One of the most illustrious fantasy football careers of the last generation, if not ever, has been hanging on by a thread the past two seasons. Former Minnesota Vikings great Adrian Peterson is now on his fourth team in a year and a half and is a shell of his former self.
The Redskins lost Derrius Guice (knee) for the year to a torn ACL. “Next man up!” didn’t go so well for Samaje Perine. He injured his ankle on a 30-yard run and is now in a boot. He could be back in as little as a week, but it is likely the Redskins will take it easy on him. Then Byron Marshall suffered an ankle injury of his own and is out up to a month.
This string of players breaking down left the ‘Skins with just Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson as the only healthy backs. It then led the team to a broken down Peterson after a weekend workout. Orleans Darkwa and Jamaal Charles also auditioned, so we at least know the decision-makers felt he was better than those guys.
Clearly, the name will resonate with novice fantasy owners far more than Kelley’s will. However, this could come as a detriment to gamers.
There are two camps on Peterson: He’s toast, and he could contribute two-down work in spurts. At 33, with a billion miles on his odometer, both opinions are fair.
These numbers cannot ignored if you’re in the latter group, and they surely help cement someone into the former column.
Being fair, the good looked like this:
- Week 6, 2017: 26 carries, 134 yards, 2 TDs
- Week 9, 2017: 37 carries, 159 yards, 0 TDs
Peterson would go on to total 134 rushing yards and no scores over his final three games with the Arizona Cardinals before becoming a free agent.
There will be plenty of jokes, and some of which are warranted, as well as funny, but Peterson has made a living off of being told he can’t and proving people wrong. He defied the odds with his ACL recovery. He was told last year he was not worthy of being on the New Orleans Saints and then popped off in his first game with the Cards.
However, it is undeniable he has far more negative performances in and around the limited good ones. It is also without dispute that he couldn’t get it done in a backfield that produced Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram’s ground success.
It would be foolish, though, to completely write him off as being a fantasy-relevant contributor for two-down work and the handles near the stripe. He won’t see the field on third down, and he is better in standard scoring by a mile, but the same could have been said of Perine, Kelley, Marshall and Guice. Thompson, barring an injury, is that guy.
So, in an offense with stability from Alex Smith, and a defined role for Peterson — remember it was a guessing game as to how Sean Payton wanted to use that backfield entering last season — All Day could be good for a short shift and provide modest returns.
If your standards for his production are based on what we’ve seen from him at his best and not whom he’s competing against in 2018 with the Redskins, he is toast. Being objective, he’s just too good of a player an athlete to automatically dismiss him when the competition is Rob Kelley and what we saw Samaje Perine display last year.
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Looking at the players around Kelley and Perine in non-PPR scoring, Peterson deserves a spot. He could go as early as the 10th round if he wins the starting job over the final two weeks of the preseason. Such a placement would be aggressive, so treating him as something of the Kelley/Perine value means we’re into the late 11th or early 12th rounds and mitigate damage.