By: Adam Cohen
This fantasy season many are buying into Vikings RB Adrian Peterson making a comeback as Fantasy Football’s top running back. A player that some hope to lead their team to victory in their Fantasy league. Peterson, now 30 years of age, is almost old enough to get half price meals at the local diner in the world of NFL running backs. 30, if you could not tell by my unusual humor, is old for an NFL running back. Many believe that Peterson is a monster and his body can defy and deny anything father time throws at him, but sadly, every good story must come to an end. I am about to tell you why you should not even consider drafting Adrian Peterson in the first round.
Let’s go back to Peterson’s golden ages, when he was just a little (not physically) NFL running back. In 2007, Peterson’s rookie season, the running back accumulated over 1,300 yards with 12 touchdowns. He followed that season in 2008 with 1,760 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. Peterson’s rushing numbers the next four seasons went as followed: 1,383, 1,298, 970, and then 2,097. The season Peterson rushed like a mad man and broke 2,000 yards, was when he was 27 years old. 27 years old, coincidentally, is the point running backs have their greatest season in the league ever.
Courtesy of ESPN, let us look at the average running back’s NFL yards over their career. (Please ignore the wide receiver chart, in blue):
Very interesting. At 27 years of age, the average NFL running back has their best statistical season, and at 28, they never reach the same numbers again. Now knowing that, let’s compare Adrian Peterson’s career with the average NFL running back:
We learn from the past. Peterson, even though his numbers are much higher than the average NFL running back, follows the average running back in some respects. Ignore the season in which he was 29 years old (because he only played one game last season) but he did drop in production to around his career average per season when he was 28. After their best season at 27, the average NFL back also follows that season with stats that are around average to their whole career when they are 28.
Think about these other facts that scare me about Peterson:
- The last top-10 fantasy running back that was 30 or older was Thomas Jones, in 2009.
- In Peterson’s 2013 campaign (last full season he played), he dealt with foot, groin, and hamstring injuries. All of the which is hard to overcome with the kind of tread he has on his tires.
- Peterson has not played an NFL game in over 20 months! (and you are going to take this guy in the first round?!?)
How many more carries can this guy handle? In his record-breaking 2012 season in which he broke 2,000 yards, the Vikings fed Peterson 348 carries! 348 carries?!? It is to be noted that the following season, Peterson received 279 carries and that came with around 800 less yards. Peterson’s body, no matter how much of a beast he is, will not be able to carry the heavy workload of 250+ carries anymore without missing games due to some injury.
With guys such as Lacy, Lynch, Charles, Bell, and all the top-notch wide receivers out there, the risk outweighs the opportunity for Peterson’s case in the first round of your NFL draft. You can listen to his outrageous propositions claiming he will rush for 2,500 yards this season, but take it with grain of salt, because that is all nonsense. He WILL NOT rush for 2,500 yards this season. Rather, he should make a proclamation that he will play all 16 NFL games this season because even that would be something I will be impressed to see at this point in his NFL career. The baggage is just too much to draft this presumptuous NFL running back that is currently in the twilight of his stint in the NFL. Remember that on draft night, and you will be thanking me later.