Player Stock Ticker
Coming Soon: The Wolf's Rest of Season Big Board    

Adrian Peterson Fantasy Football Stock Profile: Move to Saints is less sexy than you might think

Adrian Peterson

Position: Running Back

Former Team: Minnesota Vikings

New Team: New Orleans Saints

Movement Summary

After being selected 7th overall by the Vikings in the 2007 NFL Draft, Minnesota finally cut ties with their former All-Pro running back. Peterson signed with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday after a long and speculative off-season to a two-year, $7 million deal.

This is an interesting signing as the Saints already have a big bruising back in Mark Ingram, so I’m curious to see how Sean Payton decides to use the aging veteran in their high-powered offense.

Talent: 7.5 / 10

Peterson is obviously a generational talent and was an absolute force coming out of Oklahoma. He’s known for his bruising (lol) running style while punishing defenders who get in his way. He was the quintessential RB over the last 10 years he’s been in the NFL, but as all players experience, age eventually catches up with you (except for Tom Brady). Peterson is now 32 years young which sends up red flags as running backs over the age of 30 tend to fall off the proverbial cliff.

Peterson’s “talent” has also been hindered due to several injuries that have really hurt the tail-end of his career. After the cleanup of a groin injury that had lingered for a couple years, AP suffered a torn meniscus in Week 2 of the 2016 season. This kept him out until he was rushed back for a Week 15 appearance against the Colts where he rushed six times for 22 yards and lost a fumble. Peterson’s best days are obviously behind him, but he still offers some substance to the Saints.

Peterson is a big back and still has the power and stiff-arm combination to move the chains for the Saints. He doesn’t have the same lateral quickness or agility he once had, so AP has basically become a power goal-line back that can be brought in for short yardage situations. Just because he’s a little older and worn down, doesn’t mean defenders still won’t get the chills at the sight of Peterson barreling towards them.

Opportunity + Usage: 7/ 10

While Peterson’s situation in New Orleans doesn’t look the prettiest, he should be saved by red zone opportunities. Mark Ingram will unquestionably be the No. 1 back in the offense so he will get the lion’s share of the carries. Peterson doesn’t help himself out much here with his inability to be a reliable third down back who can catch passes out of the backfield. AP can spell Ingram for a handful of carries when tired, but I would not expect to see Peterson being used often in between the 20’s.

Where we will begin to see him more will be when the Saints get down in the red zone. We can’t guarantee that Peterson will be the default goal line back, as he’s very similarly built to Ingram. They are very similar styled backs, but it would make more sense to feature Ingram in the offense while reverting to Peterson to get the tough yards to finish off a drive. Last year the Saints decided to have old man Tim Hightower be a pretty involved piece of their offense. He received double digit carries in five games, including two games with 20-plus carries. If Sean Payton is comfortable rolling out Hightower that often, then Peterson should be an upgrade to that RB2 spot in New Orleans.
Another item to keep in mind is Ingram’s durability. Ingram hasn’t had the best of luck staying on the field for all 16 games in a season, so any slip up or injury could force New Orleans’ hand into riding Peterson. Luckily for AP, the Saints have a prolific offense that should be down in the red zone often thanks to an elite QB and stud WRs. This should give Peterson ample chances to make an impact and ultimately into a fantasy vulture for Ingram owners.

Coaching Scheme: 6.5 / 10

The New Orleans Saints scheme under Sean Payton and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr is not exactly tailor-made for Peterson. The Saints have a deadly aerial assault spearheaded by elite NFL QB Drew Brees. Brees has thrown for over 5,000 yards in four of his last six seasons, with the missing two totaling 4,952 and 4,870 yards. He’s led the league in passing yards for three consecutive years now and it’s painfully clear that the Saints offense is built around him and spreading the ball around to his talented receivers.

New Orleans runs a lot of their offense out of the shotgun formation, which does not play into Peterson’s strengths. Not only can he not catch the ball out of the backfield, but he can’t really run the ball unless he’s lined up behind the quarterback. The only positive about this is that the Saints find themselves in the red zone often, which is something that did not happen a lot for him in Minnesota. Now in New Orleans, Peterson won’t be worried about a stalling offense that can’t help him get into the end zone more consistently.

Surrounding Talent: 8 / 10

New Orleans has a juggernaut on offense which would normally translate into very high scoring. What knocks Peterson’s score down however is that he’ll be playing second fiddle to Ingram who will reap the benefits of so much surrounding talent. Luckily for Peterson, whenever he is in the game he should find a lighter box defensively than when he was in Minnesota. With the Vikings, defenses would stack the box consistently knowing that Teddy Bridgewater — or the other scrubs that were employed at quarterback — and the Vikings receivers were not real threats.
Now, defenses can’t afford to stack the box against Brees and stud receivers like Mike Thomas and Willie Snead. If that was the case, Brees would pick the secondary apart and maybe throw for 6,000 yards. Peterson should be licking his chops lining up behind Brees knowing that he is no longer the focus of every defender.
Nonetheless, the Saints will continue to hum on offense like they usually do meaning that points will come for Peterson. It won’t be the same large workload we had grown accustomed to seeing in Minnesota, but the Saints offense will provide plenty of opportunities. Consistently operating down in the red zone will be key, and Peterson will have to make use of every goal line touch he gets to solidify a role and remain fantasy relevant.

Risk: 6 / 10

Adrian Peterson is a very risky play coming off a torn meniscus in the 2016 season. The Vikings didn’t do him any favors by rushing him back and using him in a Week 15 matchup, only to have him sit out the rest of the year. Of course, on top of the injury we have Peterson’s age of 32 that also raises concerns. He’s not getting any younger, but the one “good aspect” to help limit his risk is that he won’t be the starter and asked to carry such a huge load of the offense.

With multiple injuries in his past and the glaring age factor staring us all in the face, Peterson is not the safest play when looking for RBs in your draft. There’s the chance that Ingram goes down thus forcing Peterson into a lead role which would greatly help his production, but that’s a big if to count on and you still cannot guarantee Peterson flourishes in that role.

Overall Stock Score: 35 / 50 = 70, C-

Ceiling Projection / Scenario: As a ceiling, Peterson begins the year as a dominant goal line back that looks just like his 2,000 yard season self. He looks spry and ready to defy all laws of physics/age as Ingram goes down to some toe injury. Peterson then becomes the lead back in one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses and causes quite the storm in New Orleans. He’s usually good for at least one touchdown per game.

240 carries – 1,005 yards – 14 TDs; 15 catches – 105 yards

Floor Projection / Scenario (excluding injury):  Peterson looks old and worn down, he’s deeply behind Ingram on the depth chart and has no realistic shot of passing him or taking significant touches. AP gets about 8 carries a game and is lucky to find the end zone when the team makes it down to the goal line. Another child abuse allegation comes to light while Peterson mulls retirement.

65 carries – 380 yards – 3 TDs

Bottom Line: Peterson is no longer the first round lock that he used to be. He has potential to be an intriguing RB flex play, but there are so many flags and concerns surrounding him that he’s better off as a bench stash in case something happens to Ingram or he finds the fountain of youth. Based on name alone, he’ll likely be taken in fantasy drafts higher than he should be. Don’t be that guy.

2017 Predicted Stat Line:  165 carries — 750 yards — 9 TDs; 15 catches — 105 yards

We used this formula to nail David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott in 2016. Check back for more Fantasy Stock Profiles throughout the off-season to stay ahead of your fantasy football league.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.