Analyzing Adrian Peterson’s 2012 Fantasy Value
For years I’ve struggled with “feast or famine” Adrian Peterson. By the end of every year he’s got great stats, but on a weekly basis he’s a killer (if you drafted him in the top 3, which undoubtedly is the case in any self-respecting league) because he has crappy weeks sandwiched around awesome weeks.
Take a look at his game-to-game stats over the past few years and you’ll see. In 2010 AP went four consecutive games where he rushed for 81 yards or less and scored only two touchdowns. The next week he rushed for 107 yards and 3 TD’s. Overall he averaged about 80 yards and 1.2 TDs in those five weeks, but he killed you in four of them.
Of course that was until last year, when he suddenly became Mr. Automatic, scoring 12 TDs in 12 games. But in those 12 games he rushed for 100 yards only three times and nearly half of his 12 TD’s came in two games. The impressive overall numbers can’t be ignored, but in weekly head-to-head matchups, AP offers pain to go with the pleasure.
And now he’s returning from a severe knee injury. Early reports are positive, but aren’t they always?
Crappy quarterback play, plus uneven wide receiver play has resulted in a defensive focus on AP over the years, but with Christian Ponder emerging and Percy Harvin seemingly having found a cure for his migraines, AP may find himself less of a defensive target next year.
If only offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave believed in passing the ball to his star running back. In 12 games last year AP caught just 18 passes for 139 yards. In seven of the 12 games, he caught one pass or less. Anyone in a league that counts catches has to move AP out of the top three (below Foster, Rice, McCoy).
Maybe it sounds crazy for AP to fall below them, but if you’re seeking value with your pick, I’d prefer a guy who’s going to bring it every week and catches four or five passes a game. Touchdowns can come and go (especially with a bulldog like Toby Gerhart in the backfield), so I’d be concerned about AP continuing his TD-per-game pace of 2011.
Add to that the concerns over AP returning successfully from his injury and early pickers have a terrible dilemma. Those who rolled the dice drafting an injured Arian Foster (missed basically the first three games last year) were rewarded when he ROLLED through the rest of the season, but that’s the exception, not the norm. I’d rather stay away from AP in the first round, and catch him somewhere in the second if he falls.