Stop Drafting Adrian Peterson So Early

This offseason, the Saints made a somewhat unexpected splash in free agency. By signing Adrian Peterson to a two-year, $7 million deal, New Orleans added some impressive veteran depth to its backfield. It surely wasn’t Peterson’s first choice, but he found out pretty quickly that there weren’t a ton of teams actively seeking out 32-year-old RBs with injury problems and a checkered past off the field – even if that RB is a future Hall of Famer.

For many years, Peterson was at the height of his game. He’s a once-in-a-generation athlete, 16th All-Time in Rushing Yards, and won the MVP in 2012. He’s just two years removed from leading the league in rushing, so it’s not inconceivable that he could regain his otherworldly form that earned him the nickname “Purple Jesus” during his time in Minnesota, but that’s not likely.

 

 

According to FantasyPros, fantasy-footballers are grabbing AP at a nice spot in their drafts. Currently coming off the board at the 69th pick, Peterson is being taken in the 6th round by some of you. The sixth! He’s being drafted ahead of safer bets like Kelvin Benjamin, Stefon Diggs, Cam Newton, and Frank Gore, in addition to a ton of other players with much higher upside.

Don’t draft him that early. Here’s why:

The Saints pass more than nearly every team. 

This may be a surprise to some of you, but the Saints are a pass-first offense and receiving is hardly one of Peterson’s strengths. Last season, New Orleans threw the ball 63.44% of their offensive snaps – good for 5th most in the league. As long as Drew Brees is at the helm, the ball will spend more time in the air than in the hands of his backfield. That won’t change just because the front office brought in an aging superstar.

When the Saints do pass it to a running back, it’s incredibly unlikely that Peterson will be on the receiving end of Brees’ throws. Travaris Cadet is listed as the third back on the Saints’ depth chart, but he won’t be doing much running this season. Last year, Cadet had 4 rushes for 19 yards, but he corraled 40 of 54 targets for 281 yards. His role is likely to stay the same this year, which means Peterson won’t see the field on third downs.

Mark Ingram is better than Adrian Peterson. 

The number one reason All Day will continue his gradual descent into insignificance has nothing to do with Peterson himself.

Mark Ingram is going to make sure you forget that #28 is even on the roster. He makes Peterson’s presence redundant because everything that AP can do, Mark can do better. Ingram is in his prime, and he enters 2017 following a season where he tallied 1362 total yards and 10 touchdowns. His last season average of 5.1 yards-per-carry is higher than all but one of Peterson’s seasons. His 46 receptions on 58 targets are more than Peterson ever had.

Again, Mark Ingram will not have a better career than Adrian Peterson. Please do not think that’s what I’m implying, but Ingram at 27 is better than Peterson at 32.

Fantasy Takeaway: 

Adrian Peterson is a Mark Ingram insurance policy. Ingram will still continue to see the bulk of the workload, and he’ll have a much more productive fantasy season than Peterson. AP is an obvious handcuff, but should not be going in the 6th round.

It was a good signing by the Saints and a fine landing spot for Peterson. However, the only way Purple Jesus’ fantasy value is resurrected is if Ingram suffers a significant injury and doesn’t return.

 

Kory Schulte, Baseline Times