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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.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fantasy football: Projecting Adrian Peterson's 2012 value

He was the one on whom we knew we could count.

Adrian Peterson hasn't been the best fantasy player the last five years, but he's been among the most consistent.

He has 67 touchdowns in 73 NFL games. Prior to this season, which for Peterson ended Saturday with a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee, A.P. had rushed for at least 1,298 yards in his first four professional campaigns.

Even in a down year by his standards (970 yards), Peterson had 13 TDs in 12 games -- matching 2007 (his rookie season) and 2010 for his second-best total with the Vikings.

Now, with Peterson set to undergo surgery soon, we're left with the fact that he has to be considered, at best, a fringe top-10 running back next season.

The Vikings hope Peterson will be able to return early in the 2012 season, but there is no way he will be drafted ahead of Ray Rice, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Maurice Jones-Drew and even Chris Johnson in eight months.

Depending on the late-summer reports, he could be a much greater risk than the likes of Matt Forte, Frank Gore, Michael Turner, Ryan Mathews, Marshawn Lynch and Steven Jackson.

That would leave Peterson outside the top 11. Obviously, it's too early to know if he'll fall that far.

But it's worth pondering. Peterson, at age 27 (on March 21), getting drafted in the third round in fantasy.

If you don't think that will happen, remember the case of Foster -- who suffered a much less severe injury (hamstring) in the preseason, then fell from the consensus No. 1 or 2 pick to the No. 5 or 6 range because owners (myself included) didn't want to take the risk at the top of Round 1.

Foster has rushed for 1,224 yards, scored 12 TDs and caught 53 passes for 617 yards this season.

Peterson will never come close to th

ose receiving numbers, but he could be a big-name, high-value target late in the second round on draft day.

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