Welcome back to the DLF Mailbag! Let’s get to your questions.
1. How far does Derrius Guice fall in rookie drafts now? If you were a playoff team, but still a team that could use running back depth for the season, what players would have to be off of the board before you would select Guice?
Jeff in Jersey
12 team half ppr, start 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 DST
This is a tough one for me and I’m guessing my answer isn’t going to be a popular one. Even with the injury I would take him no lower than 1.05 and wouldn’t fault anyone for still taking him at 1.02. If I’m a contending team looking specifically for an RB piece that can help me this year, I would only take Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, Royce Freeman, Kerryon Johnson above him.
I am far lower than the consensus on Rashaad Penny, Sony Michel, and Ronald Jones but if you are a fan of them, I would understand taking them above Guice as well. If Guice is just depth then it’s likely a receiver would be able to serve a similar role and if that’s the case, I could also see taking D.J. Moore ahead of Guice.
All that said, unless I absolutely had to get a depth piece that can help me in 2018, I’d still take Guice over everyone except Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb. I really do think he is that good. With the ACL tear happening so early in the process, he should be ready to go for 2019. If you can solve your depth issue in another way then I would go that route.
2. I currently have pick 1.4 in my rookie draft. I plan on going RB since my backfield includes Dalvin cook, Carlos Hyde, and Peyton Barber. I’m not 100% sure who will be taken after Barkley. My league usually has one surprise at the top of the draft. I’m debating Guice, Johnson or Freeman at 4. Everyone loves Guice but I’m worried about his receiving ability, plus he’s out for the season so it’s more of a long-term play. I like both Johnson and Freeman and could see one of them being this year’s Kamara. But I’m not sure what direction to go. Who would you take at 1.4?
Jim in Pittsburgh
12 team ppr, start 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR 1 TE, 2 flex
Royce Freeman has been my 1.04 for most of the off-season but for non-contenders, things are different now that Derrius Guice has been lost for 2018. There’s a real chance you could land Guice at 1.04. If I am being realistic about my team’s chances to win the championship in 2018 and decide that the answer to that question is no, I am 100% taking Guice at that spot.
If I think I’m competing in 2018 and need a piece for this season then I would take Royce Freeman – assuming Barkley and Chubb are gone. I like Johnson and he may ultimately end up as the primary back during his rookie season, but there is just a lot more in the way of him getting there than there is for Freeman. If you don’t think LeGarrette Blount will take significant carries away and you don’t think Theo Riddick will steal a significant amount of receiving targets than I can understand taking Johnson there, but the easiest answer for me is Freeman who I believe will be a bell cow kind of back in his rookie season. Devontae Booker is at best the change of pace back and is not a threat to Royce Freeman’s volume.
3. I’m preparing for our upcoming free agent pool draft and trying to unearth value by thinking ahead. From an RB perspective, the pool of available players is made up of mostly pass-catching specialists and timeshare/ backups types. Who are the RBs from this grouping of players that could benefit the most from free agency movement in 2019?
Mike in Wisconsin
12 team ppr, start 1 QB, 3 RB, 4 WR/TE, 2 Superflex
It’s tough to know exactly who is available as a free agent or waiver wire option in your specific league without knowing roster size but I’ll take a stab at it. Because you start three running backs and have the option to start one-two more, I’m going to assume that at least 60 are on rosters. Using that line to base our discussion on, the first player to come to mind is James Conner who comes in at RB61 in August ADP. It seems unlikely Le’Veon Bell is going to be a Steeler next season and while it’s likely the team spends some draft picks on the position or brings in a veteran, Conner should get a chance to be the lead back for the Steelers in 2019.
Mark Ingram is likely to be somewhere other than New Orleans next year as well. Behind Alvin Kamara, there are several intriguing names but the one I’m most interested in at this point is Jonathan Williams. The 6’0, 223 pound former Buffalo Bill runs with power and displays quick feet and contact balance even when wrapped up. He also has a nifty spin move. He isn’t a proven receiver but all the running back targets are going to Kamara anyway.
Jacksonville has two interesting players who could be on new teams in 2019. T.J. Yeldon gets most of the love from the dynasty community as Leonard Fournette’s backup, but Corey Grant is the more explosive of the two. Yeldon is a good receiving back but isn’t going to scare anyone as a runner. Grant, on the other hand, is a big play waiting to happen. He ran a 4.28-second 40-yard dash at his pro day and that speed shows up on the field. At 5’11 and 205, he offers the compact build I prefer in my running backs. If he goes to a team with a creative play caller who can get him in space, Grant is someone we could be talking about as a flex-worthy play in 2019.
That will do it for this week. If you would like your question answered in-depth then shoot a message into the DLF mailbag.