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2012 Draft Prep: Not the year to gamble on AP

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Christmas Eve 2011 wasn't fun for Adrian Peterson, the Vikings or Fantasy owners. Everyone got stuck with a bad wish list. We all must have been naughty.

Peterson suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee the day before Christmas against the Redskins, and his comeback has been one of the biggest storylines this offseason. We all hope Peterson will be ready for Week 1 against Jacksonville, and Fantasy owners want to know where to take him on Draft Day.

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If you're asking me, the answer is stay away based on where you have to draft him. The prediction here is Peterson will have the worst season of his career, and I don't want him on my Fantasy team based on the cost. I'll let someone else reach for Peterson, and I would only draft him if he fell to the right spot, which is likely Round 4.

Average Draft Position shows Peterson being drafted in Round 2, which is too expensive for me. I'd rather take my chances with Ryan Mathews, Fred Jackson, Jamaal Charles, Trent Richardson or Ahmad Bradshaw, who are all being taken after Peterson based on ADP. All of them have a healthier outlook coming into the season than Peterson.

For starters, let's take a look at running backs coming back from a torn ACL. Over the past 15 years, some of the more prominent running backs to suffer a torn ACL include Jamal Anderson (hurt in 1999), Terrell Davis (1999), Edgerrin James (2001), Jamal Lewis (2001), Deuce McAllister (2005) and Ronnie Brown (2007).

The good news is that nearly all of these running backs had success the year after getting hurt. Only Davis didn't return to form after suffering his torn ACL, but Anderson (1,400 total yards and six touchdowns), James (1,300 total yards and three touchdowns), Lewis (1,700 total yards and seven touchdowns), McAllister (1,200 total yards and 10 touchdowns) and Brown (1,100 total yards and 10 touchdowns) were all successful.

The bad news for Peterson's comeback is all of these running backs got hurt early in the year. Brown suffered his torn ACL the latest in Week 7 in 2007. They all had ample recovery time to return the following year. It's why we like Charles (torn ACL in Week 2 last season) to be a better Fantasy option this season over Peterson because he should be farther along in his recovery.

Peterson has said he is preparing to face the Jaguars in the season opener, even though he has been limited in training camp and won't play in the preseason.

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"My goals are still the same," Peterson told the Minnesota media last week. "I look forward to being back the first week."

We're glad Peterson is optimistic, but the Vikings seem to be taking a more cautious approach, which is smart. They need to save Peterson from himself if need be, and coach Leslie Frazier doesn't want to take any chances with his best player rushing back too soon from a serious injury.

"We need to determine what's the next step," Frazier said in a news conference. "We have some ideas of how we want to approach it, but a lot of it is how he feels with some of the things we're going to give him."

What the Vikings should do is ease Peterson back into action. The smart thing would be to sit him out for a couple of weeks and rely on Toby Gerhart, who is looking like a great value pick in Round 9 based on his ADP. Gerhart could end up playing a vital role for the Vikings this year if Peterson suffers any sort of setback.

Instead, look for Peterson's first game action since the injury to come against Jacksonville. Any owner who invested in him in Round 2 or higher will be holding their breath the first time he touches the ball. I don't want that kind of anxiety. This is just Fantasy Football, after all.

If you're inclined to draft Peterson just make sure to invest in Gerhart. At least he'll have you covered should Peterson go down again.

Believe me, none of us want to see Peterson standing on the sidelines. He has been one of the best Fantasy running backs during his career, and we want him healthy and active. His production speaks for itself. He has double digits in touchdowns in all five years of his career, and prior to last season he never had fewer than 1,500 total yards. But he did all of that production on two good knees, and his health status has me concerned.

This will likely be the worst season of Peterson's career. He's not someone I plan to target on Draft Day. I hate having to say that, but his knee injury will prevent him from being a superstar Fantasy option in 2012.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Two red-lighted by Buccaneers for Week 9 game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:46 pm ET) Linebacker Brandon Magee (knee) and kick returner Trindon Holliday (hamstring) have been ruled out by the Buccaneers for their Sunday game in Cleveland.

Those listed as doubtful are tackle Anthony Collins (foot) and featured back Doug Martin (ankle). Defensive end Michael Johnson (hand) is questionable while center Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee) and wideout Vincent Jackson (rib) are probable.


Browns list 10 players on final injury report for Week 9
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:32 pm ET) The Browns listed 10 players on its final injury report leading up to Week 9 against Tampa Bay. Jordan Cameron (concussion) and Phillip Taylor (knee) were the only two players ruled out for Sunday. Rodney Smith is the only questionable on the list.

Meanwhile, Desmond Bryant (wrist), Jim Leonard (hamstring), Barkevious Mingo (shoulder), Ahtyba Rubin (ankle), Joe Thomas (rest), K'Waun Williams (shoulder, neck) and Billy Winn (quad) were all labeled probable.


Texans rookie LB Clowney in danger of missing Week 9
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:25 pm ET) Texans coach Bill O'Brien didn't sound optimistic about linebacker Jadeveon Clowney's status for Week 9 against the Eagles, according to the team's official website. O'Brien told reporters that the team will continue to evaluate the rookie and reiterated that at the moment his status "doesn't look very good" for Sunday.

Clowney played Week 8 for the first time since injuring a knee Week 1. He had one tackle in the Texans' 30-16 win at Tennessee.


Chiefs S Eric Berry will return Week 9 vs. Jets
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:14 pm ET) Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporters that safety Eric Berry will play Week 9 against the Jets, according to the team's official website. It'll be Berry's first game action since suffering a high ankle sprain against Denver in Week 2. Reid wouldn't specify Berry's role for Sunday, so it remains if he'll be eased back into action.

Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman expected to play Week 9
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:09 pm ET) Broncos coach John Fox told reporters that running back Ronnie Hillman was a full participant in practice Friday and is expected to play Week 9 against the Patriots, according to the Denver Post.

Hillman is expected to take his usual workload and will be seeking his third straight 100-yard game at Foxboro. He has 283 yards on the ground over his first three games since taking over for an injured Montee Ball.


Chargers safety Addae still not cleared after concussion
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:02 pm ET) Chargers safety Jahleel Addae has yet to be medically cleared from a concussion. He was unable to practice on Friday and is not expected to play Sunday afternoon against the Dolphins, according to U-T San Diego.

Addae sustained the injury Week 8 against the Broncos on Oct. 23. He has 23 combined tackles and one sack on the season.


Bengals rule WR A.J. Green questionable for Week 9
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:50 pm ET) Bengals wideout A.J. Green was officially labeled questionable for Sunday's clash at home against the Jaguars, according to the team's official website. Green was able to practice the entire week on a limited basis and if he experiences no setbacks leading up to the game, he'll play Week 9.

Green has been on the shelf since Week 5 because of a nagging toe injury. He has 17 catches for 314 yards and two touchdowns on the season.


Bengals RB Giovani Bernard officially ruled out for Sunday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:45 pm ET) Bengals running back Giovani Bernard has been ruled out for Sunday against the Jaguars in Week 9 with a hip pointer, per the team's official website. Bernard wasn't able to practice all week after sustaining the injury in Week 8. Jeremy Hill is expected to start in his place.

His next chance to return will come Thursday night against the Browns in Week 10.


Eagles quite healthy heading into Week 9 game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:38 pm ET) Wide receiver Brad Smith (groin) and safety Nate Allen (hamstring) are the lone Eagles deemed questionable for the Sunday game in Houston. Both practiced in full Friday.

All the others on their injury report are probable. They are cornerback Brandon Boykin (hamstring), tight end Brent Celek (back), offensive linemen Todd Herremans (biceps) and Jason Kelce (hernia), linebackers Mychal Kendricks (calf) and DeMeco Ryans (groin), wide receiver Jeff Maehl (foot), running back Darren Sproles (knee) and cornerback Jaylen Watkins (wrist).


Steelers head into Week 9 relatively healthy
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:20 pm ET) The Steelers listed 10 players on their final injury report leading up to Week 9 against the Ravens.
Ike Taylor (forearm) and Ross Ventrone (hamstring) were both ruled out.

Marcus Gilbert (concussion), Mike Mitchell (groin), Ryan Shazier (knee), Matt Spaeth (hamstring), Shamarko Thomas (hamstring), Brett Keisel (rest), Heath Miller (rest) and Troy Polamalu (rest) were all deemed probable for Sunday.


 
 
 
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