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Fantasy Spotlight: The Case For Starting Adrian Peterson

PetersonSpotlight

There are plenty of teams around the league that are trying to make the playoff push with four games left in the regular season. But for fans of fantasy football, the postseason is already here.

For the past two weeks, Redskins.com has offered a little advice to those who are still trying to fill out their starting lineups on game day. Last week's suggestion was to start second-year running back Derrius Guice, and those who listened were paid off generously. The LSU product had 25.7 points against the Carolina Panthers.

This week, we're sticking with the running back position and making the case for future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson, who also had a strong day against the Panthers. Here's why you should make the move to grab Peterson while you can:

The Skinny

Peterson has had an interesting 13th season in the NFL. He was inactive in the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, only to be back in the lineup one week later against the Dallas Cowboys. He's been a consistent contributor to the Redskins offense since then, averaging 13 carries per game.

When it comes to fantasy production, his numbers have been sporadic. While he had a season-high 15.9 points against the Panthers with 99 rushing yards and a touchdown, he also had three consecutive games from Week 3 to Week 5 where he finished with fewer than four points.

However, it should be noted that Peterson has been a more active contributor to the Redskins offense since offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell became the primary play caller. He set season highs in rushes (23) and yards (118) in interim head coach Bill Callahan's first game at the helm and has since finished with at least 10 fantasy points in four of the past seven games.

According to ESPN.com, Peterson is ranked as the 38th running back and is available in 55.5% of leagues.

The Kicker

Let's look at Peterson's usage first. Prior to Callahan taking over, Peterson averaged 10 carries for 27 yards in four games. Those numbers saw a significant spike after Callahan was announced as the interim head coach; in the past seven games, he has averaged 14 carries for 76 yards.

Additionally, he has either eclipsed or totaled his 108 rushing yards in the first five games of the season in two games. The first time was against the Miami Dolphins in Week 6, and the second was against the Buffalo Bills in Week 9 when he had 18 rushes for 108 yards.

Peterson has also had his best fantasy numbers this year in the past seven games. Aside from his outing against the Panthers, he has 13.6 points against the Dolphins, 10.3 against the Minnesota Vikings and 13 against the Bills.

Now let's get into the Green Bay Packers defense. Although the unit has done well in the past four games, giving up fewer than 20 points in each of those contests, it has also given up the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs this year. Saquan Barkley with the New York Giants was the most-recent rusher to have success; he had 83 rushing yards and 11.5 fantasy points last week.

The Packers rank 25th in stopping the run, and the Redskins are likely to have a run-heavy offensive game plan. And despite Guice having a more productive day in Carolina, Peterson received three more rushes than his younger counterpart.

One last factor to consider: Peterson is familiar with playing against the Packers after spending a decade with the Vikings. He currently has 1,851 rushing yards when facing the Packers, which is more than he has against any other NFL team.

The Verdict

It would be easy to put Guice back in the lineup after his massive game against the Panthers, but Peterson has the edge in this scenario. He has experience against the Packers at Lambeau Field, and with the Packers having one of the worst run defenses in the league, it looks like he'll have another big day.

The experience is the key here. Although the weather conditions won't be terrible in Green Bay, it will still be cold with a sea of green and yellow jerseys cheering on the home team. It's hard to go into that environment for the first time. That's not to say that Guice can't perform, but there is more evidence that Peterson will be just fine against the Packers.

So, put your trust in the second-oldest active running back in the league, and put Peterson in your lineup.

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