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Is there still a case for Adrian Peterson as the No. 1 fantasy RB?

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs for a touchdown against Atlanta Falcons strong safety William Moore (25)during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

I drew the 1.01 in the Scott Fish Bowl (#SFB480) that got underway Monday. For those who don’t know, the SFB is an annual fantasy football league that consists of industry writers and fans. In this scoring format, running backs get .25 points per carry, so it got me thinking — who will I make my foundation RB with the first pick overall? Before you get on the horn to tell me Antonio Brown is still the pick, check this out. Here’re the 2015 scoring leaders in this format — Deangelo Williams served as the lead back for 10 games and still finished with more points than breakout WR Allen Robinson.

After much debate, I selected Adrian Peterson, and we’ll get more into detail on why in a minute. With a mid-to-late first round ADP, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a draft where he’s the first running back off the board. Even in this unique format, Peterson at 1.01 was considered unorthodox. But it got me thinking — is there still a case for Peterson as the No. 1 RB even in a standard league?

Our staff ranks him as the No. 6 overall RB and Jeff Ratcliffe recently made the argument for why he shouldn’t be any higher. But let’s take a step back for a minute. At its core, the argument against Peterson finishing as the RB1 centers around his perceived ceiling. Groupthink dismisses the idea that an aging RB with minimal involvement in the passing game can outscore the field.

At what point does a player’s floor come into consideration, though? Our set of rankings isn’t an ordered list of how we expect players to finish in total points. Any given ranking accounts for both ceiling and floor. That’s why you might see Dorial Green-Beckham ranked next to Willie Snead, while if both players reach their absolute ceilings, they will finish far apart in total fantasy points. So if Player A has a slightly higher ceiling than Player B, but a much lower floor, Player B might be the smarter draft pick. Sacrifice a few points at the top end for the surety of a good minimum.

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