AP is No. 1 (07/16/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Bold Predictions – an interesting player or team prediction for the 2015 NFL season.

Each day, over the next two weeks (July 13th – 24th), we will reveal an interesting player or team prediction for the 2015 NFL season. The first five articles of the series will have a fantasy focus while the next five will be bold predictions for the upcoming season.

Previous Articles: Hill leads NFL in rushing, Luck highest scorer in fantasy, Landry over 100 receptions

Prediction: Adrian Peterson is the No. 1 running back in fantasy

Last year's No. 1 overall fantasy pick burned owners. Peterson only played one game due to an indefinite suspension for violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy. We understand if you are hesitant to draft a 30-year old back with over 2,000 career carries that didn't play last season but Peterson will be the No. 1 running back in fantasy.

First, he has already set a precedent for bouncing back. Following his ACL tear in 2011, Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards, averaged 6.0 yards per attempt and scored 12 rushing touchdowns. This year he isn't trying to return from a devastating injury but still has the motivation to prove the doubters wrong.

Minnesota used a running back by committee last year. Matt Asiata and Jerrick McKinnon combined to rush for 1,108 yards and nine touchdowns. The Vikings duo also caught 71 passes for 447 yards and a touchdown. If you combined Asiata and McKinnon into one player, they would have been a top ten running back in fantasy. No one believes either back is as good as AP.

Peterson will also benefit from an offense that involves running backs in the passing game. Per Matthew Berry's 100 Facts, in Norv Turner's final three years in San Diego, only the Saints had more targets and receptions to their running backs than the Chargers.

Peterson is projected to carry the ball 301.8 times for 1,438.6 yards and 14.3 touchdowns. The Vikings All-Pro back will catch 37.1 balls for 287.3 yards and 1.9 touchdowns.

2015 is shaping up to be another amazing season for the future Hall of Famer.

Top 5 Fantasy Running Backs

Player Rush Yards Rush TDs Receiving Yards Receiving TDs
Adrian Peterson 1,438.60 14.3 287.3 1.9
Eddie Lacy 1,439.30 11.1 324.1 3.6
Marshawn Lynch 1,240.50 12.1 332.7 2.9
Jamaal Charles 1,117.40 10.1 440.5 4.1
Le'Veon Bell 1,104.20 9.3 499.1 2.9