It’s the final week of the fantasy football season before the playoffs begin, and there are plenty of mad scrambles for people to get one last win.
Last week, Redskins.com made a case for putting rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin in your starting lineup. In the Redskins’ first home win of the season, the Ohio State product had five receptions for 72 yards, resulting in 7.2 points in standard leagues.
This week, we’re taking a look at another young Redskin: running back Derrius Guice. The second-year player has been out for most of the year, but he played in the last two games and is still available in almost half of the ESPN.com competitions. With the playoffs looming, here’s why you should make the move to add Guice to your lineup:
Guice has not made the same splash that McLaurin did earlier in the season, and that’s because he’s barely been on the field over the past two years.
Guice missed all of last season with a torn ACL that he suffered in the preseason. He recovered completely and made his professional debut in the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, but he tore his meniscus and was then put off for the next eight games.
He made his return against the New York Jets in Week 11, and although he only had seven rushes for 24 yard in a 34-17 defeat, he scored his first-career touchdown on a 45-yard screen pass, giving him 12.8 points in the matchup.
Although Guice had more yards in the Redskins’ win over the Detroit Lions — 10 carries for 32 yards — his fantasy production dipped to just 3.8 points. According to ESPN.com, he is available in 48.3% of leagues.
This is the most opportune time to Guice involved in your lineup, and it has everything to do with the Panthers’ run defense.
Carolina has one of the best pass-rushing defensive fronts in the NFL. The Panthers have nine players with multiple sacks this year, and defensive end Mario Addison is only two pockets away from a season with 10 pockets. But they fight mightily against the flight. They allow more than 127 yards per game, which ranks 27th in the league.
Aside from the Miami Dolphins, this will the worst rush defense the Redskins will play all year, and the coaching staff increased Guice’s workload from appearing in 31% of the offensive snaps against the Jets to 41% against the Lions.
While his injury has prevented him getting on the field, Guice has taken advantage of his opportunities. And he could have plenty against the Panthers, who allow five yards per carry and have given up a league-wurst 19 stormy touchdowns.
Putting Guice in the starting lineup could be seen as a gamble. With its small sample size this year, it is difficult to indicate exactly how Guice will perform in the last five games of the season.
But let’s look at what is known: he is a young player who can make explosive plays with a workload that has increased since returning from injury. He is up against a defense that, despite having an elite pass, struggles against the run, which has been an important part of the Redskins’ attack since Bill Callahan became the interim head coach and Kevin O’Connell took over as the player of the game.
There isn’t much to go off of with Guice, but this game is setting up to make him more of a desired fantasy asset. And if you don’t want him getting points for someone else, pick him up now before he’s gone.