Fantasy Football: Does Adrian Peterson Have Any Value With the Arizona Cardinals?

After a frustrating start to 2017 with the New Orleans Saints, Adrian Peterson is headed west to join the Arizona Cardinals. What kind of boost does his value get in fantasy football?

Way back in Week 1, Chris Johnson shared his opinion on Adrian Peterson's workload in the New Orleans Saints' backfield.

Now that the Arizona Cardinals have acquired Peterson on Tuesday for a conditional sixth-round pick in next year's draft, AP will get those touches at Johnson's expense since the Cards just released him.

After a lackluster start to the 2017 season, is this change of scenery for Peterson enough for fantasy football owners to consider grabbing him off the waiver wire?

There is little dispute that Peterson has been a better player than CJ?K throughout their respective careers. If we compare the two by using our Net Expected Points metric, All Day has consistently fared significantly better than the league average, while Johnson has finished below it.

Player Years Rushes Rushing NEP Rushing NEP Per Carry League Avg
Adrian Peterson 2007-2017 2,452 54.25 0.022 -0.028
Chris Johnson 2008-2017 2,164 -73.69 -0.034 -0.028

However, it's worth noting that Peterson has needed touches for his game to shine, which is something that hasn't been happening lately.

Stuck behind Mark Ingram and, arguably, Alvin Kamara in New Orleans, the most carries he's had in a game this season is nine, which happened in Week 3. That's simply not enough for the former Oklahoma Sooner workhorse, who is a different player when he gets at least 15 carries in a game. That can bee seen in his yards per attempt average, displayed in the below table.

Carries/Game # of Games Att Yards YPA
Below 15 33 349 1,260 3.61
Over 15 94 2,096 10,568 5.04
Total 127 2,445 11,828 4.84

Not surprisingly, Peterson's touchdown rate also rises significantly when he gets more carries. When he receives 10-plus carries in a game, the rusher averages 0.81 touchdowns. That number rises up to 0.90 with at least 15 carries and 0.97 with 20-plus totes.

Opportunity is king in fantasy football. Andre Ellington has been an RB2 in PPR leagues so far this season, but only 8.4% of his points have come on the ground. Peterson has a chance to step in and be the go-to back between the tackles.

AP certainly brings a sterling on-field reputation to Arizona -- his 2,705 career touches place 28th on the all-time list while also being the third-highest mark among active players (Frank Gore, Matt Forte). But a move like this isn't all sunshine and rainbows -- now in his age-32 season, he is beyond what most would consider to be his physical prime. It also doesn't help that he'll joining a team that owns the league's worst offensive line, according to Pro Football Focus.

Grabbing him off the waiver wire isn't necessarily a no-brainer -- there's definitely a risk in having him on your fantasy football team. Making a claim on him will depend a bit on your situation, though. If you're hurting at running back and couldn't nab players like Aaron Jones or Jerick McKinnon, then he's worth the risk, especially in deeper standard leagues.

However, don't get those expectations too high. We shouldn't be plugging him in as a starter on our squads. He'll get enough of an opportunity to -- at minimum -- be a flex player or a bye-week replacement in fantasy football. It sounds weird to talk like this about Adrian Peterson, but that's where we are at this point.