2019 Fantasy Football: Players to avoid in the NFC East

There are plenty of fantasy football articles advising you who to draft and when. However, what about the players to stay away from? In the second part of the Players to Avoid series, I tackle the NFC East.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Washington Redskins

The Case

Adrian Peterson resurrected his career in Washington after spending his 2017 season with the Arizona Cardinals. He signed a one-year minimum contract with the Washington Redskins after their rookie Derrius Guice tore his ACL during the preseason.

Guice looked ready for a breakout rookie season before the injury in his first preseason game. The projection was that Samaje Perine would take over his spot and run with it, but he was injured almost immediately after that. Additionally, receiving back Chris Thompson, who played just 30 percent of the snaps last season, suffered injuries that kept him from seeing the field more often.

Enter Adrian Peterson. He became the featured back and took over the Redskins’ backfield. He became the fifth running back in league history to gain over 1,000 rushing yards in a single season at the age of 33 or older. He gained 1,042 yards on 251 carries for an average of 4.2 yards per carry and seven touchdowns. He also chipped in an additional 208 yards and one touchdown on 29 receptions.

Peterson will be 34 years old when next season gets underway. In addition, Washington will bring back all four running backs, and they add Bryce Love from the 2019 NFL Draft. Peterson has only succeeded as the lead back in an offense. When he is forced to share snaps, his production, focus, and attitude disrupt team chemistry. Ask the New Orleans Saints. The Saints traded Peterson away to the Arizona Cardinals after only four games of trying to share snaps with Alvin Kamara in New Orleans.

The workload in this backfield should concern Peterson fantasy owners. All signs indicate that the Redskins will implement a committee approach. In running situations, we will see Peterson and Guice both getting work to start the season. Guice has yet to play a regular-season game, and Washington should be smart and try not to overwork him. They have the perfect insurance policy in Peterson.

Early reports were that Guice’s rehab was ahead of schedule. Guice is talented and was projected to be a quality playmaker in the NFL. The Redskins plan to have him and Peterson split time in their backfield.

The split should help Peterson, whose performance tailed off toward the end of the season. He finished just 28th in success rate, but he was running behind a Washington offensive line that ranked only 24th in adjusted line yards.

The Verdict

The two-headed approach could lengthen Peterson’s career, but it will diminish his fantasy football value. The majority of his fantasy success last season was the result of the injuries to the Redskins’ backfield. He was virtually the only healthy running back available in Washington, and therefore had the biggest volume of carries. Peterson recorded 251 carries last season while the next highest amount of carries was 43 by Chris Thompson!

That vast disparity of touches will not happen in 2019. Guice will start the season sharing carries with Peterson and will be a factor in the running game. Washington will ease Guice early in the season to reduce risk and to keep both running backs fresh.

Fantasy owners can not forget about Chris Thompson as well. He is a change-of-pace back who played in just ten games in back-to-back seasons. He did finish as a top-30 PPR back in both 2016 and 2017. If he can stay healthy, he is a very sneaky PPR selection.

Bryce Love may not be ready to start the season due to an ACL tear in his senior season at Stanford. Love is talented as evidenced by his 2,000 yards in his junior season. He could make an impact late in the season. That would even further Peterson’s value, and likely around the time for the 2019 fantasy football playoffs.

Peterson will not be the workhorse back this season. He will be part of a committee approach at running back, which will render him a difficult choice to make, especially for owners looking for last year’s production.

The Redskins’ offense look to be bottom feeders next season who could be led by rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins. This will limit the offensive playbook and lean on the running game. However, the competition for carries for Peterson will make him a running back to avoid on your 2019 fantasy football roster.