AP is back in the NFL, but don’t get fooled again.
Peterson has agreed to a deal with Washington, first reported by Ian Rapoport and Mike Garofolo. Washington brought Peterson in for a workout on Sunday.
The move comes out of necesity for Washington, who lost second round pick Derrius Guice to a torn ACL after two quarters of preseason action. The team was preparing to make Guice the lead back, or at least handle the bulk of the action until Chris Thompson is cleared to return from a broken fibula. Thompson is on track to play Week 1, but still hasn’t completed a full-contact practice this summer.
The other option could be Samaje Perine, who was drafted early in the fourth round in 2017. Perine was originally supposed to take the mantle, but the back struggled in his rookie season. After ripping off a big run against the Jets last week, Perine went down with a slight ankle injury. He should be ok, but it was another sign to Washington that they were running thin on the position.
Washington also brought in veterans Orleans Darkwa and Jamaal Charles for workouts.
But now they have Peterson, who turned 33 in March. According to Washington tackle Trent Williams, Peterson “Hasn’t lost a step.” While it’s true Peterson is only a few years removed from rushing for nearly 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns, it’s evident that he has in fact lost a step over the last few seasons.
While maintaining elite physical shape, Peterson no longer has the burst or power that made him the league’s best running back. It was blatant in New Orleans, where Peterson made a splash signing last offseason. One of the biggest fantasy questions was regarding the backfield workload in New Orleans, and it was quickly settled that the meritocracy did not favor Peterson. He struggled as a Saint, rushing for 3.4 yards a carry and clashing with Sean Payton on the sidelines. Peterson was traded to the Cardinals in early October, and rushed 129 times for 448 yards in one of the league’s worst offenses. The Cardinals parted ways with Peterson in March, a sign that the running back’s career could be over.
Now he’s back, once again trying to throw a wrench in your fantasy strategy. What’s the best way to approach drafting Peterson this year?
AP is just hype at this point, and you can ask every owner that was burned by him last year. Without his power and explosiveness, Peterson struggles to break tackles and advance to the next level of the defense. That makes him an overwhelmingly average running back, which is something Washington could use at this point. It’s a good football pickup for Washington, but shouldn’t have much value this season unless there’s a tasty matchup. For now, the only Washington back worth targeting is Chris Thompson if his injury history causes his ADP to drop.
Verdict: Stay Away