Elijah McGuire’s Injury & Fantasy Impact for Jets Running Backs

Sad news out of Jets camp, as running back Elijah McGuire left Friday’s practice with a foot injury. It’s now been revealed that McGuire has a fractured foot, and there’s a real chance he goes on Injured Reserve before his season gets started.

McGuire figured to have an increased role in the Jets offense, filling the role occupied by the retired Matt Forte. Mcguire had an exciting rookie season for the Jets, showing his speed on this long touchdown run against the Jaguars. He was expected to see more work in the passing game, where he was only targeted 26 times last season.

Without McGuire, the Jets have one less back in competition for touches. The most familiar face in town is Bilal Powell, who is starting his eighth season in New York. Powell was the main back after Forte last season, posting a 4.3 yards per attempt on 178 carries. He and Forte were the lead pass catchers out of the backfield for the Jets, catching 23 and 37 passes respectively. With McGuire out of action, Powell will see even more of the passing-down work if he can keep his spot on the depth chart.

Contending for carries will be free agent signing Isaiah Crowell. The former Cleveland Brown has competed for carries in each of the first four years of his career, but averaged over four yards per carry throughout his time in Cleveland. Crowell is hoping for a fresh start with the Jets, but it will likely be a similar committee in a different uniform.

The Jets have also brought Thomas Rawls into camp, but Rawls was a name on the roster bubble heading into camp. His spot is a little safer with McGuire out, but the fact that the Jets are still bringing in backs means that they are still unsatisfied at the position.

The Jets are still on the hunt for veteran backs. They’ve brought Alfred Morris in for a visit, after the veteran back was released by the Cowboys. There have also been initial talks with Orelans Darwka, who scored five touchdowns last year with the Giants.

From a fantasy perspective, losing McGuire is bittersweet. He was a sleeper pick later in drafts, but his role in the offense was not guaranteed. Without McGuire, touches get increased for Powell and Crowell. Cro is ranked as RB35 at FantasyPros, while Powell is just on the bubble of the top 50 running backs this year. Both should see a slight bump, but there are major questions with the Jets offense. Sam Darnold still hasn’t signed his rookie contract, while Robbie Anderson could still face discipline from the league.

It’s a tough loss for McGuire, but without much expected from the Jets this year, there isn’t a ton of fantasy relevance. Crowell should be going around the seventh round, and Powell should go somewhere in the tenth in most formats. Other than that, it’s unsure which veteran backs will make the Jets final roster this season.

Source: Heavy Sports