NFC East

What to Make of the Redskins’ Backfield – S. Witriol

by Shaun Witriol

Were you a Game of Thrones fan? Are you looking for a new saga to watch unfold? Then tune into the Washington Redskins backfield where no one knows who is going to get the carries in 2019! Their backfield consists of Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Derrius Guice, and Bryce Love. While this looks like a promising return to the NFL for Guice, this is still Adrian Peterson’s backfield.

Why?

He just had a resurgent year where he had 251 carries, 1042 yards, 7 TDs on the ground, and 20 receptions for 208 yards and 1 TD through the air. We shouldn’t expect his role to stay the same this year, because of the return of Derrius Guice. Washington’s highly touted, 2nd round draft pick out of LSU is participating in training camp this off-season, and we are expected to see him take the field in 2019. What does that mean for fantasy owners? That means we should expect Guice to get at least 125 carries on the ground if Peterson stays healthy. The Redskins are not going to want to rush the workload for Guice.

Guice has the power, size, and the speed to be the 1st down back in Washington, and could easily top the 125 carry mark with 15+ receptions. In addition, we could see him average over 5 yards per carry, because if Adrian Peterson could do it at 4.2 last year then Guice has every opportunity to do it as well.

The real variable here is Chris Thompson, who is still one of the best 3rd down passing backs in the NFL, is still on the team, and highly productive on 3rd down. Last year he had 43 carries for 178 yards, and 41 receptions for 268 yards with 1 TD. He is a hit or miss type of player though, and will only take away opportunities from Peterson and Guice. It is important to note that he is still listed as #2 on the Redskins depth chart today, but that will change as the season progresses.

Now lets get into how this all factors into fantasy drafts in 2019.

Adrian Peterson is going in the 10th round of half PPR and full PPR drafts, and we can expect at least 175 carries from at around 3.4 yards a carry. It should not be expected that he can repeat the same year at 4.2 yards per carry in 2019, but he has defied the odds before. Nevertheless, we will take the conservative approach here, and assume the lesser amount. 175 carries at 3.4 yards per carry would total 595, and 5 TDs. That is still great value for the 10th round.

Derrius Guice is expected to have at least 125 carries, and lets say he averages 4.3 yards per carry. That total brings him to 537.5 yards, and around 5 TDs as well. The key here is that there is way more upside potential with Derrius Guice. We shouldn’t expect anything from him early on in the season, but this could be the factor later on down the stretch. He is currently going in the 6th round. That means guys like Deshaun Watson, Baker Mayfield, Hunter Henry, Tyler Boyd will be available at this time. If you don’t have the RB depth it might be wise to take him, but if you do have the RB depth at this point – the value isn’t there in the 6th round.

The Redskins backfield isn’t in a great position to start the 2019 season for fantasy players, but we could see a changing of the guard of some sorts in D.C. The team has been straightforward with the idea of giving Peterson the workload to start the season, and it should be expected that Guice will carry the load as the season progresses. It really is a question of how long you are willing to wait for that opportunity to come for Guice. The real value here is with Adrian Peterson early, because he could have enough opportunities to put up 4th or 5th round RB numbers. Going in the 10th round that would make him a steal, but we could also see his numbers drop drastically as the season progresses. I lean on the side of player upside, and if I can secure RB depth on my roster in the first 5 rounds then I will take Derrius Guice. This is because I should expect to make the playoffs, and down the stretch I will need him to help me win the league.

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