This season has been an unmitigated disaster for the Washington Redskins in terms of actual NFL performance, and it hasn’t been much better from a fantasy standpoint, either. Players like the overperforming Terry McLaurin and the underperforming Dwayne Haskins have been the topic of fantasy articles all year, but now a new debate has emerged regarding the two running backs in Washington: Should I start Derrius Guice or Adrian Peterson in the 2019 fantasy playoffs?
2018: Injury Concerns Affect Value
In order to decide, we must first look to the past. Derrius Guice was drafted in 2018 by the Washington Redskins to be their bell-cow back of the future. He was considered by many to be the second-best running back in the draft class behind Saquon Barkley. But before he could even prove that to be true or not, Guice tore the ACL in his right knee in the preseason, forcing him to miss the entire 2018 regular season.
Per DLF ADP data, Guice’s dynasty ADP started out in the early third round as soon as he was drafted by the Redskins. It stayed around there until his ACL injury in the preseason, where his ADP took a dip of almost a full round. Throughout 2018, his ADP stayed fairly steady as fantasy owners were still willing to buy into him based on his talent alone. His ADP even went back into the third round in the offseason, but once the new rookie class joined the NFL in May of 2019, his ADP dipped a full round again, putting him in the fourth round of most startup mock drafts. Generally speaking, dynasty owners were still holding out hope that Guice could still be the beast he was supposed to be, but they were hedging their bets a little more than before.
Guice started 2019 as the lead back in Washington and actually saw his ADP rise slightly as the season opened. However, he suffered a meniscus tear to the same right knee in Week 1, forcing him back to IR while he recovered again. This is not what fantasy owners wanted to hear. His ADP dropped again because of this, as owners started looking elsewhere for options that weren’t as injury-prone. This injury also forced the Redskins to lean on running back Adrian Peterson, who was re-signed in the offseason but has had his own injury concerns in the past to overcome as well. As it turned out, he was a great mentor to Guice during this recovery, and possibly one of the best decisions for Guice that the team had ever made.
2019: Week 13 Breakout
Guice returned to the field in Week 11. Finally healthy and ready to make his mark, Guice didn’t wait, scoring on a 45-yard reception against the New York Jets. Week 13 was Guice’s coming out party though as he boomed on just 10 carries for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns, officially telling the world that he was the back that everyone had hoped for. On top of that, Peterson got 13 carries for 99 yards and a score, proving his own naysayers wrong while also muddying the waters on who the lead back in Washington is going forward.
Let’s look a little deeper at these Week 13 performances, though. PFN’s OSM metric is designed to take Next Gen Stats and calculate a player’s impact on their own individual performance. For Week 13, OSM scored Guice at 45.43, the highest of the week. Right behind him at 32.79 was Adrian Peterson. This means that both running backs were the most impactful on their own results. Scores over 40 are generally considered elite, and if you watched Guice run in that game, you would agree that he definitely looked elite.
2019 Fantasy Playoffs
So what does this mean for the 2019 fantasy playoffs? Well, the short answer sure seems to be: start both, right? It looks like the Redskins’ offense might finally be coming together, and if last week is any indication, they’ve got two stud running backs to lean on, which should help all facets of the offense perform better. However, from a fantasy perspective, games like last week are unlikely to happen again and having two backs that can produce usually means that they end up splitting the opportunity to do so.
If you own both, you start Derrius Guice until further notice and you relegate Adrian Peterson to your bench. No need to drop him yet if you can wait, just in case another injury occurs. If you own Peterson and not Guice, I still think this is good logic. Hopefully, you have other options available or were able to get someone off the waiver wire like Miami’s Patrick Laird, whom I referenced in this week’s Waiver Finds article. If you’re in a pinch, though, Peterson could still get enough work to be a valuable flex option for you.
Hit us up on Twitter @PFNFantasy with what you plan to do with Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson in your own playoffs. Also, continue to visit the Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis like the #PFNOSM data while also visiting our Fantasy Football section for more coverage.
Andrew Hall is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him @AndrewHallFF on Twitter.