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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
Coach: Jaguars WR Marqise Lee (knee) week-to-week
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:09 pm ET) Gus Bradley has announced that a knee injury sustained in Phase 2 of the offseason program has Jaguars WR Marqise Lee considered week-to-week.

Lee started eight games last season and finished with 37 catches for 422 yards and one touchdown.


Report: WR A.J. Jenkins set to join Cowboys
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:53 am ET) The Cowboys have signed wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, a source has told the Dallas Morning News.

Jenkins has been a disappointment since his selection in the first round of the draft three years ago by San Francisco. He played in only three games that season before a trade to Kansas City, where he managed just 17 catches for 223 yards and no touchdowns in 2013 and 2014 combined.

He tried out for the Cowboys last week. And with superstar wideout Dez Bryant not expected to participate in OTAs, Jenkins at the very least gives the team another body at that position.


Dolphins LT Brandon Albert, DB Don Jones out of OTAs
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:41 am ET) As expected, Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert (knee) and defensive back Don Jones (shoulder) have been ruled out of OTA work, per the Miami Herald.

Albert is expected to be ready to roll for the season opener. The shoulder injury that has sidelined Jones has been a factor since late in the regular season.


Colts sign CB Chance Casey, make two other minor moves
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:41 am ET) The Colts have made several minor moves, including the signing of cornerback Chance Casey and guard Will Corbin, per Indysportscentral.com. They have also waived-injured cornerback Josh Mitchell.

Casey has played in four NFL games in two seasons. He totaled six tackles with Oakland a year ago.

Corbin and Mitchell are undrafted rookie free agents. If the latter clears waivers, he will revert to injured reserve.


Family issue has Seahawks DE Cliff Avril sidelined
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:25 am ET) A family issue will prevent Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril from attending the OTA sessions this week, per 710 ESPN.

Avril tied a career-low with five sacks in 2014, but still landed a hefty guaranteed contract in the offseason.


Lions SS James Ihedigbo attending OTA
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:19 am ET) Lions strong safety James Ihedigbo has reported to OTAs and will likely attend minicamp despite his stated desire for a new contract, the Detroit News is reporting.

Ihedigbo was the lone Lion to skip voluntary workouts last month. But general manager Martin Mayhew expressed understanding about his absence given the contract situation.

The 31-year-old Ihedigbo has been a starter in the NFL since 2009. He racked up 59 tackles and a career-high four interceptions in his first season with Detroit in 2014.


Seahawks QB Russell Wilson skips OTA to attend funeral
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:10 am ET) Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is set to skip OTAs, but his absence is not related to his contract situation. He is instead in Florida to represent the team at the funeral of Tammy Meyerson, who served as the mentor for teammate Jimmy Graham, per NFL.com.

Wilson and the Seahawks have reportedly been millions of dollars apart in contract negotiations, but the two parties have not been contentious publicly about their differences.


Report: LB Dane Fletcher back with Patriots
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:03 am ET) The trend of bringing back familiar faces has apparently continued for the Patriots with the signing to a one-year deal of linebacker Dane Fletcher, according to NFL.com.

Fletcher played for New England from 2010 to 2013 before hightailing it for one season to Tampa Bay. He played in all 16 games, but started just four and contributed to a career-high 27 tackles.

He would be expected to provide depth along with Brandon Spikes, who has also returned to the Patriots after one year away.


Falcons rookie OLB Vic Beasley will 'more than likely' attend OTA
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:52 am ET) Falcons first-round pick Vic Beasley has told ESPN that he will "more than likely" participate in OTAs despite remaining unsigned.

The outside linebacker can sign an injury protection form that states if he gets injured, the club will still negotiate in good faith based on his draft position (eighth overall).


Report: Falcons WR Julio Jones will attend OTA on Tuesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:47 am ET) Falcons standout wide receiver Julio Jones will attend the team's OTA session Tuesday, a source has told ESPN, despite his shaky contract situation.

Jones can become an unrestricted free agent after this season, yet no talks on a new deal have been discussed despite the expressed desire from front office personnel to keep him on the team. General manager Thomas Dimitroff traded away five picks in the 2011 draft in order to select him.

The 26-year-old Jones has been worth the gamble. He landed a Pro Bowl spot last season, setting the franchise record with 1,593 receiving yards on a whopping 104 catches while coming back from a fractured foot sustained the previous year.


 
 
 
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