Saints Sign Adrian Peterson
Michael Nazarek - 4/26/2017
After failing to gain much traction early during free agency, free-agent veteran RB Adrian Peterson has finally found a home. After passing a physical, the New Orleans Saints signed the 32-year old, hoping he can recapture some of that magic he had just a few years ago as a Minnesota Viking. Of course, the immediate question that comes to mind is what does this mean for RB Mark Ingram and the rest of the Saints running game? Well, Ingram had a big year in 2016 despite seeing just 205 carries. The team kept him fresh by using veteran RB Tim Hightower in a complimentary role, and it resulted in 1,043 rushing yards, a gaudy 5.1 yards per carry average, and a total of 10 TDs, including 46 catches for 319 yards and four of those scores. The addition of Peterson, whom replaces Hightower in the offense, figures to extend the options the Saints have with their talented running back corps.
HC Sean Payton says the two backs will blend well. Peterson will have a clear role on the team. "It's a tough, long 16-week season," Payton said. "I think he's someone that will certainly be able to complement Mark. Those guys are different in some ways, but we feel like we've added another quality player. ... We think he has more years in his career." Translation for fantasy owners? Look for Ingram to remain the lead back, but for Peterson to see just as much time in relief as Hightower did last year (133 carries), as long as his health and production hold up. The Saints could also use Peterson late in games as a bruiser to run out the clock when they have a lead. One thing Peterson doesn't figure to do much of is catch passes. He was never a big pass-catcher in Minnesota, and Ingram is one of the best at catching passes in the league. Remember, the Saints also have speedy, undersized RB Travaris Cadet on the roster, so he figures to catch some passes as well.
Bottom Line: Payton doesn't want to overuse his backs, so look for Ingram to likely remain only a borderline top 10 fantasy back at best in 2017. That said, there is a chance that if Peterson has early success for the Saints at the goal, Ingram could lose out on a few chances for scores, making him a better #2 fantasy RB than a #1 guy. As for Peterson, his ceiling is likely 600-700 rushing yards with 6-8 scores, making him barely a top 40 fantasy RB. And if he begins to break down again, all bets are off. In other words, smart fantasy owners would be wise not to over-reach for him in their drafts later this summer.
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