Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Owners of the top fantasy pick this past season had a tough choice to make.
Do they go with Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who had already put together three dominant seasons since being taken seventh overall in the 2007 draft, or jump onto the bandwagon of Titans back Chris Johnson? After all, the latter was coming off one of the best seasons ever by a running back.
According to RapidDraft, the choice was Johnson as he emerged from the pack with a 1.74 average draft position. Somewhat surprising is that Peterson was third on the list (2.73), just back of Jaguars running back Maurice Jones- Drew (1.84).
Johnson owners might be wishing they could hop in their DeLorean, go back to August and make a change.
In the grand scheme of things, you really didn't strike out with either pick. Though way behind his 2,000-yard pace of a season ago, Johnson still has over 1,000 yards this season and has scored nine touchdowns. Peterson, though, has taken back the torch of top fantasy back with 1,123 rushing yards and 12 total TDs and it is their play as of late that has separated the two greatly.
With most fantasy playoffs set to begin this week, Peterson has been a lion for those battling for a playoff spot. Though limited to just six carries and 36 yards on Nov. 28th versus Washington due to an injury, Peterson at least scored before his exit and then made up for the brief day with a season-high three touchdowns versus Buffalo on Dec. 5th.
Johnson? He has 58 rushing yards and zero touchdowns over the past two weeks, a performance that may have left a number of fantasy teams "men" instead of "titans."
Ultimately, it came down to who was in the better offense. While Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre has been anything but good this year, he still commands respect from opposing defenses, which leaves some room for Peterson. Vince Young, Kerry Collins and Rusty Smith, the quarterbacks who have taken snaps for the Titans this year, don't bring the same pedigree and Johnson faced a lot of loaded fronts this year.
Just something to remember for next season when the Johnson-Peterson debate rages forth once again, but I expect Peterson to come out on top in 2011 drafts.
Of course, we are also ignoring two of the top three fantasy backs this season in Cleveland's Peyton Hillis and Arian Foster of Houston. Both are having incredible seasons and figure to be first-rounders next year, but they still have some proving to do.
Now on to the playoffs.
LOVE IS A DIRTY WORD
Here are three players I'm loving for Week 14:
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos - There is a new sheriff in town and its former running backs coach Eric Studesville in Denver. Who do you think he wants the offense going through? Moreno is coming off a big 161-yard game that more than made up for him not finding the end zone. Expect a heavy dose of Moreno this weekend against Arizona's ragged run defense.
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers - The Niners are going back with Alex Smith under center this weekend and the two were on the same page when Smith saw significant action over the first six weeks. Davis averaged nearly five catches when Smith started and three of his five touchdowns came in the first six weeks. Davis is also coming off a big game (126 yards and a 66-yard score vs. Green Bay) and the home meeting with Seattle is a favorable matchup.
Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Freeman certainly isn't a top option, but if injury or poor play has left you scrambling for a quarterback, Freeman could be the answer. He has hasn't topped 200 passing yards in three straight weeks and owns zero 300-yard games, but he has thrown a touchdown pass in all but one game this year and has just two turnovers over the past four weeks. He draws Washington (260.3 passing YPG allowed) this weekend.
ONE FAST MOVE OR I'M GONE
Be wary of these three players for Week 14:
Kyle Orton, QB, Denver Broncos - For the same reasons I like Moreno, I'm a little worried about Orton. He is coming off a horrid game versus the Chiefs -- 117 yards, a fumble and no touchdowns -- and is now at the mercy of a former running backs coach. With Denver just 3-9 on the season, Tim Tebow could also start seeing the field a little more as well.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, New England Patriots - Green-Ellis had little problems with the Jets' defense in Week 13, scoring twice on the ground. The Bears are slightly better, statistically, versus the run and Pats QB Tom Brady is on fire right now. I just don't see Green-Ellis catching lightning in a bottle two weeks in a row.
Donald Driver, WR, Green Bay Packers - Don't let the big game fool you, Driver is still a risk. He had four catches for 73 yards versus the 49ers, but if San Francisco makes just one of its many tackle chances on his 61-yard catch-and- run score, Driver has a very mediocre day.
BOY WITH A COIN
Here is my top sleeper pick for Week 14:
Tashard Choice, RB, Dallas Cowboys - Marion Barber's calf injury opened the door for Choice last weekend and the third-year back responded with 100 yards on 19 carries while notching a touchdown for a second week in a row. Things are going to start changing in Dallas and a bigger role for Choice could be on the horizon. The Eagles give up their fair share of points and the two teams also put together great games against each other.