UPDATE September 4: Washington has released Adrian Peterson. This suggests Antonio Gibson has won the job. Bryce Love and Peyton Barber could get early down work, with J.D. McKissic getting passing down work, but Gibson is the back to roster in fantasy football.
UPDATE September 1: Peterson is locked in as Washington’s early-down back, but Gibson and J.D. McKissic will get work too because of their versatility. It’s unclear how many running backs Washington will keep, but it appears like Love will be the odd man out if three make the final roster.
UPDATE August 25: Bryce Love is now in the mix, as he and Antonio Gibson appear to be behind Peterson. If all stay healthy, Peterson will likely be the lead back while Love and Gibson back him up but splitting receiving work and breather carries.
UPDATE, August 16: Derrius Guice was arrested for his involvement in multiple domestic violence incidents and faces multiple felony and misdemeanor charges. Washington released him and it’s now a competition between veteran Adrian Peterson and rookie Antonio Gibson.
In this series we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project, correctly, which players will win training camp battles.
The Washington TBD’s will look to get their offense moving in the right direction this season and Derrius Guice and Antonio Gibson are two players they hope can make an impact. Last season, Adrian Peterson led the way, as Guice was injured for much of the season. He ended up with 211 carries for 898 (4.3 ypc) and five touchdowns while Guice had 42 rushing attempts for 245 (5.8 ypc) and two touchdowns.
Guice is the obvious pick between Peterson and himself, but his injury history is concerning. He’s now started one game through two seasons and played in five. Washington also added Bryce Love last season, who should be healthy this season and then drafted Antonio Gibson with their third round (66th overall) pick.
Gibson is a walking highlight reel at Memphis, as he averaged 19.3 yards per catch and 11.2 yards per rushing attempt while scoring 12 touchdowns on just 71 touches. The ability is there, but making the jump to the NFL with so few college touches will be difficult. His upside is out of this world and if he can make the transition well, he should be in the mix for touches.
In the end, Peterson was re-signed in case Guice is hurt again. Bryce Love is a wildcard, who will need to blow the socks off the coaches and competition to get touches early. Gibson is likely to see snaps early on due to his explosive ability, but they should be limited as he learns the system. Guice, if healthy, is the clear lead back to start the year. He’s shown enough in his limited time on the field to beat out old man Peterson and has the every down skill set to take the bulk of the touches.
Draft Guice as a high risk/reward running back and Gibson as a late-round flier. Peterson holds no value if Guice is healthy.