The New Orleans Saints pulled a surprising move on Tuesday, adding Adrian Peterson to their roster as they signed the free agent to a two-year deal.
Peterson joins Mark Ingram as the only other back with starting potential on the roster.
The move is a clear hit to Ingram’s value but it really depends on how Sean Payton plans on using the runners.
Ingram had 1,043 yards rushing last season with Tim Hightower adding 548. Hightower is now a 49er and it’s yet to be determined how Peterson will be used, though Payton has said he’d “complement” Ingram.
Ingram carried the ball 205 times with Hightower rushing 133 times last season. Six other Saints accounted for 64 carries. You could easily see all of those rushes go to Peterson this upcoming season.
This may end up being a 50/50 split in the end, which isn’t good for fantasy.
NFL teams see the value in having two running backs play in a significant amount of plays.
One thing is clear. You can’t select either of these guys in early rounds, unless it becomes apparent that one will take the lead role. Ingram was already going late in the second round. Push him even further down, though he has the slight edge over Peterson at this point. Stay tuned.
By now most of the pieces have fallen into place in the puzzle that is NFL free agency. While Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Jay Cutler have yet to find new homes, there have been quite a few moves that will affect the upcoming fantasy football season. Here’s a look at 15 of the biggest names, where they ended up and what kind of impact their new situations will have on fantasy football.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles—If you have any faith in Jeffery’s ability to stay healthy, this is the situation you want him to be in. Though he’s with a new team, he signed a one-year deal which automatically puts him in a contract year. He should be the No. 1 WR on the team, unless Jordan Matthews shows improvement. He’s a mid-level to high end WR2 with a second-year quarterback at the helm in Philly.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Giants—Either this will turn out to be a major shot in the arm for an offense that is already pretty good, or Marshall’s interest in life outside football becomes even more apparent. He made sure he stayed in New York, which allows him to keep hosting Inside the NFL during the season. He called himself the No. 2, alongside Sterling Shepard, behind Odell Beckham Jr. Check out his ADP before you waste a WR2 spot on him. Do not reach for him.
Terrelle Pryor, WR, Redskins—It’s unclear whether or not he’ll be able to reproduce the numbers he put up in Cleveland. Josh Doctson should be healthy this season and Jamison Crowder is likely to be the No. 1 receiver on the team. Pryor is a unique talent and could end up recording similar numbers to last season, but there are a lot of mouths to feed in Washington especially if Jordan Reed can stay healthy.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Seahawks—You may not want to touch him with a ten-foot pole after last season. But that means he might be available on the cheap. I don’t think you can expect to take him as a No. 1 or No. 2 running back on your team with Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise in Seattle. He’s going five RB spots after Thomas Rawls in some early mock drafts. If he slips to the sixth round, go ahead and give him a shot.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Buccaneers—If he can be himself for at least three quarters of the season, it will be a big help for Mike Evans owners. Evans had a monster season and that was with Adam Humphries being the second-most effective wideout. Jackson will be good for WR1 numbers in a handful of games but most likely a good flex option for most of the season.
Latavius Murray, RB, Vikings—His situation in Oakland has been really good for the past few years but he hasn’t been more than solid. He enters a much tougher situation in Minnesota so we’ll get a clearer picture of what kind of running back he really is. He’s going late in the third round in mock drafts, but even that is too early for me.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Packers—It always seems to be about potential with Bennett. He has a lot of it, but will this be the set of circumstances that will help him truly break out? If I had to choose, I’d say yes. Aaron Rodgers all but catches the ball for tight ends. He is going as early as the fourth round and as late as the 14th. Don’t pay too much, but if you get him late it could be a nice surprise.
Kenny Britt, WR, Browns—He has the talent and the size to put up solid WR2 numbers. He might put up numbers comparable to Pryor’s from 2016, but getting him early would be a risk.
Jared Cook, TE, Raiders—The playoff hero for Green Bay will try to add some firepower to a solid receiving corps. With Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree putting up nearly equal numbers on the outside, Cook could make some hay in the middle of the field.
Pierre Garcon, WR, 49ers—He’s reunited with his old coordinator from Washington in head coach Kyle Shanahan. The last time the two worked together, Garcon put up career numbers (113 receptions, 1,346 yards) with the Redskins in 2013. He should be the clear No. 1 in San Francisco and could do a lot worse than Brian Hoyer at quarterback.
Danny Woodhead, RB, Ravens—The versatile veteran puts a dent in the hopes people have for Kenneth Dixon. Woodhead will be a good dump off option and third down back for Baltimore.
Shaun Draughn, RB, Giants—This move is more about the impact it will have on Paul Perkins. The Giants signing Draughn seems to be a sign that they are happy with the backfield they have in place, meaning Perkins will have the best shot to be the 1st and 2nd down back.
Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots—Something tells me he may end up getting the ball in goal line situations. Dion Lewis and James White are threats to catch the ball out of the backfield so I would be surprised if Burkhead is anything more than a bye-week desperation play.
Brian Hoyer, QB, 49ers—He regains some fantasy relevance as the likely starter for the 49ers. He has some pieces to work with in Garcon and Carlos Hyde.
Mike Glennon, QB, Bears—Much like Hoyer, he may end up being serviceable in a pinch as a starter in Chicago.
As most leagues closed in on the fantasy football playoffs, Week 13 of NFL action went a bit haywire. Other than the usual high scores from David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell, a lot of the usual top performers fell flat. Sure, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers were all OK, but Drew Brees and Colin Kaepernick probably dashed playoff hopes for some fantasy owners.
Brees threw for over 300 yards but added three interceptions and zero touchdowns while Kaepernick completed just one pass for four yards before getting benched.
The biggest games by quarterbacks were recorded by Derek Carr, Carson Palmer and Matt Stafford. Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton offered surprising performances from the position as well.
Flacco threw for over 300 yards for just the third time this season while throwing four touchdowns for the first time this year.
Dalton threw for more than 300 yards and at least two touchdowns for the first time since Week 6. It was quite an impressive performance from a quarterback missing a key running back, Gio Bernard, and his top receiver, A.J. Green.
Johnson, Bell and Melvin Gordon all continued to produce like usual. Devonta Freeman, Spencer Ware and Latavius Murray recorded big games. LeSean McCoy, Jordan Howard and Thomas Rawls rounded out a good week for running backs.
Howard had his biggest game since Week 8, scoring three touchdowns and rushing for 117 yards. McCoy had his second straight 100-yard rushing game after not having one since Week 6. He had a great game despite Mike Gillislee taking away two short-yardage touchdowns.
Thomas Rawls finally broke out for owners who have waited on him all season. He may have a tough Week 16 matchup, but not before having two good matchups in the next two weeks.
The biggest rushing disappointments were Lamar Miller, Todd Gurley and Jonathan Stewart.
Other than Jordy Nelson, Odell Beckham and Julio Jones, the top wide receivers in Week 13 were most likely riding the pine for owners. Tyler Lockett, Ted Ginn, Albert Wilson and Brandon LaFell would all have been strange starts heading into the week.
Golden Tate seemed to benefit the most from the Lions’ matchup with the Saints. He caught eight passes for 145 yards and a touchdown.
The good news kind of ends there in what was supposed to be the most productive matchup of the week for fantasy scoring.
If you started a Saints skill player not named Coby Fleener, you were disappointed this week. Brees, Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower all had games to forget.
Rather than talk about the worst performances this week by starting wideouts (Davante Adams, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Evans), I’d rather talk about the return of the high-scoring tight end.
Ladarius Green, a preseason sleeper who finally woke up, caught six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Travis Kelce had his third straight 100-yard game while Dennis Pitta scored twice on his way to 90 yards receiving.
Cameron Brate, Jimmy Graham, Zach Ertz and Fleener all had big days as well. One disappointment was Martellus Bennett, who is taking over for an injured Rob Gronkowski. He had just two catches for four yards.
To add to a bizarre week, Stephen Gostowski and Matt Prater scored more points than a lot of receivers and running backs this week. Gostkowski connected on four 40-plus-yard field goals while Prater made five field goals, including a 52-yarder.
On the defensive front the Broncos had a great game, as did the Ravens. Denver logged a touchdown, two interceptions, a sack and a fumble recovery. The Ravens had three picks and two sacks while allowing just six points.
Waiver wire suggestions:
Alex Smith, Chiefs (He has two good matchups before Week 16.)
Adrian Peterson, Vikings (Just in case.)
Mike Gillislee, Bills (Vulture opportunities, plus a favorable schedule.)
Ted Ginn Jr., Panthers (Three straight games with a touchdown.)
The early fantasy football season continues to offer up surprises to go along with some depressing news for fantasy owners.
Here’s a look at Week 2’s notable developments.
If you thought Travis Benjamin, Stefon Diggs and Corey Coleman would be the top fantasy receivers in Week 2 then you deserve to be congratulated. Benjamin filled the void left by Keenan Allen, catching six passes for 115 yards and two scores for the Chargers. Diggs continued to solidify himself as the no. 1 receiver in Minnesota as he hauled in nine passes for 182 yards and a touchdown. The rookie Coleman caught five balls for 104 yards and two touchdowns for the Browns.
In addition to those somewhat surprising results, there were quite a few bounce-back performances in Week 2.
Dez Bryant caught seven passes for 102 yards to make up for a terrible start to the season. Brandon Marshall also eclipsed 100 yards receiving on Thursday night after a bad first week.
Though Cam Newton did fine in Week 1, his performance in Week 2 reminded us of how great he was last year. He threw for 353 yards and four touchdowns while adding 37 rushing yards.
Another quarterback who flashed some signs from last season was Tyrod Taylor, who had 297 yards passing, three touchdowns and 25 yards rushing.
There were a few surprising performances in the first week of the season, but Week 2 proved that a few of those players were no frauds.
Will Fuller continues to impress for the Texans as he’s the first first-round pick to have 100 yards receiving in each of his first two NFL games. Another rookie that continued to put up good numbers was the Giants’ Sterling Shepard who caught 8 passes on 8 targets for 117 yards.
On the running back front, doubters of Matt Forte and DeMarco Murray were shut up for the second week in a row. Forte scored three touchdowns and gained 100 yards on Thursday for the Jets while Murray gained 145 total yards for the Titans. Melvin Gordon paid off again as he rushed for 102 yards and scored a touchdown.
I was high on Derek Carr as the season started and he’s proving to be a top-8 quarterback so far this season. He had 299 yards passing and 3 touchdowns in Week 2.
Despite the continued success of some Week 1 heroes, Week 2 was a nightmare for a lot of fantasy owners. If you got through the weekend unscathed consider yourself lucky.
Seven fantasy running back starters were injured in Week 2. The biggest of them all was Adrian Peterson, who left the Sunday night contest with an apparent knee injury. He left the game having rushed for just 19 yards on 12 carries.
Another big blow came earlier in the day when Danny Woodhead was carted off the field in the Chargers game against the Jaguars in the first quarter. He’d already gained 27 yards on three carries as he was expected to play a bigger role in the passing game with top wideout Allen out for an extended period.
Thomas Rawls, Jonathan Stewart, Doug Martin, Ameer Abdullah and (big surprise) Arian Foster all went out with injuries on Sunday.
Here’s a look to the waiver wire for some help:
Dwayne Washington, Lions (4 touches-31 yards)
Jerick McKinnon, Vikings (3-1)
Charles Sims, Tampa Bay (12-28)
Fozzy Whittaker, Panthers (19-131)
Chris Johnson, Cardinals (16-54, TD)
Kenyon Drake, Dolphins (4-18, TD)
Sam Bradford, Vikings (286 yards, 2 TDs)
The fantasy football season opened up the throttle on Sunday, and there were definitely some high-octane performances.
Andrew Luck started his attempt at a bounce-back year with a stellar performance; he threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns without committing a turnover. Drew Brees might have been the top scorer of the week had he not lost a fumble. He threw for 423 yards and four touchdowns, including a 98-yard score to Brandin Cooks. And A.J. Green had a brilliant start, catching 12 of his 13 targets for 180 yards and a 54-yard touchdown.
The best performance by a running back came from the waiver wire pickup of the week, Spencer Ware. Once word got out that Jamaal Charles wasn’t quite ready, owners rushed to pick up his main backup before the season kicked off.
Ware didn’t disappoint as he rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown while catching seven passes for an additional 129 yards.
At the tight end spot, both of the Colts’ ends found paydirt. Dwayne Allen caught four passes for 53 yards and a touchdown while Jack Doyle had three catches for 35 yards and two scores.
The top defense of the week started slow but turned it on in the second half. Minnesota allowed 16 points to the Titans but forced three turnovers and added two sacks in addition to scoring two touchdowns.
It wasn’t all positive in the fantasy world. Quite a few players had some games to forget:
At the top of that list has to be Dez Bryant, who caught just one pass for 8 yards in the Cowboys’ loss to the Giants. He had a touchdown called back when it was reviewed and determined that he didn’t control the ball before touching out of bounds in the end zone.
Brandon Marshall, the top option for the Jets, had just three catches for 32 yards despite being targeted eight times.
Sammy Watkins also disappointed as he caught four passes for 43 yards. Additionally, Tyler Lockett, who was expected to break out for the Seahawks, had just three catches for 17 yards.
At running back, we saw Devonta Freeman produce just 40 total yards as Tevin Coleman gained 117 yards on 13 touches for the Falcons.
In Tennessee, Adrian Peterson rushed for just 31 yards as the Titans were able to key on the run with Shaun Hill starting at quarterback for the Vikings.
A striking theme from Sunday was the great performances from second-year players. Jameis Winston, David Johnson, Melvin Gordon, Donte Moncrief and Stefon Diggs all produced well to start their sophomore seasons.
Cooks, also in his second season, had 143 yards and two touchdowns.
Unfortunately we saw Keenan Allen go down with a torn ACL after catching six passes for 63 yards. And word broke on Monday that Robert Griffin III could be done for the season with a shoulder fracture. Russell Wilson also has a sprained ankle to be monitored.
With that, look to the waiver wire:
Alex Smith, Chiefs (363 passing yards, 3 total TDs)
Carson Wentz, Eagles (278, TD)
Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots (264, TD)
Dak Prescott, Cowboys (227, 0 turnovers)
Will Fuller, Texans (5 catches, 107 yards, TD)
Mike Wallace, Ravens (6-91, TD)
Chris Hogan, Patriots (60, TD)
Nelson Agholor, Eagles (57, TD)
Sterling Shepard, Giants (43, TD)
Victor Cruz, Giants (34, TD)
Tajae Sharpe, Titans (7-76)
Michael Thomas, Saints (6-58)
It’s the final weekend before the fantasy football season kicks off. Here’s a look at my position rankings for the upcoming season. For quarterbacks I’ve listed two deep for a 12-team league. I’ve listed three deep for running backs and four deep for wide receivers. I’ve also listed the top 12 tight ends and defense/special teams.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2. Cam Newton, Panthers—I don’t think he’ll be quite as productive as he was last year, which is why I have him behind Aaron Rodgers.
3. Russell Wilson, Seahawks
4. Andrew Luck, Colts
5. Drew Brees, Saints
6. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
7. Tom Brady, Patriots
8. Blake Bortles, Jaguars
9. Carson Palmer, Cardinals—I’ve dropped him a couple of spots from the last time out because he hasn’t looked great in preseason. Plus there’s always the fear of him getting hurt. If he stays healthy, he’s got the weapons to end up as a top-5 quarterback.
10. Eli Manning, Giants
11. Philip Rivers, Chargers
12. Derek Carr, Raiders
13. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets
14. Tyrod Taylor, Bills
15. Kirk Cousins, Redskins
16. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers
17. Matthew Stafford, Lions
18. Andy Dalton, Bengals
19. Marcus Mariota, Titans
20. Matt Ryan, Falcons
21. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
22. Alex Smith, Chiefs
23. Jay Cutler, Bears
24. Brock Osweiler, Texans
1. David Johnson, Cardinals—I think he has the potential to be the best back in the league. That said, he will probably not be the first running back taken in your draft. If not, make sure you don’t pass him up.
2. Todd Gurley, Rams
3. Adrian Peterson, Vikings
4. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys
5. Lamar Miller, Texans
6. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers
7. Eddie Lacy, Packers
8. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
9. Mark Ingram, Saints
10. LeSean McCoy, Bills
11. Devonta Freeman, Falcons
12. Doug Martin, Buccaneers
13. C.J. Anderson, Broncos
14. Latavius Murray, Raiders
15. Thomas Rawls, Seahawks
16. Jeremy Hill, Bengals
17. Matt Forte, Jets
18. DeMarco Murray, Titans
19. Carlos Hyde, 49ers
20. Jeremy Langford, Bears
21. Melvin Gordon, Chargers
22. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
23. Ryan Mathews, Eagles
24. Frank Gore, Colts
25. DeAngelo Williams, Steelers
26. Arian Foster, Dolphins
27. Matt Jones, Redskins
28. Chris Ivory, Jaguars
29. Gio Bernard, Bengals
30. Derrick Henry, Titans
31. Rashad Jennings, Giants
32. Duke Johnson, Browns
33. Danny Woodhead, Chargers
34. Ameer Abdullah, Lions
35. Isaiah Crowell, Browns
36. Christine Michael, Seahawks
1. Antonio Brown, Steelers
2. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants
3. Julio Jones, Falcons
4. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans—Really excited to see what he can do with Will Fuller, Jaelen Strong and Braxton Miller spreading the defense thin.
1. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
2. Jordan Reed, Redskins
3. Greg Olsen, Panthers
4. Travis Kelce, Chiefs
5. Delanie Walker, Titans
6. Coby Fleener, Saints
7. Gary Barnidge, Browns—He may not duplicate last year’s numbers, but Robert Griffin III could use him as a security blanket.
8. Tyler Eifert, Bengals
9. Julius Thomas, Jaguars
10. Antonio Gates, Chargers
11. Zach Ertz, Eagles
12. Jimmy Graham, Seahawks
5. Texans—They’ve got a Week 1 matchup against a hurting Bears offense and J.J. Watt may be healthy enough to play by then.
With NFL training camps in full swing, I decided to take another stab at a mock draft to help prepare for the upcoming fantasy football season. This time I entered a standard league, 12-team draft on ESPN’s website. Last time out, I drafted in a 10-team standard league on NFL.com. Here’s a look at the team I selected this time around.
Round (overall pick) Player, Pos., Team
1st (4) Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
2nd (21) Brandon Marshall, WR, Jets
3rd (28) Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders
4th (45) Jeremy Maclin, WR, Chiefs
5th (52) Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals
6th (69) Drew Brees, QB, Saints
7th (76) Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles
8th (93) Ladarius Green, TE, Steelers
9th (100) Willie Snead, WR, Saints
10th (117) Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons
11th (124) Markus Wheaton, WR, Steelers
12th (141) Texans defense
13th (148) Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
14th (165) Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings
15th (172) Matt Prater, K, Lions
16th (189) Jordan Cameron, TE, Dolphins
With 12 teams in this mock league I decided to make sure I went with running backs in two of my first three picks. Interesting to note is that before I selected Adrian Peterson with the fourth pick, three receivers were already off the board (Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr., in that order). Also of note, the next three running backs selected were Todd Gurley (5th), Ezekiel Elliott (6th) and David Johnson (8th). Dez Bryant went 7th overall, which is a bit high in my estimation, since he went ahead of DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green and Jamaal Charles.
It was a little surprising that the suspended Le’Veon Bell, who’s set to miss the first four games of the season, managed to sneak into the first round at no. 12 overall. That seems a little high for a player that will miss a quarter of the season. I’d look for him early in the second round of a 12-team league. He can put you over the top, but not if you’re using your first pick on him.
My WR1 is Brandon Marshall, and I see no reason he’d drop off, especially now that he has Ryan Fitzpatrick back behind the center. Fitzpatrick knows how to get the ball to his big receivers and Marshall going at 21 overall went right about where he probably should. I selected Jeremy Maclin as my WR2 and if he’s targeted 124 times, like he was last season, he could prove to be a solid pick at 45th overall.
I was able to grab an aging Drew Brees with the 69th overall pick, so I have to hope he stays healthy and that his young receivers come along. Derek Carr, who I picked in the 13th round, is my backup and we’ll see if he makes a big jump with weapons like Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray. Murray, who I selected in the 3rd round is expected to be a do-everything back for the Raiders if he doesn’t let rookie DeAndre Washington take away touches.
That leaves me with Jeremy Hill and Jordan Matthews as my flex options. I feel good about both, hoping Hill has a bounce-back season, though he did score 11 rushing touchdowns last year. Matthews has scored eight touchdowns in each of his first two seasons and looks to go over 1,000 yards for the first time. If he’s around in the seventh, you’d be lucky.
Ladarius Green, the tight end who I selected at 93 overall, should excite some owners as he joins a prolific Steelers offense.
Other notes from this mock draft:
Seven wide receivers were selected in the first round, including Allen Robinson.
Jamaal Charles was taken in the second round, he should go higher.
Jordy Nelson went 14th overall and I’d be nervous about that if I made that selection early in the second. I’m in the minority.
Lamar Miller, who the Texans will let loose on the field, went 16th. Wouldn’t be surprised if he goes higher in most drafts.
There are options at RB in the third round, with Eddie Lacy, Matt Forte, Murray and Carlos Hyde all going in that round.
T.Y. Hilton, who went 39th overall, might be undervalued if Andrew Luck returns to previous form.
The Cardinals defense was the first to go at 89, followed by the Broncos at 95 and the Seahawks at 113.