In a somewhat continuation of the projections versus rankings post from yesterday, now we’re back to the example that brought out the projections versus rankings discussion in the first place. The Maurice Jones-Drew, a.k.a. Pocket Hercules, or Adrian “All-Day” Peterson or someone else at #1 overall debate. I already let it slip earlier that I have Peterson in my #1 spot, and yes, even in a point per reception scoring league I’d have a tough time passing on Peterson if I had the entire NFL universe available to me. The reason essentially comes down to potential. When I think pure talent at the RB position, Peterson right now is in a class of his own.
Jones-Drew is a great player, but one who has never rushed the ball more than 200 times a year. Peterson almost did that in the latter half of 2008 (188 carries). Matt Forte looked impressive a year ago as a rookie, but really came across as a bit of stat compiler to me, as opposed to overwhelming me with natural talent. LaDainian Tomlinson is an incredible talent, but are his best years behind him? While a rebound is not out of the question by any stretch, the carries and years seem to be catching up to him.
There is risk with any player. No player is a lock to perform. Just ask anyone who “played it safe” drafting Tom Brady last year. I see risk with each of Jones-Drew, Forte, Tomlinson and right on down the list through the typical 1st round, but I’m not naive enough to think Peterson has no risk. Peterson hasn’t been a TD machine in his first 2 seasons, scoring 12 in 2007 and 10 in 2008. He’s young but the carries are adding up quickly. Beyond injury concerns, Peterson’s quarterback is perhaps the worst of the bunch here, and even if Brett Favre comes to town, will that be a positive or negative impact on the team with the inevitable media circus following him to Minnesota? Hard to say. So, they all have risk, but Peterson has in my mind, the least downside risk and the most upside risk of them all.
Peterson is the consensus #1 pick in fantasy football, and my pick for the top player this season. It is only a mock, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll get him at the #2 spot. This is point-per-reception scoring, and in the prior mock draft Jones-Drew went #1. And… and… Peterson went at 1.01. Well, Jones-Drew is a great consolation at the 1.02. The Cheatsheet Compiler does have him #1 afterall (wink), plus he’s got a better nickname.
The graphic is a preview of the 1st round of the mock draft, and ongoing pick commentary will be available soon.