Talking about fake football ramifications from a brutal real-world turn seems indelicate, particularly in this case to Redskins rookie Derrius Guice. Washington’s 2018 second-round pick brought boundless enthusiasm to the field, starry hope to the fan base and the highest ceiling for the running back room since Clinton Portis. Then Guice tore his left ACL in Thursday’s preseason opener. All that optimism gets shelved and “what now” questions take over. That’s the reality.
Fantasy owners were all ready to select Guice in the third round of drafts. Despite some unofficial depth chart tomfoolery, the LSU product was poised to handle early-down work for Washington. This wasn’t just about opportunity, always a key for fantasy hope, but a talented player set for heavy work. Guice’s pass-catching skills offered another potential outlet for production even with Chris Thompson around.
Nobody will, or at least shouldn't consider selecting a Redskins runner anywhere in that vicinity. In fact, we’re not looking at a stay-away situation in standard formats. The actual Redskins football team has a deeper than usual group of running backs this year. It’s just that none offer the three-down potential and difference-maker ceiling as Guice. Only Thompson, who is still recovering from a season-ending broken leg last winter, is worth considering around the 10th or 11th round in PPR leagues. That’s the reality.
Robert Kelley is the best bet to replace Guice initially. “Fat Rob” is clearly thinner and quicker this season. His coach is a fan. There’s just not much there, there in terms singular skills upon which the coaching staff can game plan around. That the offense remains dicey with run blocking adds further concern for a back who can turn a two-yard loss into a no-gain, but doesn’t have the gear and shiftiness to break off big plays.
Samaje Perine offers more power and potential. Without Guice, his goal-line touches go up. The 2017 fourth-round selection also brings shakier football instincts as a blocker and runner. He averaged a meager 3.4 yards on 175 carries last season playing behind an offensive rarely intact. If Perine keeps the pads low and the feet moving when in search of space, he could overtake Kelley and possibly turn into an RB2/flex candidate. For now, that’s not the reality.
Chris Thompson’s 2017 ended with a thud, but that injury didn’t remove the shine from his breakout campaign. The dual-threat scatback had 39 receptions and over 800 yards from scrimmage in 10 games. Thompson just isn’t built for a heavy workload. The ten touches a game he received last season is about right. The catches can help offset the limited work in PPR, but otherwise, there isn’t enough scoring potential. Thompson said he’s 90 percent of the way back from the injury with the remaining 10 percent mostly mental, meaning accepting the healing process is legit.
Somebody will get the work, of course. If forced to pick I’d say Perine over Kelley in standard just because of goal-line potential, while Thompson is the best hope in fantasy as an RBBC option at best.
There is another name worth considering. Byron Marshall might be the most intriguing player here. The 5-foot-9 runner provides the Redskins with insurance in case Thompson needs a break or isn’t quite ready for the opener. The former Oregon Duck showed his burst in the preseason opener with a catch-and-run touchdown. The Redskins might not be able to replace Guice’s power and vision, but with Thompson and Marshall they do have some explosive talent. Don’t look to draft Marshall – he still needs to make the team – but let’s see where we are in a couple of weeks with this backfield.
Kapri Bibbs is another player who could make the roster in most years. He showed some pop in work late last season and with a 41-yard run in the preseason opener, but Bibbs might be the odd man out even with the Guice injury.
With the Guice injury, the Redskins running backs should mostly be left out of any fantasy football conversations regarding building blocks. That's the reality.
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