Having the first pick in your fantasy football draft is a big deal. It comes with the responsibility to choose the best possible player, the player that will give you the greatest chance to walk away with the championship trophy of your league. Not many will be envying you because they would rather play it safe and choose later in the round. When your second pick is 19 to 27 spots after that first pick, a lot of good players have come off the board. You really need to make it count. The choice is even more difficult in 2010. You have the explosive Chris Johnson coming off one of the best statistical seasons in NFL history. And you have Adrian Peterson, a beastly mix of power and speed that has gone to the Pro Bowl the last three seasons. Let's examine three reasons why Adrian Peterson could be the best choice with the first pick.
AP is a touchdown machine. He has scored 41 touchdowns in 46 regular season games. Obviously that's just under a touchdown a game. Last season, he scored 18 touchdowns, all of them on the ground. His role in the passing game increased, which should result in another touchdown or two through the air. Peterson plays an important role when the Minnesota Vikings get close to the goal line. In 2009, he had a league-high 30 carries inside the 5 yard line. That role will continue as he has the power to move bodies and the speed to race around the edge. His opportunities should rise with the departure of Chester Taylor to the Bears and the Vikings ease Toby Gerhart into the offense. It should not be surprising if Peterson leads all running backs in touchdowns and sets a new career high for himself.
Peterson is the main man in Minnesota. With Chester Taylor's departure, the load will rest solidly on his shoulders. Toby Gerhart will obviously be used but it will take time for him to acclimate to the NFL. Last year, AP had career lows in rushing yards per game and yards per carry. It was the first year with Brett Favre at quarterback and the offense will have adjusted. At times, it seemed as though they moved away from their initial strategy of relying on the running game and put the game in Favre's hands. Peterson's career low is 1341 rushing yards, it would seem you can expect at least that from him. He's averaged 1495 yards rushing over his first three years. I would say with increased motivation from within himself and the season he had last year, that we should expect him to bounce back and compete for the league rushing title.
He was viewed as very one dimensional as a running back going into last season. His career reception totals were 40 receptions for 393 yards over his first two seasons. Most of the time in passing situations and third downs, Taylor would come in. Last season, with Favre using him more on checkdowns, AP had 43 catches for 436 yards. Taylor was still used the majority of the time on third downs but that responsibility will now fall mostly to Peterson. I could see his receptions increasing by another thirty to sixty percent.
Those three factors foreshadow another strong season for Adrian Peterson. He is always a threat to break a long one, whether it be outrunning the defense or running over some defensive backs. This is only Peterson's fourth season, so he is just coming into his prime years. He plays on a dynamic offense and will not disappoint you if he is your first choice. Let me know how you feel in the comments and poll.