I've been taking some heat around the SI KIDS Village lately.
I'm currently working on the 2009 SI KIDS Fantasy Football Preview (available in the SI Teen section of the August issue, though there will be an even bigger preview right here on SIKIDS.com in August!). And word has leaked about my pick for the top-ranked running back.
And since word has leaked here, I figured I'd let my loyal SIKIDS.com readers know...
It's not Adrian Peterson.
You all know I love "Stinky Pete." He's my favorite running back in the NFL to watch, and he's an absolute beast when he gets going. He had a monstrous 1,760 rushing yards last season, leading the NFL.
But Peterson has his flaws. On passing downs, he sits in favor of Chester Taylor. Receiving yards count just as much as rushing yards in fantasy football, and Peterson only had 125 receiving yards last season, good enough for 56th among NFL running backs!
On top of that, the Vikings offense hasn't been putting Peterson in position to rack up TDs. Stinky Pete had just 10 last season, tied for 12th-most among running backs. Heck, Cardinals running back Tim Hightower only rushed for 399 yards last season, but even he had 10 TDs!
For those reasons, Peterson enters 2009 as Number 2 on my list, just a hair behind my top choice: Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew.
Think about it. MJD's biggest flaw in his first three seasons is that he had to split time with Fred Taylor. But Taylor is gone, and the Jags don't have any experienced backs to threaten Jones-Drew's playing time.
As a part-time player last season, Jones-Drew had 824 rushing yards, but added a whopping 565 receiving yards. And despite Jacksonville's problems on offense, he still scored 14 TDs, four more than Peterson!
The Jags invested two high draft picks on offensive linemen in the NFL Draft (tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton), and added a solid veteran tackle in Tra Thomas (a long-time starter for the Eagles). Their o-line will be better.
Not to mention, while Peterson's bruising, upright running style makes him injury-prone, Jones-Drew's compact build gives him a better chance to stay healthy.
Because he doesn't catch many passes, Stinky Pete would have to absolutely tear it up to top 2,000 yards from scrimmage. Because of his pass-catching skills, MJD has a much better chance at reaching that mark (not to mention, a much better chance at scoring 15 TDs).
So there you have it. Just two of the more than 200 players I'll be ranking as part of the SIKIDS.com Fantasy Football Preview this August. Keep checking back for more hints as to who you'll see in the preview.
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