You’ve reviewed all of last year’s tape, adjusted to coaching changes, tracked player movement in free agency and went Mel Kiper on the rookies. Yet you still don’t know who to take with the No. 1 overall pick in fantasy football.
It’s an unusual case and a stunting one. How can we expect to have a good draft if it’s so cloudy right at the top? The “safe” pick is a wideout like Dez Bryant, Antonio Brown or even Julio Jones. Wideout bust rates are miniscule compared to running backs. But thanks to positional scarcity, the smart pick is a back, and he goes by Purple Jesus.
Fresh and clean
It’s rare that we can expect a 30-year-old running back with 2,262 career carries to have much tread left on the tires. But Adrian Peterson has been the exception to many rules his whole career. When Dr. James Andrews opened up Peterson’s knee after his 2011 ACL tear, he “couldn’t believe it," saying it was "like a newborn baby.” He ran for 2,097 yards at 6.02 YPC eight months later. Now Peterson is coming off a full year on the sidelines, which will leave him ever-so-fresh.
Saddle up and ride
Viking offensive coordinator Norv Turner has a long history of riding feature backs hard and successfully. It started with Emmitt Smith, moved on to Terry Allen and then Stephen Davis in Washington and became famous with LaDainian Tomlinson. With no guaranteed money in Peterson’s contract for 2016, the Vikings might as well ride him into the ground as a centerpiece for upwards of 350 carries. Speedsters Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson will open things up vertically, leaving plenty of room for Peterson to feast.
The workhorse backs that are left in today’s NFL will be gone by the middle of the second round. Taking Dez or Antonio at No. 1 leaves an unbalanced roster that will be tough to win with. Le’Veon Bell is suspended for three games, DeMarco Murray is coming off a 497-touch season and the Packers won’t overwork Eddie Lacy. It brings us back to Peterson, a truly generational talent who projects for the biggest workload in an ascending Vikings offense.
MLB Pickups of the Week
1. Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers – Adrian Beltre’s thumb injury opens the door for one of the top power-hitting prospects in baseball.
2. Preston Tucker, OF, Astros – A rookie lefty bat that’s getting a ton of at-bats in the heart of the underrated Astros’ order.
3. Andre Ethier, OF, Dodgers – Injuries in the Dodgers outfield have allowed the 33-year-old Ethier to show he has some gas left.
The Cardinals have spent the OTA period working on their no-huddle package. They also have three strong wideouts (Michael Floyd, John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald), two “space” backs on top of their depth chart (Andre Ellington, David Johnson) and a pass-game guru calling the plays (Bruce Arians). Things are trending up for Carson Palmer, who was on pace to throw for 4,336 yards and 29 touchdowns last year before blowing out his knee. The “Wait on QB” crowd can essentially get him for free.