continued to be an active receiver in the passing game with seven receptions for 54 yards to go with his 23 carries for 108 and a touchdown on the ground.
What I enjoyed about Helu is exactly what I was disappointed in the Bills game plan with C.J. Spiller, as they consistently gave him designed screens and dumpoffs underneath to force the defense to pay attention to him as a threat, thus helping to provide better matchups down the field. This is the type of effort that makes Helu a no-brainer to use as a flex-play option the rest of the year, especially in PPR leagues.
This week, Helu will match up against the same team Spiller played last week in the Jets, but if the Redskins continue to use him the same way (I actually believe it’s likely), Helu should exploit the Jets underneath, like the Bills should have at times this past weekend.
Don’t be surprised if Helu continues to be the feature back in Washington to close out the season, and at least for PPR leagues, he’s maybe even a low end RB-2 to close out the year. Never underestimate the power of a running back with fresh legs down the stretch, and that advantage will help Helu break tackles against beat up defenders who have been playing full time all year.
|2||LeSean McCoy||at Seahawks|
|5||Ray Rice||at Browns|
|8||Calvin Johnson||at Saints|
|9||Greg Jennings||at Giants|
|10||DeMarco Murray||at Cardinals|
|11||Chris Johnson||at Bills|
|14||Roddy White||at Texans|
|16||Michael Bush||at Dolphins|
|17||Michael Turner||at Texans|
|18||Steve Smith||at Buccaneers|
|21||Laurent Robinson||at Cardinals|
|24||BenJarvus Green-Ellis (I)||Colts|
|25||Jordy Nelson||at Giants|
|28||Dez Bryant||at Cardinals|
|29||Beanie Wells (I)||Cowboys|
|30||Ryan Mathews||at Jaguars|
|31||Jonathan Stewart||at Buccaneers|
|33||Anquan Boldin||at Browns|
|34||A.J. Green (I)||at Steelers|
|36||Brandon Lloyd||at 49ers|
|38||DeAngelo Williams||at Buccaneers|
|39||Willis McGahee (I)||at Vikings|
|42||Vincent Jackson||at Jaguars|
|44||Cedric Benson||at Steelers|
|46||Torrey Smith||at Browns|
|47||Santonio Holmes||at Redskins|
|48||Mike Williams (TB)||Panthers|
|49||Dwayne Bowe||at Bears|
|50||Shonn Greene||at Redskins|
|51||Steven Jackson||at 49ers|
|54||Julio Jones (I)||at Texans|
|55||Reggie Wayne||at Patriots|
|57||Peyton Hillis (I)||Ravens|
|58||Andre Johnson (I)||Falcons|
|59||Mario Manningham (I)||Packers|
|60||Plaxico Burress||at Redskins|
|61||Mike Tolbert||at Jaguars|
|62||Maurice Morris||at Saints|
|64||Eric Decker||at Vikings|
|65||DeSean Jackson||at Seahawks|
|68||Donald Brown||at Patriots|
|70||Nate Burleson||at Saints|
|71||James Starks||at Giants|
|73||Joe McKnight||at Redskins|
|75||James Jones||at Giants|