It’s funny how quickly things can change in the NFL, and in fantasy football. It wasn’t that long ago that Adrian Peterson was a no-doubter, set-and-forget every week fantasy football commodity. He was at the top of all drafts and drained auction budgets. Several leg injuries and the icy creep of father time have slowed the man once known as “All Day,” now he would appropriately be called, “Sometimes.” Who among us doesn’t have long-distant childhood memories of his 27 carries and three targets with the Saints? The ones that will assuredly play in Canton someday. His legendary stature in New Orleans is surpassed only by Philadelphia and their all-time great, Frank Gore. The NFL gods recognized Peterson’s plight in New Orleans and obliged, moving him to the Arizona Retirement Home for Old Dudes. He had a massive first game with them, going for eleventy-billion yards and fifty touchdowns (don’t fact check me) before getting stuffed in the second game. Now Carson Palmer is dead, and Drew Stanton is under center. Should you get away from Adrian Peterson this weekend?
In short? No. In a little bit longer? No, no, not at all no. In the long answer? Well, they take on the San Francisco 49ers this weekend. I can chop that up in a million different ways to tell you how terrible they are at stopping the run. They’re #1 in fantasy points allowed, and they allow over two more points to the position than the second-ranked team (the Colts). They allow 1.3 touchdowns and 182 yards per game to the position. At least one running back has scored double-digit fantasy points against them in every single game this season, and they’ve allowed five touchdowns to running backs in the last three weeks. There’s also the issue that the 49ers are now on second-and-third stringers at nearly every position, which means it’ll be pretty much open season on scoring fantasy points against them Sunday.
What, then, of the Arizona offensive situation? Well, Drew Stanton is not good. In fact, he’s actively terrible. The Stanton-C.J. Beathard Bowl will rival the Stanton-Blaine Gabbert Bowl of yesteryear in terms of quarterback ineptitude. Against some teams, that would mean difficult, stacked boxes for Peterson. For the 49ers, even a stacked box means basically nothing, as you’re playing against third stringers and practice squad players at this point. Also, if you’re Bruce Arians and you want a win, do you put it in AP’s gut 20+ times or do you rely on Drew Stanton’s arm?
Peterson is a shoo-in for a score and 100 yards against the league’s worst run defense, and potentially worst team. The Cardinals will be able to score at will against the Niners, and AP will be the beneficiary. Even if it starts slow for AP, the Cardinals will be grinding out the clock in the second half, which means a ton of run for Peterson. Start him everywhere you have him.