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Adrian Peterson: Fantasy Football Projection for 2018

AdrianPeterson_signing_2018_redskins.jpg

At 33, Adrian Peterson is old for a running back. He was a free agent until the Washington Redskins lost nearly all of their running backs in the preseason. On Monday, the Redskins signed Peterson to a one-year contract. Washington has already lost second-round pick Derrius Guice for the season to a torn ACL while Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall are dealing with ankle injuries that are preventing them from practicing. Peterson will join Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley and Kapri Bibbs as the healthy running backs on the roster.

2017 Season Recap

Prior to the start of the 2017 season, Peterson signed a two-year deal with New Orleans. After four games in which he was ineffective, the Saints traded Peterson to Arizona, who had lost David Johnson to a season-ending wrist injury in Week 1. In six games with the Cardinals, Peterson ran for just 448 yards and two scores before suffering a neck injury in Week 12 and ending the season on injured reserve. In 10 total games, Peterson averaged just 3.4 yards per carry and also lost two fumbles. Peterson said in May that he was cleared to play but no teams showed serious interest until Washington this week. He’s clearly not the player that he was when he was in his 20s, but the Redskins also have a need to add at running back. Before signing Peterson, the team also worked out Jamaal Charles and Orleans Darkwa, among others.

2018 Expectations

Assuming he makes the active roster, Peterson will most likely share carries with Perine, assuming he's healthy, as well as Kelley. Chris Thompson will get the bulk of the passing down work as well as some occasional carries. Peterson may be given goal-line work, which will help his fantasy value, but touchdowns are hard to count on. The important thing to note is Peterson is no longer an every-down, workhorse type of back. There's also the problem that there's no way to know how the backfield touches will be distributed on a week-to-week basis. Before Guice went down, Washington's backfield carried plenty of fantasy appeal and intrigue. Now, it's one to avoid as much as possible.

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Where to Draft

Peterson will likely be drafted higher than he should be because of name value. However, this is a 33-year-old who under-performed last year and is now in a situation where he’s going to be sharing carries. If you want to see how much he has left in the tank, at least wait until the late rounds or pick him up off of the waiver wire. Peterson is probably nothing more than a RB4 or end-of-the-bench fodder.

-- Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

And don’t forget to pick up your copy of Athlon Sports’ 2018 Fantasy Football magazine, available for purchase online and at newsstands everywhere.

Athlon Sports 2018 Fantasy Football Magazine

(Top photo by Garrett Campbell/Washington Redskins, courtesy of www.redskins.com)