While the Vikings say that they expect Adrian Peterson to play in Week 16, anything could happen between now and when the Vikings take the field. You still need a back up plan in case AP can’t go, and columnist Shane Taylor showcases some options at running back that are available in your league.
Replacing AP by Shane Taylor
Although news is circulating that Adrian Peterson is expected to return this week, there is no room for error if you are in your league’s championship match. Have no fear, as I have 4 sure-fire replacements in case All Day misses Sunday’s match against the Bengals.
WARNING: These are not sure-fire replacements!. However, these are some decent options worth looking at if you are lacking a solid backup.
Toby Gerhart, available in 80.4% of ESPN.com leagues
The first name that comes to everyone’s mind when replacing Adrian Peterson would be his backup, Toby Gerhart. The former Stanford rushing machine is averaging a monstrous 7.9 yards per rush this season, albeit on only 36 carries. Back in 2011, Gerhart got significant touches (I quantify significant touches as more than 10) in 5 games and gained 401 yards on 83 carries, a solid 4.8 yards per rush average. Gerhart seems to be a quality player when he comes on the field for Peterson, although those numbers came against a somewhat soft schedule (his average opponent ranked 19 against the rush). Although his numbers might be a little padded,the Vikings have leaned on their run game the past few weeks with a combination of incompetence in Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder at quarterback, averaging 34 rushing attempts in the past 3 games, so you know Gerhart will get a lot of looks. He faces a strong Bengals defense this week though, who have only allowed 4 rushing touchdowns all season and allow an average 3.9 yards per rush and allow, on average, less than 100 yards per game. So if you do decide to start Gerhart, who has played well when given the chance, it would be best not to expect a Matt Asiata type box score against the Bengals.
Jordan Todman, available in 97.7% of ESPN.com leagues
Todman’s fantasy value hinges entirely on the prospect of whether or not Maurice Jones-Drew suits up to play on Sunday, but if Pocket Hercules misses Sunday’s game, Todman is likely in line for a strong showing. MJD missed last Sunday’s game due to a hamstring injury, and Todman came on and scored a healthy 14 fantasy points against the Bills. Todman has another great matchup this week against the Titans, who have allowed 2 rushing touchdowns in 7 of their past 9 games, and are allowing an average of 119 yards per game. Odds are if Todman starts, he’ll have a flex-worthy game at the least.
Bobby Rainey, available in 50% of ESPN.com leagues
Bobby Rainey is somewhat of a fantasy enigma. In his past 6 games, Rainey has scored double digits in 3 of those games, and scored 6 or fewer points in the other 3. I believe it all comes down to the matchup though, as Rainey scored double digits in games in which the defense was ranked either 22 (Miami), 29 (Atlanta), or 26 (Buffalo) in yards allowed. In his single digit games, he faced the 2nd ranked (Carolina), 4th ranked (Detroit), and 6th ranked (San Francisco) rushing defenses. This week he faces the St. Louis Rams, who rank 12th in yards allowed, and have allowed 16 touchdowns on the ground all season. Judging from his past performances against weak defenses, it should be safe to start Rainey against a Ram’s team who has struggled to stop the run all season. Add him if he’s available and start him if AP misses time.
Andre Ellington, available in 71.7% of ESPN.com leagues
So maybe Ellington is available in 71.1% of ESPN leagues for a reason. Here are some reasons as to why that might be:
1. He faces a Seahawks defense who just forced a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback to throw 5 interceptions and fumble twice on their way to scoring 22 fantasy points last week
2. He remains the #2 option in the Cardinals rushing attack behind Rashard Mendenhall
4. He gained 3 yards on 3 carries last time he played the Seahawks
3. Bruce Arians hates your fantasy football team
You’re probably thinking, “I thought you were here to help me. I JUST LOST ADRIAN PETERSON AND I’M PLAYING IN MY LEAGUE’S CHAMPIONSHIP GAME THIS WEEKEND, DON’T WASTE MY TIME.” Okay, fair enough. Slow down, go take some valium. There we go… no not that many!! Okay, are you back? Alright, hear me out. Andre Ellington has averaged at least 5 yards per attempt in 9 games this season. He averaged 10.3 (!!!) yards per attempt in Week 8 against the Falcons, averaged 8 yards per attempt against the 49ers in Week 6, and averaged 7.4 yards per attempt against the Panthers in Week 5. Atlanta’s run defense is about as sturdy as a wet paper cloth, but Carolina and San Francisco are playoff bound teams who have top ten run defenses, and Ellington shredded them for 108 yards on 14 carries combined. I own Ellington in one of my leagues, and am debating on whether I should start him or Eric Decker in my championship game. The former Clemson star is one of the most explosive rookies in the league this season and if it weren’t for head coach Bruce Arian’s continued stubbornness to limit Ellington’s touches to the aging Mendenhall, he would likely be a front-runner for Rookie of the Year, most websites agree. He might be facing one of the toughest defenses in the league, but he can break off a huge run at any time, so if you are desperate, Ellington is widely available, and has plenty of upside.
Replacing Adrian Peterson is pretty much impossible, especially if your playing in your league’s championship game, but hopefully these 4 can help you on your road to fantasy football immortality (immortality that will last at least until next season).
- Vikings expect Peterson, Gerhart to return (espn.go.com)
Categories: Fantasy Football
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