Fantasy Football: Derrius Guice Rookie Profile

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For the first installment of this offseason series, all attention was directed towards the ever popular Saquon Barkley. This time around, the spotlight will shift to recent LSU Tiger Derrius Guice. While the former is viewed as the consensus RB1 in this class, the latter should also be considered an enticing prospect. Derrius profiles as a three-down weapon, but will he be utilized in that regard at the NFL level? In order to answer that pressing question, it is imperative to review his pedigree and overall resume.

NFL Scouting Combine Overview
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From a pure metric perspective, Guice owns a rather underwhelming athletic profile. As evident from last season in the form of Dalvin Cook, fantasy owners should realize that measurables make up merely one piece of a player’s valuation puzzle. The same philosophy applies to Guice, as his college tape and collective box score totals hold more weight than the various events that he participated in at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

For an athlete of his stature, a 4.49 forty time is a fairly impressive feat. It ranked inside the top-five scores among all running backs at the combine, which confirms Guice’s quickness and burst that is routinely displayed on his game film. While 15 bench press reps do little to showcase Guice’s strength, savvy fantasy owners are already aware of his bruising rushing style on the actual gridiron. Even though a 31.5-inch vertical jump from Derrius could also be an area of concern for a running back, there is next to no doubt that his actual football prowess takes precedence over the average score. As a whole, Guice’s testing results should be taken with a grain of salt based on his elite pedigree at LSU. After all, an individual could be an honor roll student in school while simultaneously testing poorly in certain subjects. The same logic applies to NFL prospects, as more than one test is an indicator of true talent.

Collegiate Production
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Overshadowed by Leonard Fournette for most of his college career, Guice demonstrated in his final two campaigns at LSU that he has the potential to live up to his predecessor. In fact, the 20-year-old tailback ran for 2,638 yards with 26 touchdowns and a 6.3 yard per carry average in his final two seasons. Even with Fournette in the picture during his sophomore season in 2016, Guice managed to start in six of a possible twelve regular-season contests for LSU. In the process, his 1,387 yards on the ground led the SEC in rushing. From a pure film perspective, Guice delivered his best tape filling in for Fournette that season. While his 2017 counting stats are impressive on paper, it is abundantly clear that Derrius made a name for himself prior to his junior campaign.

Despite being underutilized as a receiver, Guice also managed to register 27 receptions for 230 yards and 3 touchdowns in LSU’s aerial attack in 2016 and 2017 combined. In doing so, he demonstrated the ability to serve as a featured back in a one-dimensional offense that annually relies on the running game in the SEC.

Fantasy Outlook

Unlike Penn State’s Barkley, Guice should not be viewed as a foolproof asset in redraft leagues for 2018. While his skill set figures to transfer seamlessly from the classroom to a professional franchise, Guice’s fantasy stock as a rookie will ultimately be determined by his landing spot in the NFL Draft. A secure roster spot on a team in need of a featured back will warrant early-round consideration for the prized rookie, but serving a committee role in a backfield could spell trouble for Guice’s short-term fantasy outlook. As is often the case, his value will be entirely dependent upon the offensive system that he joins. Expect the talented running back’s ADP to reside in the middle rounds of season-long leagues for 2018.

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While Guice has received numerous Marshawn Lynch comparisons due to his punishing rushing style, I actually liken his skill set the most to that of Ezekiel Elliott. In multiple facets, the two running backs share a quicker than fast level of acceleration that is magnified by excellent patience and vision between the tackles. While Zeke is clearly the superior talent, Guice should at least be viewed as a poor man’s version of the Dallas Cowboy due to his explosiveness and limited receiving experience at the collegiate level. Keep in mind, Elliott also followed in the footsteps of a highly regarded prospect in Carlos Hyde out of Ohio State, similar to that of Guice and Fournette.

In dynasty circles, Guice is almost a virtual lock to be selected at the 1.02 in rookie drafts due to his collegiate accolades and potential ceiling as a dual-threat asset out of the backfield. His ADP in offseason startup drafts is already located within the first three rounds, which will inevitably climb as the result of hype and his age. After all, it is easy to make a case for a prospect that is 20 years old to become a highly coveted commodity in keeper formats.

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