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Fantasy Spotlight: The Case For Starting Derrius Guice

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It’s the final week of the fantasy football season before the playoffs begin, and there are plenty of mad scrambles for people to get one last win.

Last week, Redskins.com made a case for putting rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin in your starting lineup. In the Redskins’ first home win of the season, the Ohio State product had five receptions for 72 yards, resulting in 7.2 points in standard leagues.

This week, we’re taking a look at another young Redskin: running back Derrius Guice. The second-year player has been out for most of the year, but he has played in the last two games and is still available in almost half of ESPN.com leagues. With the playoffs looming, here’s why you should make the move to add Guice to your lineup:

The Skinny

Guice has not made the same splash that McLaurin did earlier in the season, and that's because he’s barely been on the field over the past two years.

Guice missed all of last season with a torn ACL that he suffered in the preseason. He made a full recovery and made his professional debut in the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, but he tore his meniscus and was subsequently sidelined for the next eight games.

He made his return against the New York Jets in Week 11, and although he only had seven rushes for 24 yard in a 34-17 defeat, he scored his first-career touchdown on a 45-yard screen pass, giving him 12.8 points in the matchup.

Although Guice had more yards in the Redskins’ win over the Detroit Lions -- 10 carries for 32 yards -- his fantasy production dipped to just 3.8 points. According to ESPN.com, he is available in 48.3% of leagues.

The Kicker

This is the most opportune time to Guice involved in your lineup, and it has everything to do with the Panthers’ run defense.

Carolina has one of the best pass-rushing defensive fronts in the NFL. The Panthers have nine players with multiple sacks this year, and defensive end Mario Addison is only two sacks away from a 10-sack season. But they struggle mightily against the run. They allow more than 127 yards per game, which ranks 27th in the league.

Aside from the Miami Dolphins, this will the worst rush defense the Redskins will play all year, and the coaching staff increased Guice's workload from appearing in 31% of the offensive snaps against the Jets to 41% against the Lions.

While his injury has prevented him getting on the field, Guice has taken advantage of his opportunities. And he could have plenty of them against the Panthers, who allow five yards per carry and have given up a league-worst 19 rushing touchdowns.

The Verdict

Putting Guice in the starting lineup could be seen as a gamble. With his small sample size this year, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how Guice will perform over the last five games of the season.

But let’s look at what is known: he is a young player who can make explosive plays with a workload that has increased since returning from injury. He’s going up against a defense that, despite having an elite pass rush, struggles against the run, which has been a staple of the Redskins’ offense since Bill Callahan became the interim head coach and Kevin O’Connell took over as the play-caller.

There isn’t much to go off of with Guice, but this game is setting up to make him more of a desired fantasy asset. And if you don’t want him getting points for someone else, pick him up now before he’s gone.

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