Welcome to Down Under Debate, our new article that pits NFL Down Under contributors against each other in a verbal duel to the (metaphorical) death. Tonight's match features Head Editor Dominic taking on Fantasy Expert Jared.
The Question: Both RBs had limited seasons last year due to injury and both carry their respective offences, who should you draft first in your fantasy league this year, Adrian Peterson or Matt Forte? Dominic: Without a doubt it's Adrian Peterson. Let's take a look at what he has already accomplished in his 5 years in the league: Four 1000+ yard rushing seasons, including in his rookie year, he would have hit that milestone again last year had he not been injured and missed four games. Despite missing an entire quarter of the season he still managed 970 yards on the ground and 13 touchdowns! In each of his 5 years in the NFL has managed no less than 10 touchdowns. You can't argue with that kind of production. There's a reason he's universally recognised as the best RB in the league: He has speed, strength, vision, an absolutely lethal strong-arm and terrific feet. He is the ideal workhorse back. Once more, he's the best player on that Vikings offence by far and is almost guaranteed 20+ touches every game. Defences have been focused solely on him since 2007, doesn't matter. He's alone in that backfield too, Toby Gerhart is not a legitimate threat. Forte on the other hand is sharing carries with Michael Bush, the guy who stole 970 yards and 7 touchdowns from Darren McFadden last year. Oh oh. Matt Forte is a great talent, sure. But he's got nothing on AP. Let's face it, for our purposes the only stat that truly matters is fantasy points. In that category Forte's best year was his rookie year (2008) and has since yet to get anywhere near the fantasy points he earned then (Adrian Peterson actually earned more points than he did in 2008 anyway). You can see their Fantasy points compared here and here. In fact, in Matt Forte's 4 years in the league he has only earned more fantasy points than AP once (2011), and that's only just, depending on how you score. Forte only scored 4 touchdowns in the entire 2012 season compared to AP's 13! Matt Forte's great strength is his versatility and skills as a receiver, which is handy, but every catch is one less touch and that means one less chance of hitting those bonus point milestones. Clearly he's not finding the endzone to make up for it. The other question of Forte is, of course, his durability. It's clear that the concerns that surrounded him coming out of college appear well founded. The Bears made a concious effort to ease his workload in 2011 and he got injured anyway. Adrian Peterson, of course, has suffered a major injury, but he appears to be healing right on time. There's a reason why the Bears are hesitant to give Forte the kind of money Peterson is earning, it's because they're worried about how much workload he can actually handle. You should be worried about it too. With Forte you'll get some flash, some huge scores, sure. He'll win you some games, but not a season. If you want a proven, consistent performer go with the best back in the league, Adrian Peterson. Jared: As if this is a real argument, Matt Forte is the easy choice over Adrian Peterson and the following is why. Adrian Peterson tore both his MCL and ACL in week 16 of last season, possibly the worst time to get that form of injury due to the limited recovery time before the next season starts. The odds of Peterson actually starting week 1 are slim at best. That in itself tells me that he will have a worse fantasy football season than that of Matt Forte. Very few players have been able to replicate their previous success in the season following a torn ACL. On top of this Toby Gerhart played well in replacement and should be given more opportunities going forward to help lighten the load on Peterson. Before suffering a strained MCL in week 11 of last season (an injury he is well over as he was cleared to play in the Pro Bowl) Forte was leading the league in yards from scrimmage. Forte will remain the star of the Chicago Bears offence but should be given even more room to work with now that they have legitimate threats at wide out. No longer will teams be able to so easily stack the box against Forte, increasing his stock further. While some will argue the Bears now have Michael Bush in the backfield and he will potentially poach goal line touchdowns, this is nothing new for Forte. There was Marion Barber last year and Chester Taylor before that and Bush will play the similar role this year, there is no worry for Forte. Going by last years statistics its hard to see why you wouldn't pick Forte over Peterson. - Forte averaged 4.9 yards a carry while Peterson 4.7 - Forte averaged 9.4 yards per catch (52 receptions), while Peterson only 7.7 (18 receptions) My predictions for next season are as follows and these assume Peterson starts week 1, which I don’t think he will. As you can see I think Forte has the higher chance of being the better fantasy player in 2012.. Peterson - Rushing 1,100 - 1,200; Rec 200-250; TDs 8-10. Fantasy point range 178 - 205 Forte - Rushing 1,100 - 1,200; Rec 500 - 550; TDs 6-8. Fantasy point range 196 - 223 Matt Forte is a solid RB1 (and absolute God in PPR leagues) who should at least repeat but most likely best what he has done in previous years and should be drafted accordingly. Adrian Peterson on the other hand is not a lock to start the season and thus makes him a gamble which is not one that I am willing to take and thus risk my fantasy season upon.