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I didn't want to take Adrian Peterson seriously. If you read or listened to anything I said since the signing it was pretty obvious.
That changes now.
Peterson handled every first-quarter handoff for Washington in their third preseason game and rushed 11 times for 56 yards. He made people miss, he ran through arm tackles, he fell forward when he hit the pile. I'm not saying he was 2008 Adrian Peterson, or even the 2015 version. But he ran hard and he had plenty of wiggle. Most importantly, he ran often.
This was clearly a test from Jay Gruden. On the team's second drive, Peterson had six carries in a row plus another called back by penalty. On his 11th carry, early in the second quarter, he picked up 15 yards on a 4th-and-1 with a juke in the backfield and a burst that was enough to drive his ADP up a round all by itself. Gruden wanted to see if Peterson was an upgrade for them at running back. He looked every bit the part.
I've given Peterson 50 percent of Washington's carries in my projections, and with that there's no doubt he's Fantasy-relevant. It's still a bit of a hedge because he has upside for 50 touches more than what I'm projecting. At the same time, I think you'd have a hard time finding people who would bet on him holding up to more than 210 carries this season, and Chris Thompson is still going to own third-down work.
Peterson is a nice No. 3 running back in non-PPR and another target for anyone who wants to pursue Zero-RB. Let's hope he can stay on the field.
*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.
EXPECTED PPR FP
Breaking down the touches
Jay Gruden has run a pass-happy attack for the last three years in Washington, and that could be a big boon for Smith's Fantasy value. Smith has never thrown more than 508 passes in a season. Washington has thrown at least 540 each of the past three seasons. That's the number I'm using, simply because Smith will turn one or two designed passes per game into rush attempts.
Gruden has also heavily emphasized the tight ends in the offense, which Smith should be very comfortable with. But just like Gruden's offense hasn't favored any one receiver, it has also spread it around among tight ends. A big part of that is Reed's inability to stay healthy, but Vernon Davis has done enough the past two years that he will be involved regardless of who is healthy.
- I've been tempted to move Reed even higher in the projections, but it's just impossible to expect a full season from him. Like Tyler Eifert, he's one of the tight ends who should be drafted well above his projection.
- Richardson and Doctson both still have big upside on a week-to-week basis. But it's going to be hard to trust either as a starter. This team was built for best ball leagues.
When Reed is out of the lineup, Davis becomes pretty close to a must-start tight end. In fact, he was actually better than Reed on a per target and per reception basis in 2017. It wouldn't be a surprise if this was a true timeshare, which would make both of them streamers at best.
So what Fantasy Football sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which wide receiver can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Alvin Kamara's huge breakout last season and find out.