Draft or Pass: The Unknown, Untapped Ceiling of Washington RB Derrius Guice

Entering his third season, we still have yet to see enough of Washington RB Derrius Guice to know his potential. SI Fantasy insider Ben Heisler breaks down his game from what little evidence we have.
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It's never too early to start your fantasy football research, and we at SI Fantasy want to provide you with the best information possible heading into your drafts. Our "Draft or Pass" video series takes a closer look at a fantasy player that will be debated often leading up to fantasy drafts. Are our hosts targeting this player specifically? Are they avoiding him entirely?

Today's video focuses on Washington running back Darrius Guice.

Draft or Pass at current ADP (average draft position): 81 (RB32)

Washington running back Darrius Guice has a chance to change his narrative completely.

The second-round pick out of LSU has not been able to stay on the field since being drafted in 2018. A torn ACL, torn meniscus, and sprained MCL have only allowed for five appearances out of 32 games in his NFL career.

Other than a clean bill of health, the third-year back could use a spark. Enter new head coach Ron Rivera and Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith.

Rivera is fresh off coaching the fantasy football MVP in Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey, who has scored 39 touchdowns and racked up more than 5,400 yards from scrimmage in his three years under Rivera. He also is the second player in NFL history to have both 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in a single season.

Back at the NFL Combine, Smith told reporters that he believes Guice, when healthy, can perform at a similar level to the running back going number one overall in fantasy drafts.

Front offices and coaches hype up their players to the media all the time. But is there any actual data suggesting that Guice could perform at or even similar to a McCaffrey level?

Let's look at his role in the passing game. Granted, it's an extremely limited sample, but he averaged 11.29 YDS/REC as well as 12.43 YAC/REC (yards-after-catch per reception). For comparison's sake, only Derrick Henry outperformed Guice in YAC/REC amongst starting RBs with at least nine or more targets.

As for rushing, Guice fared better than McCaffrey in both YDS/ATT, YCO/ATT (yards-after-contact per-attempt), and finished with four explosive (10-plus yard runs) in 42 carries, averaging a big play gain every 10.5 carries.

Despite only playing in five total games, finishing 72nd in carries, tied for 59th in rushing yards and tied for 59th with two rushing touchdowns, Guice finished the season with a 75.6 PFF rushing grade, compared to a 75.8 for CMC.

When we look at the numbers collectively, Guice finished the 2019 season with 324 total yards on 49 touches for three touchdowns, averaging 6.61 YDS/TCH. McCaffrey, even in his historic season, finished with 5.9 YDS/TCH. Guice, despite finishing with 69.8 PTS (PPR), ended the year with 0.60 PTS/SNAP and 1.17 PTS/TCH. McCaffrey finished with 469.2 PPR points, averaging 0.45 PTS/SNAP and 1.16 PTS/TCH.

Washington team reporter George Carmi discussed Guice’s opportunity in his third season, and how he can clear away from the pack in a very full running back room in DC:

I like Guice's chances going into this season. At 23, he has many years ahead of him in terms of potential, but he needs to [stay on the field].

What separates Guice from the group is that he is a hybrid of the other running backs. If you are closely watching the [Washington] RB competition, there are two races that are taking place. The open position that pass-catching option Chris Thompson vacated, and the lead runner on first down. Guice is capable of doing both, and he has the best blend of talent among all the running backs of the roster.

In a 12-team PPR, Guice’s ADP comes in at 81, right in the late portion of the seventh round.

Guice is the ultimate fantasy gamble, and the injuries suggest the risks may outweigh the reward. But similar style running backs with serious knee injuries have recovered to put up monster fantasy stats. Dalvin Cook and Aaron Jones have had major ACL tears and multiple MCL injuries the last few seasons, and both went on to finish Top-6 in PPR in 2019.

If Guice remains healthy, he possesses a legitimate, league-winning value. This means I'm absolutely drafting him at his current ADP.