Talk about a trade helping both teams.
In his first game since being dealt from the Saints to the Cardinals, Adrian Peterson ran 26 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns Sunday against the Buccaneers. Meanwhile, unencumbered by Peterson’s presence, the Saints’ Mark Ingram had 30 touches for 150 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions.
Let’s start with Peterson, who seemingly found the fountain of youth in the desert. The 32-year-old had his best game since Nov. 29, 2015, when he ran for 158 yards and two scores. He clearly has plenty left in the tank, and he reinvigorated a Cardinals offense desperate for balance since David Johnson was lost to a wrist injury.
And the schedule portends more success for Peterson. Next, he’ll face the Rams, who have allowed the most points to running backs. After the bye, he’ll face the 49ers, who have allowed the second-most. After tough matchups with the Seahawks and Texans, Peterson gets the Jaguars (10th-most) and Rams again.
Peterson had a noticeable effect on Carson Palmer, who had a productive day despite throwing a season-low 22 passes (his previous low was 36). Palmer completed 18 for 283 yards and three touchdowns. Peterson kept the Buccaneers’ attention, and the threat of play-action figures to do the same for future foes.
Andre Ellington felt the adverse effect. He entered the game as the top receiver among all running backs with 28 catches, but he didn’t touch the ball once against the Bucs. With the running game rolling and the Cardinals leading throughout, they didn’t need Ellington. His value takes a hit, but don’t bail on him yet, especially in PPR leagues.
As for Johnson, coach Bruce Arians said last week the earliest he could return is Thanksgiving. Arians initially hoped he’d return by Christmas. Either way, Peterson will be the feature back at least up to the fantasy playoffs. He won’t figure in the passing game, so consider him an RB2. But his ceiling appears higher than most thought.
Back in New Orleans, Ingram looked like his old self, too. He had his most carries (25) since Nov. 9, 2014, when he had 27. That just happened to be the same season he went to the Pro Bowl. What’s more, he had five rushes inside the 10-yard line, from where he scored twice. That’s his most close-in carries since 2014, as well.
Alvin Kamara still will get his share of the action, but he’s more of a receiving threat. And keep in mind, Ingram had his big game even though Kamara ran 10 times for 75 yards. The Saints’ offense can support two running backs. If Ingram maintains his workload and keeps getting carries in the red zone, he’s RB1 material.
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WEEK 7 OUTLOOK
Byes: Lions, Texans.
Titans QB Marcus Mariota: The Browns have allowed 14 touchdown passes, tied for the most in the league (Patriots), and the second-most points to quarterbacks.
Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon: We saw how Jordan Howard bludgeoned the Ravens, who have allowed the third-most rushing yards to running backs. McKinnon can, too.
Cowboys WR Dez Bryant: He could loom large with the running game in question. The 49ers have allowed the seventh-most yards to wide receivers.
Bengals QB Andy Dalton: Aaron Rodgers owners may have grabbed him on waivers, but he could struggle against the Steelers, who have allowed the fewest points to QBs.
Buccaneers RB Doug Martin: He’s getting more involved in the offense again, but the Bills have allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards to running backs.
Colts WR T.Y. Hilton: The Jaguars have allowed the fourth-fewest points to wide receivers, giving up just one touchdown.
WEEK 6 PICKS
Kirk Cousins: 330 yards, 2 TD passes, 1 INT
C.J. Anderson: 9 carries, 17 yards
Larry Fitzgerald: 10 catches, 138 yards, TD
Derek Carr: 171 yards, 1 TD pass, 2 INTs
Panthers RBs: Stewart, 8-(-4) rushing; McCaffrey, 4-8 rushing, 10-56, TD receiving
Sammy Watkins: 1 catch, 11 yards