Rapid React: Washington Signs Adrian Peterson (2018 Fantasy Football)
I am super excited for my drafts this year. I’ve been doing a ton of research and feel like I’m really prepared. I’m fading DeMarco Murray hard. I think he’s a really bad fit in Philly. I’m hoping I can get Calvin Johnson in the first and grab Matt Forte on the comeback in the second. Wait. What’s that? All of those guys are retired? You’re kidding me?
So, as it turns out, the year is actually 2018, not 2015. Sorry. I got confused there with all this Adrian Peterson talk. I couldn’t fathom that anyone cared about Adrian Peterson in the year 2018. Nevertheless, here we are with another incompetent, poorly run organization signing a completely useless, washed up future Hall of Fame running back.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Adrian Peterson. He’s without a doubt an all-time great, and I don’t mean to diminish anything he’s accomplished. There are just so many talented running backs wasting away on practice squads that it boggles my mind a team would waste money and roster space on a 33-year-old that was one of the worst RBs in the league last season.
Per Warren Sharp, on first down runs in the first half in 2017, Peterson ranked 34 out of 37 qualified players and was 32nd in success rate. The Redskins were the third most run-heavy team on 1st and 10.
Per our own Mike Tagliere, Peterson’s 0.41 fantasy points per touch in 2017 was the worst in the NFL. He scored 0.46 ppr points per opportunity, 130th in the league.
Peterson also averaged 3.8 yards per carry against light fronts, 48th in the league and finished 83rd in Playerprofiler.com’s production premium metric, which measures player productivity across league average situations.
Simply put, Adrian Peterson was one of the worst running backs in the NFL last season. After he was traded to the Cardinals last season, I reminded everyone that Peterson is done. In two of his first three games with the Cardinals, he somehow managed a 26-134 line and a 37-159 line. In his other four games, he went 11-21, 21-29, 14-26, and 20-79. I highly doubt Peterson is seeing 20+ carries in any game this season and we know he can’t be efficient with a smaller workload.
AP has not been good at football since 2015. He defied the odds with his monster 2015 season. It is now three years later. If you expect anything useful from Peterson in 2018, I have no idea why.
But here’s the thing: I don’t think the Redskins signed Peterson, or, rather, Peterson signed with the Redskins, to be a pure backup. He’s going to get carries. Samaje Perine is a 100x better running back than Peterson at this point in their careers. Perine is also nursing an ankle injury. Derrius Guice is lost for the season. Even Byron Marshall is doubtful for Week 1. The Redskins were left with Kapri Bibbs and Rob Kelley, who is still the single worst RB on an NFL roster right now. And yes, I mean that out of every RB on every roster. All of them are better than Rob Kelley. He is that bad at football. Until the AP signing, though, Kelley was the odds-on favorite to start Week 1. He still might start Week 1.
Volume is king in fantasy football and we just can’t expect any of these backs to command it. Chris Thompson will lead this backfield in touches and likely see a 50% snap share. I just can’t fathom that Peterson will be gifted the other 50%. Even if he is, which is best case scenario, Peterson will barely be worth owning. If Peterson sees about 15 carries a game, which would be extremely ambitious to project, maybe he can be a volume-based RB3. And that’s if everything breaks right and AP can bumble his way to about 60 yards a game and an occasional touchdown. More likely is that he splits early-down work with Kelley, Perine, or both, maxing out at 8-10 carries and has absolutely no fantasy value, while also sapping any potential value of the other Redskins backs.
Ian Kenyon said on Twitter: “Pick up AD, put him on the bench, hope he blows up Week 1 and flip him. If he doesn’t blow up, easily droppable.” If you are considering drafting Adrian Peterson in the year 2018, this is the only justification for doing so. If you draft Peterson thinking that he will help your fantasy team by being on your roster, I cannot say this any simpler: You’re doing it wrong. The once great Adrian Peterson has less than nothing left in the tank. Your late-round dart throws are better spent on someone with a higher ceiling. CT is the only member of this backfield worth drafting anymore.