Fantasy Football: Why Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson Is The Best 1st Pick

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Fantasy Football: Why Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson Is The Best 1st Pick
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Many fantasy football drafts are months away, but it is always best to get a head start. If you somehow wind up with the first pick in your draft, then you will glad you put in the extra preparation. 

The first pick is a wide open canvas, and while it is really hard to completely mess up, you’ll want to choose the best player available to get your team the most points every single week. 

That would be Adrian Peterson, running back for the Minnesota Vikings

Peterson is the safe choice, but he is also the best player available. Even if the 2012 MVP doesn’t rush for 2,000-plus yards like he did last season, he will still have a great year. 

The prevailing theory in fantasy football is to draft running backs early. This is because, in a 10-team snake draft, your next pick is at slot 20. By then, many of the good running backs will be off the board and you will be stuck with an injury-prone or unproductive player at a highly important position.

You can still draft a good quarterback with the 20th pick, as many of the high-level guys will still be available. 

This theory makes sense when looking at stats from 2012. Of the 10 highest-producing fantasy players, only one was a running back. That player was Peterson. The rest were signal-callers who line up directly under center. There are many good quarterbacks, but only a handful of elite runners.

You shouldn’t mess around with the No. 1 pick. 

Drafting Peterson gives your team the best player in the game and a chance to select a possible top-10 quarterback with your next choice. 

The Oklahoma product put up 307.40 fantasy points last season and his real stats were as good. The Minnesota superstar rushed for 2,097 yards, 13 total touchdowns and 6.0 yards per carry. He went on a complete tear throughout the season after just returning from a torn ACL and MCL

He played at a dizzying level and it showed for many lucky owners. Imagine how great he can be with another offseason to recover from his gruesome injury and continue to get better. 

Some fantasy football players might be turned off by a recent announcement from Leslie Frazier, head coach of the Vikings. He insists that Minnesota will attempt to run a balanced offense this coming season. 

"Our offense is always going to run through Adrian, but we want to be able to pass the ball better than we did a year ago,” Frazier told The Viking Age's Adam Carlson on Thursday. 

While that may be great for the team, it could be hurtful to Peterson’s fantasy owners. It won’t be something to worry about, though. 

In 2012, the Vikes were the second-best rushing team and the 31st-best passing team in the league. Obviously, something is going to have to change. 

Peterson carried the ball 348 times last season, second only to Arian Foster. He still ran for 673 more yards and accumulated 45.3 more fantasy points than Foster. 

Bob Levey/Getty Images

Peterson will no doubt see his carry total drop, but he is still a highly productive player and can do a lot with a little. He will still make the most of every carry and fight for every single yard (and fantasy point). 

Furthermore, if the Vikings do go to a passing attack, then they will need someone to convert the gains made through the air into six points. That someone will be Peterson. Christian Ponder, the Vikings quarterback, can make big throws to set up touchdowns.

However, it will be Peterson punching in points at the goal line and racking up touchdowns. Touchdowns are huge fantasy football points and this will be a boon to Peterson in 2013. 

“Purple Jesus” has finished as a top-three fantasy running back in five of his six seasons. There is no reason why he will not do the same once again. 

He is a consistent performer and one that you can rely upon to help your team win games. The Vikings play Carolina in Week 6 and travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in Week 9. These are both favorable matchups for Peterson, as each team allowed 20 or more fantasy points per game to the running back position in 2012. 

Owners will remember in Week 9 of last season that Peterson went on the road and torched the Seattle Seahawks to the tune of 31.3 fantasy points. He rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns. The Vikings play Seattle again, this time in Week 11. 

Additionally, Peterson put up 28 and 32 fantasy points in Weeks 13 and 17, respectively, against the division rival Green Bay Packers. Look for more of the same in 2013. 

Adrian Peterson is crafty, smart, tough and reliable. 

He should be the No. 1 pick in any fantasy football draft.

 

Fantasy stats courtesy of NFL.com.

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