Recently, I drew the top pick in my fantasy football draft, which is set to take place in the near future. My immediate thought: "Nice. I finally got LT."
I've always been a big Adrian Peterson fan, and during the week following the drawing for fantasy draft slots, I did some research and really thought deeply regarding running backs.
I wasn't necessarily trying to decide who to take with the No. 1 overall pick (I was pretty certain that I would take LaDainian Tomlinson), but rather just trying to educate myself a little further than, "LT is simply incredible. 'All Day' needs a little more time."
During this time, I became more and more fond of the player I had already come to believe has the potential to be one of the best, if not the best, running back in NFL history.
That player being Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings.
I know has a history of injuries.
And I know Tomlinson, by last year's statistics, has an easier schedule to rush against.
And, yes, I know he rounded out last season fairly poorly.
But hear me out. And hear out my top three reasons for drafting A.D. with the No. 1 pick.
While LaDainian Tomlinson led the NFL in rushing yards in 2007 with 1,474 yards, Adrian Peterson had the second most with 1,341. How is this an edge for Peterson?
Well, if you recall, Peterson was not the Vikings' premier running back; he split carries with Chester Taylor. This translates, statistically, in yards per carry, a category that Peterson (5.6 YPC on 238 carries) trailed only Falcons' running back Jerious Norwood (6.0 YPC on 103 carries) in 2007.
Peterson led the entire NFL in yards per game, with 96 YPG to Tomlinson's 92 YPG.
In 2008, Peterson will be the premier back in Minnesota and should carry the load, allowing him to pick up more carries. I believe this increase in carries, as his yards per carry statistics would project, will directly translate to an increase in total yardage.
2) Vikings vs. Chargers
Both Minnesota and San Diego are poised for great seasons. Having your running back on a good team is key (bad team = tons of passes, good team = tons of runs). Neither team has a problem here, both the Vikings and Chargers are going to be very good teams in 2008.
However, the Chargers have many offensive weapons: the best tight end in the NFL in Antonio Gates, a huge threat at receiver in Chris Chambers, and a rising quarterback who should have a great season in Philip Rivers. The Vikings, on the other hand, have Adrian Peterson and only Adrian Peterson.
The offense will be put on the backfield's shoulders. With Peterson heading the backfield with his incredible speed, great size, great strength, amazing field vision, and just absurd natural talent, he will put up fantastic numbers (which is what matters in fantasy football).
One of the key reasons LaDainian Tomlinson is regarded as the top fantasy running back is because he is a "touchdown monster". But last season, LT played in all 16 games and had an NFL-leading 15 touchdowns, while Adrian "All Day" Peterson played in only 14 games and had the second most in the NFL (12 TDs).
So while LT is regarded as a "touchdown monster", he had just three more touchdowns than "All Day" in two more games.
I know Tomlinson will still be one of the best players in football, but he is getting older. At 29, he's approaching the age that we all know running backs tend to slump at, the big 30, while Peterson is young and primed to improve. I'm not predicting that LT won't be fantastic, because he will. But in the words of Ryan Alberti, I'm just saying, is all.
Eighth NFL game. Plain and simple.
There you have it. And now you know why, come draft day, Peterson will be the first one off the board when he jumps onto my roster.
Feel free to bash and banter, but please be coherent and factual.