Before Friday came around, all eyes were on Derrius Guice being the lead-man in Washington’s backfield. After tearing his ACL in his rookie year, Guice tore his meniscus in week one of the regular season but returned to get injured once again. Now, his problems have continued but this time they are off the field. He was charged with strangulation, assault and battery, as well as the destruction of property. Shortly after finding out this news, the Washington Football Team decided to release the injury-prone back. With Guice now out of the picture, the backfield takes a bit of a turn fantasy-wise. I’ll go through each option in the backfield and include their current ADP.
Adrian Peterson – RB54, 175 Overall
Peterson put up yet another solid season last year as he finished as the RB33 after being the RB19 in 2018. He has been a solid FLEX option the last two years but was rumored to be a potential cut candidate with Guice on the roster and the addition of not one, but three backs during the offseason and another young back still on the back burner. The price won’t be the same as it is now, but Peterson will likely be the starter to begin the season as he has the most experience with the team and has shown he still has some left in the tank. He will likely delegate to a FLEX option at best midway through the season with the younger players getting acclimated to the system.
Antonio Gibson – RB51, 152 Overall
The Gibson hype train was off the rails even before the Guice news and now it’s absolutely bonkers. Washington used a third-round selection on the Memphis running back who fits into Scott Turner‘s offense. Despite only receiving only 77 touches during his career at Memphis, Gibson turned enough heads to be touted as one of the running backs with the highest upside in the draft class. Ron Rivera got the Gibson hype train going by comparing him to Christian McCaffrey after the draft. While that isn’t a fair comparison, Gibson’s skill set is similar but not as dynamic yet. With Guice’s release, you will be lucky to find Gibson lasting past round seven in drafts now.
Bryce Love – RB80, 271 Overall
Washington spent a fourth-round pick on Love in the 2019 draft and didn’t see him take a snap as he was recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in his college career. In 2017, Love was an absolute superstar for Stanford as he finished second in the Heisman voting as he had over 2,100 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns. He could be seen as a shot in the dark as a late-round selection as he will have some sort of role in the offense, especially if Peterson goes down.
Peyton Barber – RB99, 368 Overall
Last year, Barber finished as the RB31 for the Buccaneers. During the offseason, Washington scooped him up and he may find himself in a limited role this year instead of the workhorse load he had last year. As it seems now, Barber will likely find a role in short-yardage and goal-line work, which isn’t enough for consistent fantasy production.
J.D. McKissic – N/A
McKissic had the best year of his career with Detroit last year as he had 72 touches for 238 yards and a touchdown. Earlier on in the offseason, it seemed as though he could have a shot at the third-down role. Now, he will likely be fighting for a roster spot and won’t have much value in fantasy unless an injury were to occur to Gibson.
If possible, it would be best to stay away from Washington’s backfield unless you are chasing the upside that Gibson has. His value has skyrocketed and the murmurs that he’s similar to McCaffrey have fantasy players giddy. Now though, you won’t get him at a discounted price and will likely have to overpay for him considering he may not get enough looks in the first few weeks. I would choose Gibson over Peterson but wouldn’t be opposed to selecting Peterson in between rounds 10-12 as he will still have a consistent role. Love is a complete flier in the last round and could produce this year as he’s finally recovered from his ACL injury and if Peterson goes down, has immediate value. In a bottom-feeder offense right now, taking a shot on any of these backs is a risk and will need to be taken into account once drafting Gibson or Peterson.
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