NFL

NFL: Don’t Get Tricked Into Starting Adrian Peterson on Your Fantasy Football Team

At this time of year, your fantasy football roster can start getting a bit thin. Injuries are knocking players out for weeks at a time, certain guys have simply gone cold, and, if you’re especially unlucky, a few of your starters will be on their bye week. But, no matter how desperate you are for offense, don’t get tricked into starting Adrian Peterson this weekend. He may have a big name, but that’s about all he’ll bring to the table.

Remembering Adrian Peterson’s prime

While he might not be up to scratch this weekend, Peterson is arguably one of the best running backs in NFL history. He was a five-star college recruit, enrolling at the University of Oklahoma in 2004. During his three NCAA seasons, Peterson rushed for over 4,000 yards and 41 touchdowns.

Despite some lingering injury concerns, the Minnesota Vikings made Peterson the seventh overall pick of the 2007 NFL draft. He stepped seamlessly into the pro game, posting 1,341 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in his rookie season. While Father Time and off-field issues—Peterson infamously beat his son with a switch in 2014—have slowed things down, the running back has over 13,000 yards under his belt and is still playing.

Turning back the clock in Miami

Last weekend, Peterson’s Washington Redskins met the winless Miami Dolphins in Florida. While it proved to be a dire game, with neither team truly shining, the veteran running back proved that he still had some mileage left in his legs.

Peterson carried the ball 23 times, pounding Miami’s weak defense. He piled up 118 rushing yards, including one 25-yard carry; while he didn’t find the end zone, the veteran running back helped his team secure their first win of the season. It’s always tempting to ride the hot hand in fantasy football and expect another big performance today, but don’t be fooled. You should bench Peterson before it’s too late.

Peterson’s poor performances

So far this season, Johnson’s performance against Miami has been the exception rather than the norm. Outside of that game, the veteran running back hasn’t rushed for more than 40 yards in a single game; he even finished one game, against the New England Patriots, with only 18 yards on seven carries.

Even if Washington has truly recomitted to their ground game, this weekend will be a challenge, as they host the San Francisco 49ers. After shutting down the Los Angeles Rams last weekend, Kyle Shanahan’s team shouldn’t have any trouble stifling Washington’s offense. In a best-case scenario, Peterson will likely be grinding out a few yards per carry; in a worst-case one, he’ll be completely ineffective, and Washington will be forced to throw the ball. Either way, it won’t be pretty for his fantasy numbers.

Is it worth having Adrian Peterson on your roster?

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Even if you aren’t starting Peterson, you might be tempted to keep him on your fantasy football roster in case of a rainy day. That doesn’t look to be good asset management, either.

After today’s game against the 49ers, Washington will travel to Minnesota on Thursday and visit Buffalo in Week 9. They’ll likely be trailing in both of those games, limiting Peterson’s effectiveness against stout defenses. The Redskins then have a bye, followed by a date with the New York Jets.

Even in a best-case scenario, you won’t want to play Peterson again until Week 12, when Washington hosts the Detroit Lions. There’s simply no need to sit on him for that long; feel free to cut Peterson if you need the roster space.