Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice is one of the biggest mysteries in fantasy football heading into 2019. Considered a first-round talent heading into the 2018 NFL Draft, Guice slipped into the second round before the Redskins snatched him up with the 59th overall pick. However, Guice tore his ACL during the preseason and missed the entirety of his rookie season. Guice has had a whole year to recover, but can the LSU product find his collegiate form in the NFL?
2019 Fantasy Football Outlook: Derrius Guice
Derrius Guice had a chance to be one of the biggest stars in the 2018 fantasy landscape. Inheriting a relatively empty backfield and blessed with ridiculous talent, Guice had a chance to take the league by storm as a rookie. However, injury struck in Washington’s first preseason game and Guice missed the entire season. In his absence, Washington signed Adrian Peterson to serve as the lead rusher.
Because of the missed time, it’s easy to forget just how good Guice was back in college. Throughout his three-year career at LSU, the running back recorded 3,074 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns on just 471 carries, good for 6.5 yards-per-carry. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah notes that he “reaches top speed in a hurry” and led the SEC in rushing yards despite having five or fewer carries in four games as a Sophomore. This shows that Guice is a big-play threat who’s capable of making the most of whatever workload he receives.
Even if Guice is healthy, he doesn’t project as a threat in the passing game. Guice recorded just 32 receptions for 250 yards during his collegiate career, including 18 receptions and 124 yards as a Junior. This obviously limits his value in PPR scoring and keeps him from being a top-tier running back, even if he completely healthy.
Guice’s final production comes down to how well he recovers from his ACL injury. There’s obviously no way to tell how he looks until he hits the field, but early returns are mixed. Washington re-signed Adrian Peterson, and, at this point in his career, he doesn’t do anything that a healthy Guice cannot. Like Guice, Peterson is a downfield runner who doesn’t contribute in the passing game. However, unlike Guice, Peterson no longer has his explosive playmaking ability or breakneck speed. If the Redskins expected Guice to come back to full health, this signing doesn’t make much sense.
Additionally, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Guice is “coming along a bit slower than some people would like.” This obviously isn’t great news, as some players never find their old form after a serious knee injury. While the medical field has never been better in terms of ACL recovery, some players simply cannot come back from this type of injury. Or, at the very least, they need a transition year before finding their old form. Redskins fans need only look to Robert Griffin as proof that a return to health isn’t 100% guaranteed.
Some might point to the selection of Bryce Love as further proof of Guice’s questionable status, but I won’t do that. Love is coming off an ACL injury of his own and might not be ready for the start of the season. Additionally, Love projects more as a pass-catcher at the next level than a between-the-tackles runner. If anything, Love was meant to complement Guice rather than take his job.
Derrius Guice Average Draft Position
As of this posting, Fantasy Football Calculator has Derrius Guice going off the board with the 62nd overall pick in half-point PPR scoring formats. This puts him right between Tarik Cohen and James White and firmly behind guys like Sony Michel, Chris Carson, and Kenyan Drake.
Selecting Guice at this position has everything to do with the strength of your running back depth chart. At his best, Guice has the ability to be one of the best running backs in the league. Grabbing a guy with this type of talent at that point in the draft is a steal, and Adrian Peterson won’t see many touches if Guice is fully healthy.
That said, there is no guarantee Guice comes back healthy. Knee injuries are no joke for running backs, and Guice is reportedly recovering at a slow pace. He might not play up to his potential in 2019 and he could end up being a part of a committee approach.
Let’s say you’re on the clock with the 62nd overall pick and you already have Saquon Barkley and Kerryon Johnson on your roster. These two are safe bets to be your starting running backs all season long, so you should definitely take the risk on Guice. In a best-case scenario, he’s your flex play for the entire season. In a worst-case scenario, he just rides your bench as you play the matchups in the flex. However, if you’re not comfortable with your running back depth, you’re better off taking a safer player in James White.
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