by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
When the Washington Redskins selected Derrius Guice in the second round the thought was that their running game woes had been solved. Just one game into the preseason Guice has gone down with a torn ACL, knocking him out for the season and leaving a running game that averaged the fifth fewest yards per game a year ago (90.5) in shambles once again.
Could someone emerge? It’s going to be a tough sell, as they are forced to turn back to the same cast of characters that underwhelmed a year ago. That said let’s take a look and see where the potential is:
A premier third down/change of pace back, he combined for 804 yards and 6 TD (64 carries for 294 yards, 39 receptions for 510 yards) over 10 games last year. While it would be easy to think that he’d see his role expand, at 5’8” and 195 lbs. he’s never going to be a true workhorse and as the running game struggled a year ago the Redskins continued to utilize him in his role and nothing more. Thinking that something is going to change now, coming off a broken fibula, would be misguided.
Thompson has definitive value, especially in PPR formats, but don’t push him up your draft board due to the news.
Verdict – Continue to value him as we have
A fourth round pick in 2017, at this time last year the thought was that he could be the answer to the running game. He failed to impress, however, taking 175 carries for 603 yards (3.4 yards/carry) and 1 TD. It’s easy to be down on him, though let’s not forget the profile heading into the draft (courtesy of NFL.com):
Perine is a physical runner who can create additional yardage through power and can be a complimentary “banger” for a team who already has a slasher. Perine doesn’t have the burst or play speed to be a dynamic lead back, but he can handle a heavy workload if needed and he should become an immediate short-yardage and goal-line option.
He’s going to be a grinder, picking up the tough yardage and with a year of experience he should be better suited to produce. He showed it in the first preseason game (7 carries for 31 yards), though obviously we’ll have to see more before getting excited. There’s potential, if the blocking can open up some holes (which is a significant question), though he appears to be more of a complimentary back as opposed to a leader.
Verdict – Worth the gamble, but not the top priority from the backfield
Over 22 games Kelley has averaged 3.9 yards per carry though he has shown a nose for the end zone (9 TD). Last season he had just one game with more than 30 yards rushing, but when given an opportunity to carry the load in his rookie season he did post some impressive numbers:
- at Cincinnati – 21 carries for 87 yards and 1 TD
- vs. Minnesota – 22 carries for 97 yards
- vs. Green Bay – 23 carries for 137 yards and 3 TD
Over those three weeks he looked the part of a viable fantasy running back and reports have him having dropped weight in the offseason, allowing him to play quicker. While he struggled in the first preseason game, you could argue that he’s the most intriguing of what’s left. Will they be willing to give him this type of workload? It’s doubtful, but not impossible.
Verdict – Can argue has the highest upside and best gamble to take in the later rounds of your draft
Byron Marshall/Kapri Bibbs
Before we try to dig deep and find someone who could emerge, chances are it’s not going to come. As Peter Hailey of NBC Sports noted:
Byron Marshall and Kapri Bibbs, meanwhile, will see their chances of surviving cuts increase, too. They’re both more in the Thompson mold, so they’ll compete against one another to maybe make Jay Gruden’s squad as a backup to the change-of-pace option.
In other words look elsewhere.
Verdict – Safe to ignore
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com, NBC Sports
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 preseason rankings: