The Great Fantasy Football Debate: Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson?

Jordan Heck@@JordanHeckFFContributor IIIJune 28, 2010

Every year it's the same question: Which player would you take number one overall in fantasy football?

In 2008 it was Adrian Peterson or LaDainian Tomlinson. Last year it was Adrian Peterson or Michael Turner. This year it's Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson.

Chris Johnson had a great rookie campaign in 2008 as a split-back with LenDale White. Johnson had 1,228- rushing- yards along with 9 touchdowns. While White had 773 rushing- yards along with 15 touchdowns. Now one is coming off of a 2,000— yard rushing season, and the other is without a team.

Last year I had the eighth pick in my fantasy football league, and I debated on whether or not I should draft Houston Texans running back Steve Slaton or Chris Johnson. I picked Slaton, who had a case of fumbleitis before sustaining an injured neck in Week 13 that put him out for season.

Chris Johnson is unlike any other running back in this year's fantasy football draft. He has so much hype surrounding him that he's destined to let people down. Not only that, but he's currently in contract disputes where he has been quoted as saying, "I can't play for $550,000."

Adrian Peterson on the other hand has been the debated number one running back selection for the past two years. He's proved over and over again that he will put up numbers. He didn't have a monster year of 2,000— yards, but he still put up 1,383— yards with 18 touchdowns last season. That's double Chris Johnson's touchdown amount.

Any fantasy football buff would tell you that touchdowns are crucial to winning games. There were only four games in 2009 where Peterson didn't score at least one touchdown. In three of those games he rushed for at least 80- yards (143 in one of them) so even when he isn't scoring he's at least putting up decent yards.

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However, you can't overlook Chris Johnson's consistency. He finished 2009 with 11-straight 100-yard performances. In most leagues that is 10 points week-in and week-out—a decent day in the office.

Not to mention, Johnson is a fantastic receiver out of the backfield. Johnson had 50 receptions for 503 -yards and two touchdowns in 2009, and in 2008 he had 43 catches for 260-  yards and one touchdown.

It's absurd to think that Johnson will put up back-to-back 2,000- yard rushing seasons. Although not impossible, it's highly unlikely. He may have another successful season, but don't expect him to do what he did last year.

Peterson has his faults as well. How could I write a fantasy football article on Adrian Peterson and not bring up the fumbling issues? In his three years with the Minnesota Vikings, Adrian Peterson has fumbled the ball 20 times and lost it 13 times. That's not including the postseason where his troubles continued.

The fumbling problem is the only thing keeping Peterson from being unstoppable. He has speed through the holes, power to bulldoze over people, and the stamina to last the entire game. With Chicago signing Chester Taylor, it leaves the Vikings with Ian Johnson and rookie Toby Gerhart as backups.

In the off-chance that I end up with the first pick in my league's draft, I would choose Adrian Peterson. Johnson is going to miss training camp time if he doesn't get a new deal soon, and I trust Peterson more than Johnson. If I do end up with Johnson on my fantasy football team, well, that wouldn't be so bad either.

VIA: The Cover Two