2017: 237 carries for 1,251 yards (5.3 average), 11 TDs; 18 catches for 124 yards (6.9 average), 2 TDs
2016: 183 carries for 1,387 yards (7.6 average), 15 TDs; 9 catches for 106 yards (11.8 average), 1 TD
2015: 51 carries for 436 yards (8.5 average), 3 TDs; 5 catches for 20 yards (4.0 average)
While Saquon Barkely is receiving the majority of the hype for the running back position, there are a number of other talented runners that will be taken after the top 5. The best of the rest is Derrius Guice, an impressive back out of LSU. After showing promise his freshman year with a number of big plays, Guice burst onto the scene in 2016, spelling an oft injured Leonard Fournette to the tune of almost 1,400 rushing yards and 15 TDs despite only starting 6 of the 12 games. With Fournette's graduation, Guice entered 2017 as the lead back with astronomical expectations, but was robbed of some of his skills by a persistent knee injury. He still started 11 of their 12 games and posted over 1,200 yards, but his yards per carry dropped to 5.3 and he lacked the same explosion. Because of this, most evaluators, including myself, will focus on the 2016 tape for evaluating Guice's talent. And there is plenty to like.
Guice has a diverse skillset as a runner and displays a great feel for the position. He is a violent runner with the size to finishes carries and take on linebackers through the hole. When healthy, he can wear a defense down through the game and is rarely brought down with arm tackles. He has good vision and is deliberate when setting up blockers in the hole and down field. He also has excellent balance, both when making cuts and when receiving contact. He is surprisingly elusive in the open field with the footwork and spin move to make defenders miss. Finally, he displayed the ability to hit the homerun in college, and has above average speed and burst through the hole.
We have to start with the injury history. Guice was not himself in 2017 until the bowl game, and there will be lingering concerns about the knee. However all signs point to him being healthy for the combine and the 2018 season. His sophomore year teammate Leonard Fournette faced similar questions, and quashed them with his outstanding rookie year in Jacksonville. While I mentioned his speed and burst in the strengths portion, there are some concerns about how those will translate in the NFL; he probably won't be running away from NFL secondaries and may have trouble getting to the edge. He also took a number of big hits in college and could work on his pad level. Those shots will be amplified at the next level.
Assuming Guice gets back to his pre-injury form, I am a big believer in his potential. He was downright dominant throughout 2016 and has all of the tools to be a productive 3 down NFL back. The only concern I see is durability because of his upright running style and injury history, but he has the highest potential of any offensive dynasty rookie outside of Saquon Barkley. Obviously output always depends on a players landing spot, but a number of teams desperately need a running back, meaning he should see plenty of carries next year. Look for Guice to be drafted in the second round and produce right away. He should be one of the first players off the board in your dynasty draft and, with a good draft team, will put up big numbers in 2018.
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Filed under: Dynasty Fantasy Football