Two of the most talked about fantasy football running backs right now are both coming of season-ending ACL injuries. Of course I’m talking about Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles. While both studs suffered the same injury last year, Charles tore his ACL in Week 2, whereas Peterson tore his ACL in Week 16. Does this mean that Charles will have a better shot at starting Week 1? Not so fast… Let’s break it down!
Adrian Peterson is healing rather quickly, and a report surfaced just yesterday suggesting that Peterson beat Percy Harvin “twice in sprints up a steep hill on Wednesday.” Harvin added, “He’s amazing…I told him the other day I don’t think he’s human. Two weeks ago he beat a couple guys in a race. When I got here yesterday, I told them guys they should be embarrassed.” Roughly a month ago I warned fantasy worlds not to count on all the optimistic talk suggesting AP would be ready for Week 1, but I’m starting to believe that he could be ready. Whether or not Peterson will be even close to his old self is another story, but he is capable of being a 100-yard/1TD rusher during any game that he plays, even if not quite 100 percent… just don’t treat him like a first-round pick yet… you don’t need to according to ADP Data. Currently he is a borderline top 15-18 pick heading into early yearly league drafts, and he is only a touch higher in dynasty formats, as he is already 27 (three years away from the dreaded 30-age season).
Peterson will be ready for Week 1 and will quietly produce high-end RB2-type numbers to kickoff the 2012 fantasy football season. By mid-season, he could be a low-end fantasy RB1. I still draft players like Darren McFadden on down to A.J. Green over AP in 2012 yearly league drafts, so again, 15-18 overall seems about right in any format and in any league.
In 2012, I have the runner pegged for 1,100 rushing yards, 15-18 receptions, roughly 100 receiving yards and 7-10 total scores; The touchdowns will be tough for AP to punch in given it could take a full year of playing on the still-mending knee before he truly regains that quickness that so often landed him in the end zone.
Jamaal Charles is a smaller running back, and less weight on a healing knee is a good thing. We may see Charles regain previous quickness faster than any ACL-injured rusher in years past. Given he suffered his injury in Week 2, we have no questions about Charles being ready for Week 1.
Charles will absolutely be ready for Week 1 and will produce high-end RB2-type numbers in 2012.
In 2012, Charles should be good for roughly 1,000 rushing yards, 35-40 receptions, 300-325 receiving yards and 5-6 total scores.
While I won’t advise anyone to draft either Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles in the first-round of any 2012 fantasy football draft, both rushers are very capable of producing extremely strong fantasy RB2-type numbers this upcoming season. Both backs have an Average Draft Position (ADP) in the 2.03-2.07 range, and that’s where they belong. They have upside to outperform that draft slot range, but that’s what makes them attractive selections in 2012… Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ryan Mathews, DeMarco Murray and even Trent Richardson all deserve consideration over either runner entering both yearly and keeper league drafts… right after those running backs fly off the board, consider drafting either Peterson or Charles (in any format) and don’t look back.