Turner Over Peterson

If you ask any fantasy expert who they’re choosing first in their draft, it’s all about Adrian Peterson. After a tremendous rookie season in 2007, Peterson was nearly as good last year and seems to have replaced Tomlinson as the league’s best back. I still wouldn’t choose him first – I’d go with Michael Turner.

I’m not knocking Adrian Peterson’s ability. I’m not knocking him as a football player, but as a fantasy player he is just a tad bit unreliable to be the number one overall pick. Adrian Peterson is prone to injury. He was injured all through college. During his freshman year at Oklahoma in 2005 it was his ankle. In 2006 it was a broken collar bone.

He was also injured in the NFL. Just two years ago, as a rookie in the league, an injury to his right knee effectively ended his season. Because of Peterson’s blatantly aggressive style of play (which I happen to love), he’s simply a bigger injury risk than most running backs.

Peterson did play every game last season and those who owned him were lucky enough to enjoy a full season of the league’s best running back. The problem with this, though, is that he was injured in each of the preceding three seasons. It’s obviously possible that he plays every game in 2009, but I’d rather not bet against the odds again.

I had Adrian Peterson on my team in 2007. He carried me the whole regular season and when it came to the playoffs, he was out, and I got killed. So then I ask a very basic question. Is he the very best fantasy player, if there is a good chance come playoff time, the only touchdowns he’ll be scoring will be on a Gatorade commercial?

Michael Turner is Atlanta’s featured back, and he isn’t constantly getting injured. He had a monster season last year, and I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t have another one this season especially considering Atlanta’s favorable schedule. They open up against the Ford family run Lions. Then they play the pathetic Rams and the offensively charged Chargers, not exactly the top defenses in the league.

They then have a few tough games against Baltimore and the Patriots, but overall they are in a weak defensive division. The Saints don’t play much defense and the Bucs are rebuilding. The Panthers are the only defensively tough team in their division, and two of Atlanta’s last four games are against the Bucs and Saints. That means come fantasy playoff time, Turner will be going to work.

All in all, he’s a safer bet at running back. It all depends on your tolerance for risk, but I can rest assured in building the rest of my team around a solid RB like Turner, having the peace of mind to know he probably won’t be hurt.

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