Fantasy: 10 reasons to bypass Adrian Peterson at No. 1

Here’s a short and sweet but noteworthy piece that intentionally contradicts my standard-scoring rankings for running backs:

A devil’s-advocate look at 10 reasons why Adrian Peterson shouldn’t be the No. 1 overall pick in standard-scoring leagues — without any references to popular acronyms like “PPR” or “ACL.”

To clarify: I would still take Peterson at the top spot in standard-scoring drafts. This column merely emboldens those in need of an extra push to snag Doug Martin, C.J. Spiller, Drew Brees, Arian Foster or even Calvin Johnson at No. 1 — with minimal guilt.

After all, there are no fantasy absolutes from year to year. We only believe it to be true in late August.

1. Peterson has never rushed for 1,400 yards in consecutive seasons.

2. Peterson has crossed the seasonal threshold of 14 total touchdowns just once in his career.

3. No tailback in NFL history has rushed for 2,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

4. Seven rushers (Peterson, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, O.J. Simpson, Terrell Davis, Jamal Lewis, Chris Johnson) have cleared the 2,000-yard mark in a single campaign.

However, of the five who posted complete seasons the following year (excluding Peterson and Terrell Davis — injury), that quintet averaged only 1,244 yards rushing and 7.8 total touchdowns.


5.
Here’s some good news for Doug Martin, Trent Richardson and Alfred Morris owners (WARNING: convoluted reasoning alert):

Factoring in Peterson, Ray Rice, Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy, C.J. Spiller and Chris Johnson — all top-10 backs in my standard-scoring rankings — the group averaged a jump of 761 total yards from Year 1 to 2 in the NFL.

Obviously, no one should expect Martin (1,926 total yards, 12 TDs last season) or Morris (1,690 total yards, 13 TDs) to roll for 2,600 and 2,300 yards respectively in 2013. The odds of that occurring — for either one — are quite long.

However, it does suggest that Martin, Morris and Richardson (1,317 total yards, 12 TDs) still have room to improve as fantasy backs.

In Martin’s case, he averaged 115 total yards and 0.6 touchdowns in the five games after his 272-yard, four-TD demolition of the Raiders last year (Week 9).

6. For what it’s worth, Arian Foster has more total yards (3,482) and total touchdowns (29) than Peterson (3,423 total yards/26 TDs) over the last two seasons combined.

7. The Vikings might have their best pass-catching trio of the Peterson era (since 2007) — Greg Jennings, tight end Kyle Rudolph and rookie wideout Cordarrelle Patterson.

As a rookie last year, Rudolph caught 53 balls for 493 yards and nine touchdowns. Of equal importance, the Notre Dame product attracted 31 red-zone targets.

In his final four games with the Packers (including the playoffs), Jennings tallied 25 receptions, 35 targets, 280 yards and four touchdowns. (And yes, we’re aware of the drop-off transition from Aaron Rodgers to Christian Ponder.)

And Patterson, a first-round pick, has the game-breaking speed in the caliber of Percy Harvin — although he’ll likely need a year or two to find his proverbial sea legs in the pros.

Here are two more trivial matters:

a. Peterson has experienced subtle declines with inside-the-10 touchdowns over the last three seasons (10 to 9 to 8).

b. The odds of Peterson replicating last year’s two touchdowns of 80-plus yards are long.

8. For odd-numbered years, Ray Rice has tallied 2,000 total yards each time. As a bonus, he has notched double-digit touchdowns in the last two seasons. Are you really going to doubt him for 2013?

9. Last season, Lynch (1,590 rushing yards, 12 total TDs) twice rushed for 100-plus yards in four straight outings (Weeks 7-10; Weeks 14-17).

Two more bits: Lynch accounted for 93 total yards and/or one touchdown in 14 games last year … and posted 25 total touchdowns for 2011-12.

Last, but not least …

10. It’s a nit-picky thing, but Peterson has never scored two or more touchdowns in back-to-back games.

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Jay Clemons can be reached, day or night, via Twitter at @FOX_JayClemons.