Fantasy Football: Adrian Peterson Headlines NFC 'Random Thoughts' for Week 7

Jay ClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterOctober 22, 2012

Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson rolled for 159 total yards (153 rushing) and one touchdown against the Cards on Sunday, ending a five-game scoring drought.
Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson rolled for 159 total yards (153 rushing) and one touchdown against the Cards on Sunday, ending a five-game scoring drought.Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Here are 15 random and NFC-based deep thoughts from a high-scoring and wildly entertaining Week 7:

1. Adrian Peterson picked the perfect time to rush for a season high in yards (153) and end a five-game touchdown drought—the longest of his scintillating career. It was also his best total-yardage effort (159) since Week 8 of last year (162 vs. Carolina).

Of equal importance, Peterson logged 20-plus touches for the fifth consecutive game, a remarkable achievement for someone just 10 months removed from major knee surgery. Bottom line: Good luck trading for Peterson on a simple 1-for-1 or 2-for-2 swap. Prospective owners should give until it hurts.

2. Five years from now, I'm more likely to remember Vincent Jackson's monster fantasy day for the touchdown he didn't score compared to the actual line of seven catches, 216 yards and one TD. And that's a shame, because Jackson deserves mad props for eclipsing Reggie Wayne's single-game mark for receiving yards (212).

Through six games with the Bucs, Jackson already has four outings of double-digit targets. In the preceding four years with the Chargers, V-Jax reached that threshold only six times.

3. In the highly competitive and Friends leagues, I didn't surrender four quality players for Drew Brees on a whim. I did it with the following stat in my mind: Including Brees' supreme effort against the Bucs (377 yards passing, four TD), he has accounted for either 300 yards passing and/or three touchdowns in 15 straight games.

4. Greg Jennings' groin injury has been the ultimate jump-start for Jordy Nelson. Just four weeks ago, Nelson was being tabbed as a fantasy bust, or worse, a one-year wonder after last season's absurd output (15 touchdowns).

Well, after seven games, Nelson (eight catches, 166 yards, one TD vs. St. Louis) has rallied like few other NFL receivers. And now, he's a realistic candidate for 85 catches, 1,200 yards and, yes, another 15 scores.

5. Bucs QB Josh Freeman (420 yards passing, three TD) has had his share of seasonal highs and lows. But that reputation goes on the back-burner when offering the following prediction: Freeman will account for 280 total yards and/or two touchdowns in three of Tampa Bay's next four games (Minnesota, Oakland, San Diego, Carolina)—if not all four contests.

6. Ah, so this is why some draft gurus opted for high-end quarterbacks in Round 1 in August, bypassing elite rushers like Arian Foster, Ray Rice or Philly's LeSean McCoy. Against the Rams, Aaron Rodgers coolly crushed the opposition for 342 yards passing and three TDs. And of his last four games, Rodgers has amassed 1,242 yards passing and 16 touchdowns for tidy averages of 311 yards passing/four TDs.

Bottom line: On the trade market, there is no price too high for Rodgers. He's on the short list of blue-chip assets who can carry clubs through the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 13-16).

7. It was only a matter of time before Rams RB Steven Jackson (57 rushing yards, one TD) found the end zone and got the proverbial monkey off his back, scoring-wise. But now, fantasy owners are left in a bind:

Trade Jackson while his deflating value is trending up, or stand pat and hope for a stronger outing of 100 total yards and one touchdown?

8. I will devote a good chunk of my midweek free time to landing Hakeem Nicks via trade. Sure, he only caught five balls for 53 yards against the Redskins, but Nicks' 10 targets were right on par with his more celebrated teammate, Victor Cruz (seven catches, 131 yards, one TD).

Before his foot injury in May, Nicks was being hailed as a top-five receiver in standard-scoring and PPR leagues. Of his final 10 games last year (including the playoffs), Nicks notched seven touchdowns, four games of triple-digit yardage and eight outings of double-digit targets.

9. I'm through pretending Saints wideout Lance Moore can only dominate the fantasy scene when playing at home or on lightning-fast FieldTurf-esque surfaces. His nine-catch, 121-yard performance against the Bucs was everything PPR-league owners could hope for—on a day when Drew Brees essentially completed a TD pass (Marques Colston, Darren Sproles, Joseph Morgan, David Thomas) to every Saints playmaker NOT named Moore.

10. Wow, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett wasn't blowing smoke when he hinted that Felix Jones (74 total yards) and Phillip Tanner (38 total yards) would essentially split carries against the Panthers. And after getting a sustained look at Tanner for the first time, he just might be Jones' equal on the receiving front, too.

Over time, that is...and both rushers may soon have plenty of it to grow into their new roles if DeMarco Murray's foot injury is serious.

11. Short of a stunning turnaround in the Panthers' final 10 games, I won't endorse Jonathan Stewart (46 total yards vs. Dallas) or DeAngelo Williams (four yards) as coveted rushing assets for the 2013 season. Individually speaking, they're too erratic to start in 12-team leagues. As a tandem, they're no longer a "handcuff" priority.

12. There's no reason to freak out about Dez Bryant's pedestrian outing of two catches and 14 yards, even if the three targets were his second-lowest output since 2011. Sunday clunker aside, Bryant remains a healthy bet for 90 yards and one touchdown against the Giants next week.

13. I wouldn't say boo to the fantasy GM who no longer wants to roster Green Bay's Jermichael Finley in 12-team leagues. Finley (two catches, 31 yards) may be a cog in one of the NFL's most progressive passing offenses, but his role has been greatly diminished through the emergence of receivers Randall Cobb (eight catches, 89 yards, two TD vs. St. Louis) and James Jones (NFL-high seven touchdowns).

Sad, but true: It's extremely easy to find two- or three-catch tight ends like Finley in free agency.

14. For the first time in seven NFL weekends, I didn't encounter one start-or-sit question that involved Robert Griffin III (347 total yards, two TD on Sunday) and an elite quarterback in the class of Rodgers, Brees, Tom Brady or Eli Manning.

That tells me one of two things:

a. Fantasy owners have already deemed Griffin (six games of 300 total yards and/or three TD) to be an automatic fantasy starter regardless of scoring rules or opposition.

b. Savvy GMs moved past the start/bench quandaries of Weeks 1-4 and traded either Griffin or Brees at the peak of their respective values, knowing only one could start each week.

c. My Twitter followers are too afraid to ask Griffin-related questions.

And finally...

15. I'm not buying or selling LaRod Stephens-Howling (149 total yards, one TD vs. Minnesota) as the Cardinals' redoubtable No. 1 rusher.

Yes, he outclassed William Powell for Week 7, but neither Stephens-Howling nor Powell (18 total yards on Sunday) has done enough to be trusted—or fully written off—for the remainder of the season.

So, before spending 60 percent of your FAAB budget on Stephens-Howling this week, here's one crucial question: Can you name the last Arizona playmaker, not named Larry Fitzgerald, to post back-to-back weeks of elite fantasy numbers?

That question applies to Cardinals wideout Andre Roberts (seven catches, 103 yards, one TD), as well.

Jay Clemons
can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.