What a story it would be: Adrian Peterson, one of the NFL’s all-time great running backs, makes an unlikely return from a knee injury in Week 15 — and leads your team to a fantasy championship.
Unfortunately, that scenario seems a little far-fetched even in a fantasy world. Yes, Peterson declared Friday that he is “ready to roll” and plans to return for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. And ESPN’s Bob Holtzman reported that one of Peterson’s teammates said he “looks like Adrian” in practice.
But expectations have to be low for a guy who has not played since Week 2 and who was averaging only 1.6 yards per carry at the time for a rushing offense that ranks last in the NFL with 73.4 yards per game.
ESPN Vikings reporter Ben Goessling said that if Peterson does in fact play this week, the Vikings will likely work him in slowly. He could play more in Week 16, but that might depend on whether the Vikings are still in playoff contention.
“Peterson says he’s playing Sunday, but the Vikings have cautioned this week that he’s got some things to get reacquainted with, particularly considering the fact Pat Shurmur wasn’t the offensive coordinator the last time Peterson played,” Goessling said. “The Vikings have been in the shotgun two-thirds of the time since Shurmur took over for Norv Turner, and shotgun sets haven’t exactly been Peterson’s preferred method of getting the ball. Still, the Vikings are likely to use him for the potential of explosive plays.”
The Bears are getting top receiver Alshon Jeffery back from a four-game suspension. ESPN Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson said the cold weather also could limit Chicago’s passing attack. Other than that, he would trust Jeffery to make an immediate impact. Jeffery also needs to develop a rapport with backup QB Matt Barkley — who estimated that he had never thrown a practice pass to Jeffery before this week. But Jeffery predicted this week that, “It won’t take long. We’ll get it together.”
The Miami Dolphins also have to get used to life with a new quarterback in the wake of Ryan Tannehill’s knee injury. ESPN Dolphins reporter James Walker said he thinks almost all of Miami’s skill-position players will be negatively impacted, because the team will likely throw the ball less and because teams will likely stack eight men in the box even more than they already have against RB Jay Ajayi — “which is saying something.” But one player Walker said he could see benefitting is WR Kenny Stills. “He is Miami’s deep threat, and the long ball is [new QB Matt] Moore’s best throw,” Walker said. “I don’t see Moore throwing it 40 times, but there will be a few opportunities to hit big plays over the top.”
ESPN Bengals reporter Katherine Terrell warned fantasy owners against rushing to put receiver A.J. Green back in their lineups. Green is listed as doubtful after returning to practice this week from his hamstring injury. A source told ESPN’s Holtzman that Green is targeting next week for his return. Terrell said Bengals rookie WR Tyler Boyd would be a better option this week — though it’s not a great matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.