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Fantasy Clicks: Betting on a horse named Adrian


Recent Fantasy Clicks 1-15-10: Divisional Playoff Round Clicks 1-13-10: Back In The Baseball Business 1-11-10: Wild Card Revelations 1-06-10: Fantasy Clicks Year-End Spectacular 1-04-10: Wild Card Round Clicks 12-28-09: Week 16 Revelations/Week 17 Clicks 12-23-09: All You Need To Know For Week 16 12-21-09: Week 15 Revelations 12-18-09: Thursday Night Revelations (Week 15) 12-16-09: Dontcha Hate When That Happens? 12-13-09: Week 14 Revelations 12-11-09: Thursday Night Revelations (Week 14) 12-09-09: Fantasy Playoff Rules To Live By 12-07-09: Week 13 Revelations 12-04-09: Thursday Night Revelations (Week 13) 12-02-09: The Believers Of Calvinism 11-30-09: Week 12 Revelations 11-27-09: Turkey Day Revelations 11-25-09: All Hail The Perfect Showdown 11-23-09: Week 11 Revelations 11-20-09: Thursday Night Revelations, Week 11 11-18-09: Trade Deadline Rules To Live By 11-16-09: Week 10 Revelations 11-13-09: Thursday Night Revelations, Week 10 11-11-09: The Ballad Of Alex Smith 11-09-09: Week 9 Revelations 11-06-09: The Daffy Dichotomy Of DeAngelo 11-04-09: A Pre-Flight Trade Checklist 11-02-09: Week 8 Revelations 10-30-09: Meet The Avoidables 10-28-09: Rodgers vs. Favre -- A Lambeau Reunion 10-26-09: Week 7 Revelations 10-23-09: Fright ... For Old D.C. 10-21-09: Shoot For The Moon With Brady 10-18-09: Week 6 Revelations 10-16-09: The Pittsburgh Shell Game 10-14-09: The Tailback Honeymoon's Over 9-28-09: Week 3 Revelations 9-25-09: LT -- An Age-Old Question 9-23-09: Don't Sweat The 0-2 Blues

Betting On A Horse Named Adrian

Over the next eight months, fantasy owners will be overwhelmed with (accurate) propaganda supporting Chris Johnson's candidacy for the No. 1 overall pick in standard-scoring leagues; and for the most part, it'll be good advice to heed for the August drafts. However, there are still a few rock-solid reasons -- six, actually -- to consider Adrian Peterson for the top spot leading up to draft day:

1. The numbers only tell part of the story. Everyone knows Peterson made a quantum leap in total touchdowns from 2009 (18) to '08 (10). But very few fantasy owners probably realize that AP's yards-per-touch ratio jumped to 5.21 -- up from 4.91 in '08 -- even though he finished with 66 fewer total yards on the season.

2. Peterson has finally become in a vital cog in the passing game. Thanks to Brett Favre and Brad Childress, AP experienced a monumental jump in receptions. How much? His 43 catches in 2009 exceeded his combined total (40) from 2007-08. Perish the thought: Peterson may have the capacity for 55-60 catches someday -- adding to his allure in Points Per Reception leagues. (On the downside, he only has one career TD reception -- off his very first pro catch back in '07.)

3. Without a doubt, Chris Johnson has the higher upside ... but if you're looking for a lead-pipe cinch for 1,850 total yards and 17 touchdowns in any given year -- for at least the next five seasons -- Peterson's your man!

4. If Brett Favre retires at season's end ... Peterson's touches will most definitely go up about 6-8 percent. And with more touches comes more opportunities for breakaway runs like these.

5. If Favre returns to Minnesota in 2010 ... tell me you wouldn't rubber-stamp a repeat of 1,819 total yards and 18 touchdowns, leaving yourself more time to focus on the crucial swing picks of Round 2 (No. 24) and Round 3 (No. 25). In other words, as great as Tennessee's Johnson should be this decade, he hasn't fully earned the bankability for 1,800-2,000 yards yet. And before laughing that off, just remember that Steven Jackson hasn't really emulated his out-of-this-world success from 2006 (2,334 total yards, 16 TDs).

6. Let's be honest: Money talks. Whether Peterson and the Vikings carve out an extension this summer or midway through next season, rest assured that a highly lucrative deal is coming Adrian's way ... perhaps making him the highest-paid non-QB in the league. As a good-faith gesture for getting all that do-re-mi before his current contract expires in a few years, Peterson will certainly bring his A+-game to the table this fall.

Verdict: The above arguments only work for standard-scoring and TD-only leagues. For PPR leagues, Chris Johnson is the redoubtable choice for No. 1 overall ... while AP could even be usurpred by Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald or Steven Jackson at the No. 2 spot.

Adrian Peterson: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Run To Daylight

Since we're on the subject, here's a way-too-early listing for our top 25 running backs in 2010:
1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings
2. Chris Johnson, Titans
3. Ray Rice, Ravens
4. Michael Turner, Falcons
5. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
6. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
7. Steven Jackson, Rams
8. Frank Gore, 49ers
9. Cedric Benson, Bengals
10. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
11. Ryan Grant, Packers
12. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
13. Joseph Addai, Colts
14. Jerome Harrison, Browns
15. Fred Jackson, Bills
16. Thomas Jones/Shonn Greene, Jets (the team's No. 1 starter wins here)
17. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
18. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers
19. Beanie Wells, Cardinals
20. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (would be top-10 on any other team)
21. Steve Slaton, Texans
22. Ronnie Brown, Dolphins
23. Marion Barber, Cowboys
24. Matt Forte, Bears
25. Cadillac Williams, Bucs (a crucial offseason lies ahead for this onetime superstud)

Postseason Fantasy Football -- 'Survivor' Leagues

General Tenets
1. You can pick a new set of players before all four playoff rounds
2. However, you can only choose a particular player once during the playoffs

Rules to Live By
1. Stay one step ahead of the competition: Hypothetically speaking, let's say you wisely used Ray Rice last week against the Patriots (159 rushing yards, 2 TDs) -- even if it was on the erroneous assumption the Ravens would fall on the road. You should follow a similar strategy of choosing a top-flight talent whose team will likely lose this weekend. If you think Kurt Warner's run of good fortune will come to an end in New Orleans ... then by all means, play him over Philip Rivers or Tony Romo -- and save these QB studs for another playoff day.

2. Pull out all the stops: Fantasy owners should shoot for the moon in every playoff round. Try to maximize your scoring at every turn. On the other hand ...

3. Don't be left holding the bag on Super Bowl Sunday, either: If you believe Rivers and Brett Favre will be the starting QBs on Feb. 7 ... then it'd be wise to keep one of 'em on the sidelines during the AFC/NFC playoffs. In other words, don't be stuck with Billy Volek or Tarvaris Jackson as the only QB options come Super Sunday.

'Survivor' Dream Team -- Divisional Playoffs

QB: Drew Brees
RBs: Joseph Addai/Beanie Wells
WRs: Sidney Rice/Marques Colston
RB/WR Flex: Reggie Wayne
TE: Dallas Clark
K: Ryan Longwell
D/ST: San Diego Chargers

Wild Card Round Picks (these players are now ineligible for other rounds)
QB: Kurt Warner
RBs: Ray Rice/Cedric Benson
WRs: Larry Fitzgerald/Randy Moss
RB/WR Flex: Ryan Grant
TE: Jason Witten
K: Mason Crosby
D/ST: Cincinnati Bengals

Playoff Picks

We recommend sitting down for five minutes and brainstorming the playoff winners, round by round. Something like this:

Divisional Playoffs
Baltimore over Indianapolis
San Diego over N.Y. Jets
New Orleans over Arizona
Minnesota over Dallas

Conference Championships
Minnesota over New Orleans
San Diego over Baltimore

Super Bowl
San Diego over Minnesota

QB Rankings -- Divisional Playoffs

1. Drew Brees, Saints
2. Brett Favre, Vikings
3. Peyton Manning, Colts
4. Philip Rivers, Chargers
5. Tony Romo, Cowboys
6. Kurt Warner, Cardinals
7. Joe Flacco, Ravens
8. Mark Sanchez, Jets

Top 12 Running Backs -- Divisional Playoffs

1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings
2. Ray Rice, Ravens
3. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers
4. Joseph Addai, Colts
5. Shonn Greene, Jets
6. Pierre Thomas, Saints
7. Beanie Wells, Cardinals
8. Thomas Jones, Jets
9. Felix Jones, Cowboys
10. Willis McGahee, Ravens
11. Marion Barber, Cowboys
12. Darren Sproles, Chargers

SI Recommends

Top 12 Wide Receivers -- Divisional Playoffs

Vincent Jackson: Donald Miralle/Getty Images

1. Marques Colston, Saints
2. Sidney Rice, Vikings
3. Miles Austin, Cowboys
4. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
5. Vincent Jackson, Chargers
6. Reggie Wayne, Colts
7. Derrick Mason, Ravens
8. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets
9. Steve Breaston, Cardinals
10. Braylon Edwards, Jets
11. Robert Meachem, Saints
12. Devery Henderson, Saints

Target Practice -- Wide Receivers

If you've been reading Clicks all season, then you understand the obsession with Targets (the number of times a receiver is thrown to) and how it should directly affect your choices at the WR slot (especially PPR postseason leagues). Here are the top 15 receivers in Targets -- whose teams are still alive in the playoffs -- from Weeks 13-17:

1. Miles Austin, Cowboys (51 Targets)
2. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals (43 Targets)
3. Sidney Rice, Vikings (43)
4. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (40)
5. Derrick Mason, Ravens (38)
6. Malcom Floyd, Chargers (37)
7. Robert Meachem, Saints (35)
8. Reggie Wayne, Colts (35)
9. Marques Colston, Saints (33)
10. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets (31)
11. Devery Henderson, Saints (31)
12. Braylon Edwards, Jets (30)
13. Vincent Jackson, Chargers (29)
14. Austin Collie, Colts (28)
15. Percy Harvin, Vikings (28)

Target Practice -- Running Backs

To wit, here are the top 16 remaining tailbacks with 7 or more Targets from NFL Weeks 13-17:
1. Ray Rice, Ravens (27 Targets)
2. Reggie Bush, Saints (23 Targets)
3. Adrian Peterson, Vikings (23 Targets)
4. Pierre Thomas, Saints (21)
5. Marion Barber, Cowboys (17)
6. Tim Hightower, Cardinals (17)
7. Chester Taylor, Vikings (16)
8. Joseph Addai, Colts (14)
9. Felix Jones, Cowboys (14)
10. Darren Sproles, Chargers (13)
11. Mike Tolbert, Chargers (12)
12. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers (12)
13. Mike Hart, Colts (8)
14. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals (8)
15. Lynell Hamilton, Saints (7)
16. Willis McGahee, Ravens (7)

Tight End Rankings -- Divisional Playoffs

1. Antonio Gates, Chargers
2. Dallas Clark, Colts
3. Jason Witten, Cowboys
4. Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings
5. Dustin Keller, Jets
6. Jeremy Shockey/David Thomas, Saints
7. Todd Heap/L.J. Smith, Ravens
8. Steven Spach, Cardinals

Kicker Rankings -- Divisional Playoffs

1. Nate Kaeding, Chargers
2. Garrett Hartley, Saints
3. Ryan Longwell, Vikings
4. Billy Cundiff, Ravens
5. Jay Feely, Jets
6. Shaun Suisham, Cowboys
7. Neil Rackers, Cardinals
8. Matt Stover, Colts

Check This Out

We normally don't dabble in the dark art of collegiate fantasy football ... but we just couldn't resist this hilarious musical gem from The Chris Vernon Show ... depicting (read: mocking) the whirlwind week of former Raiders head coach/former Tennessee coach/current USC coach Lane Kiffin. Enjoy!

Survivor Game

There's nothing like a second chance in life, and the same thinking applies to fantasy football, as well. presents the ultimate fantasy game for owners whose dreams of a fantasy title went unfulfilled in the regular season, or the greedy owners who simply covet two championships in the same year: Facebook's Postseason Fantasy Football.

This test of fantasy survival is like no other game you've ever played, but it'll call on your keen abilities to predict the future -- one NFL week at a time. Are you game? Are you savvy enough to bring your fantasy expertise to a whole new level? This is a golden opportunity to win a slew of fantastic prizes, along with getting one last shot at redemption after taking Brian Westbrook in Round 1 of your regular season draft.

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