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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fantasy football: Who's No. 2 in PPR leagues?

If you still play in a fantasy football league with standard scoring that doesn't award a point per reception, the decision is easy.

If you are a PPR fan -- my two cents: It's the much better format -- the No. 2 overall pick in 2010 is a three-player race that can't get much closer.

The Titans' Chris Johnson is the no-brainer No. 1 pick in any format. In standard leagues, the Vikings' Adrian Peterson, who scored a career-high 18 touchdowns last season and has averaged 1,495 rushing yards in his three-year career, is the clear-cut No. 2.

In our News-Herald PPR league -- which awards fractions of a point (each rushing and receiving yard is worth one-tenth of a point), deducts a point for a lost fumble and awards two bonus points for touchdowns of 40 yards or more -- here were the 2009 point totals for Peterson, the Jaguars' Maurice Jones-Drew and the Ravens' Ray Rice: Rice 331.1, Jones-Drew 330.5, Peterson 329.5.

The difference between the No. 2 and No. 4 running backs was 1.6 points. The players are so close Peterson is going No. 4 in many leagues -- a move I couldn't make in any format.

Jones-Drew, in his first season getting more than 200 carries (good to see you come to your senses, Jack Del Rio), rushed for 1,391 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. In his four-year career, he's averaged 50 receptions for 446 yards and scored a total of 54 TDs.

Rice, meanwhile, ran for 1,339 yards and seven scores, and he caught 78 passes for 702 yards and one TD. Can he possibly average 5.3 yards per carry again? Doubtful, but you have to believe he will produce more TDs than Willis McGahee this season. Last year, the latter rushed for 12 scores on only 109 carries.

The safest bet of the three is Peterson, who might even be more productive if Brett Favre doesn't come back. If Favre returns (and would ESPN have it any other way?), remember that A.P. caught a career-high 43 passes for 436 yards last year (he actually had 62 more receiving yards than Jones-Drew).

Of the three, Rice has both the most risk and (cue Jay Bilas) the most upside.

You could say I'm playing it safe by writing that I'd take Peterson No. 2, Jones-Drew No. 3 and Rice No. 4.

But would you be surprised if Peterson outscored Chris Johnson this season? Is that a scenario you can see happening with Jones-Drew or Rice?

If your answers to those questions were no and no, choose A.P.

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