No coach inspires more vitriol from fantasy football players than Mike Shanahan. First in Denver, and now in Washington, Shanahan uses his running backs essentially interchangeably.
This year in D.C., Shanahan has given significant carries to Tim Hightower (now lost for the season), Ryan Torain and now Roy Helu. While the strategy of going with the hot hand is a smart one, football-wise, it's infuriating to fantasy owners.
When Tim Hightower went down with an ACL tear, owners probably thought the guy would be Ryan Torain, who had already started to take carries from Hightower. But on Sunday Helu got 10 carries to Torain's 1. (Tashard Choice, signed after being released by the Cowboys, was inactive.)
Helu didn't do anything on the ground, rushing for just 41 yards. But he actually broke Art Monk's team record for catches in a game with 14 receptions for 107 yards on 17 targets. John Beck was checking down all game and Helu was a killer play in points-per-reception leagues in Week 9.
Getting a Mike Shanahan running back is always going to be a dicey proposition, but he says Beck is his starter for the rest of the way. That could mean lots of more short passes to Helu (owned in just 30 percent of Yahoo! leagues right now) and lots of points in PPR leagues. As usual this late in the year, there aren't many running backs that could get significant carries available. If you need a RB, Helu is the guy to pick up this week.