Adrian Peterson Fantasy Value Week 12: Should you start him on Thanksgiving?

With D’Andre Swift not available for the Detroit Lions in their Thanksgiving matchup, both Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson will now be interesting options for fantasy football GMs. However, while both will see an uptick in value, are either worth starting in your Week 12 fantasy football matchups?

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Will Adrian Peterson or Kerryon Johnson see the majority of backfield touches?

Prior to his injury, it appeared as though D’Andre Swift had grabbed control of the Lions backfield, but before that, he had largely been splitting touches with Peterson. In 2020, Peterson has 115 touches to Swift’s 101. In contrast, Kerryon Johnson has just 46 touches this season, indicating that Adrian Peterson should be the next man up for the Lions and fantasy football teams.

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However, the usage of Peterson and Johnson could very much be game-script dependent for the Lions. In the Week 11 game against the Carolina Panthers, Johnson saw 70% of the offensive snaps, with six carries and five targets. Peterson was on the field for just 30% of the snaps, logging seven carries and one target. That would indicate that if the Lions are trailing for long stretches of this game, Kerryon Johnson and not Adrian Peterson may be the better option for fantasy football.

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The Houston Texans are a favorable fantasy matchup for running backs

The positive for the fantasy value of Kerryon Johnson and Adrian Peterson is that the Houston Texans have been bad defending running backs in 2020. In both PPR and standard scoring, the Texans have the second-highest Defensive Points Allowed Consistency Score. Additionally, they allow the second-most points to the position in standard scoring as well as the third most in PPR, making this a favorable matchup.

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The Texans have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns to the running back position, which plays into the hands of Adrian Peterson’s fantasy value. Peterson leads the Lions with 19 red zone carries compared to just six for Johnson. Additionally, the Texans allow the second-most red zone touches in the league with 64, 26 of which have been in goal to go situations. If you are looking to play the Touchdown Dance game on Monkey Knife Fight, using Peterson as one of your three players to score a TD could be a solid option.

However, given that the Lions are short on receiving options for this game, Kerryon Johnson should still have a reasonable fantasy value in this Week 12 game. The Texans allow the 12th most receiving yards to running backs.

It is hard to trust either Adrian Peterson or Kerryon Johnson in Week 12

The concern with starting either Adrian Peterson or Kerryon Johnson in your fantasy football teams is the uncertainty. Last week also appeared to be a solid matchup for them, and they totaled just 35 yards rushing and two receptions for 21 yards on six targets.

So far this season, Johnson has totaled more than 50 total yards just once, Week 9 against the Vikings, while Peterson has achieved the feat just three times. Peterson has not found the end zone since Week 6 and has managed just 104 rushing yards on 35 carries with 29 receiving yards on nine targets in his last five games.

It is hard to pass up running backs playing in favorable situations, but this game is tough to call, with the Lions having struggled last week. If you are playing in PPR fantasy leagues, then Kerryon Johnson offers upside as an RB3, while Adrian Peterson offers low-end Flex value in standard-scoring formats due to his potential red zone opportunities.

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Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN.

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