After putting together a couple of monstrous seasons at LSU, including over 2,800 combined yards and 29 combined touchdowns, Derrius Guice was selected by Washington in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft. Since being drafted, though, Guice has only been able to play in five NFL games. He has had several injuries to the same left knee with an MCL sprain, meniscus tear, ACL tear, and knee sprain over the past few years. However, Guice has shown that he possesses the elite talent that made him a second-round pick, as last season, he rushed for 5.8 yards-per-carry despite playing for a poor Redskins offense. Does Guice’s upside make him worthy of a mid-round selection in 2020, or will his injury issues get in the way of his talent yet again?
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Guice was only able to get on the field for five games in 2020, which was an improvement over his zero games played in 2019. While his overall production isn’t overly impressive, he played very well in that limited time, with 5.8 yards per carry. He flashed his talent on a 60-yard rush against the Panthers, and his 11.5 fantasy points per game would have made him the RB28 if he had played all 16 games.
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In my stat projections, I have Guice playing a full 16-game slate this season, which is relatively unlikely given his injury history. Even if he does put in an entire season, though, the Redskins have one of the most crowded backfields in the NFL with Adrian Peterson, Peyton Barber, J.D. McKissic, and Antonio Gibson all competing with Guice for touches. The Redskins also ran the ball among the fewest times in the NFL last season, so there doesn’t seem to be a ton of opportunity at the outset.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
— Chad Ryan (@ChadwikoRCC) December 1, 2019
ADP: 66.9, RB25
Auction Value: $9
Guice’s ADP concerns me at the moment, as he’s currently being drafted ahead of guys like David Johnson, Todd Gurley, and Raheem Mostert. Even if Guice can stay healthy, a big if, at this point, I’m not sure if he provides the same level of upside as those other names given the lack of offensive talent around him, I would instead take a higher-upside player with less injury risk in that range. If Guice’s ADP remains before the 10th round, I likely won’t be ending up with him in many leagues.
Unfortunately, given Guice’s injury issues, his floor is about as low as it comes. He ended up on the IR list on two separate occasions in 2019, and I’m dubious of his ability to stay healthy for a full season after playing just 5/32 games in his first two professional campaigns. Guice has said he is fully fit and ready-to-go, but he has some degenerative issues with that left knee, and I wouldn’t bank on him staying healthy. Even if he does, the Redskins have plenty of depth at running back that could depress Guice’s week-to-week floor when he’s on the field. Adrian Peterson should still be the starter heading into the year, and Barber, McKissic, Gibson, and Love are all talented enough to steal away carries.
Redskins RB Derrius Guice putting in WORK less than five months after ACL surgery 😤
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) January 15, 2019
If Guice comes into the year fully healthy, the Redskins should give him every opportunity to be the full-time starter. He’s still only 23 and fits with the timetable of a rebuilding team, but with a $1.5 million cap hit next season, Washington would be wise to see if he’s worth keeping around in the long-run. Guice recently spoke to how Frank Gore’s unique career path gives him faith, as the former University of Miami running back tore his ACL twice in college. Despite durability, concerns went on to produce 15 seasons of consistency in the NFL. AP is 35, and while calling his decline has been a fool’s errand in recent years, there isn’t a ton of track record for 35+-year-old running backs being huge parts of their team’s production. If Guice can win the starting job and stay healthy all year, he could be a low-end RB2, but I don’t see that as being particularly likely.
Washington Redskins Offense
The Redskins only ran the ball 22.2 times per game last season, which was the second-lowest mark in the entire league. It’s not because their passing offense was anything prolific, though, as Dwayne Haskins struggled in his rookie year with seven touchdowns to seven interceptions in his seven starts. Case Keenum didn’t fare too much better either, though, as he compiled a 1-7 record in 8 games. Kyle Allen was brought in to back up Haskins this year, but the real story is Scott Turner, who is the team’s new offensive coordinator. At just 37 years old, Turner doesn’t have much experience at the NFL level, and it’s hard to get a real read on what the offense will look like in 2020. Beyond Terry McLaurin, there’s a real lack of proven pass-catchers on the roster, especially after the departures of Jordan Reed (free agent) and Vernon Davis (retired). The Redskins will likely have one of the worst offenses in the NFL this season, which doesn’t do Guice any favors as he looks to establish himself as a starting-caliber running back.
Try & figure out who is going to lead the Redskins in yards at RB this season.
Bringing back: Derrius Guice, Adrian Peterson, Bryce Love
Drafted: Antonio Gibson (RD3)
Signed in FA: Peyton Barber, JD McKissic (Both got 2 year deals w/ guaranteed $)
— Joe DiBiase (@SneakyJoeWGR) May 20, 2020
Strength of Schedule
The NFC East was one of the better divisions for run defenses last season, as the Eagles (7th), Cowboys (14th), and Giants (17th) all ranked in just about the top half of the league in fantasy points allowed to running backs. The Redskins will also have to take on the Ravens (4th), 49ers (3rd), and Steelers (5th), which were some of the best defenses against running backs last season. However, they also play a bottom-feeder schedule featuring the Lions (27th), Cardinals (21st), Bengals (22nd), Browns (23rd), and Panthers (32nd) – some of the worst defenses against running backs in fantasy last year.
Derrius Guice is a talented player – that much can’t be denied. However, there are a ton of factors in play that make me concerned about his fantasy viability this season, not the least of which is the series of injuries to his left knee over the past several seasons. The Redskins also have brought in a lot of competition for backfield touches, and while not all of the running backs on their roster will make the team, it’s unlikely Guice gets a three-down workload at any point this season. His ADP could cruise up over the offseason as fantasy owners get hyped over his talent and reported health, but I’m staying away from an injury-prone running back on one of the worst teams in football.
Is Derrius Guice a player to draft in 2020? We think he might be for the sole reason to trade him after a game or 2.
— CSD Fantasy (@csdfantasy) May 23, 2020
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