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Around Fantasyland: RB ACL updates

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Recent posts by William Del Pilar

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Posted May 23, 2012 @ 8:15 p.m. ET
By William Del Pilar

This offseason saw some key players go down with ACL tears and how they’re doing now during the offseason can help us dictate their value if you have early drafts. Obviously the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson leads the field but there are others with fantasy value. 

Adrian Peterson, Vikings — torn ACL, MCL and meniscus damage 
Peterson is ahead of schedule and has been running and sprinting in a straight line with reports stating he’s been impressive thus far. The goal is to have him active and playing in Week One but trainer Eric Sugarman has said that may not happen, and Peterson will follow the team and doctors' recommendations.

Peterson told ESPN he's "50-50" to practice in training camp, but I wonder why would the team risk a heavy financial investment in letting him return too early. I don’t think they will, and I don’t see him being a major factor in 2012 based on an early ADP. If you have the stomach to draft him early, do keep an eye on him to see where he is with his recovery, specifically any setbacks. Right now, he’s merely a No. 3 fantasy back at best with No. 2 and low-end No. 1 upside.

Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers  torn ACL
Stating the opposite, the Steelers believe Mendenhall will contribute this season but have said he could start the season on the PUP list. The team believes – as I do – that backs don’t return to form until a year after they’re back on the field. Mendenhall is continuing to experience soreness and swelling in his knee, and he views Week One as a best-case scenario, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Wednesday. Right now he has no fantasy value, but in larger or high-stake leagues, a late-round draft-and-stash pick is acceptable, but not recommended. 

Jamaal Charles, Chiefs  torn ACL
Charles states he is ahead of schedule in his recovery and is about "80 percent" healthy, he said in May, according to multiple media outlets. Having suffered the injury in September, he should return in Week One. He doesn’t have clearance to practice yet but he's able to cut and take part in drills. Charles, according to The Kansas City Star, vowed to be "bigger, stronger and maybe even faster," but with Peyton Hillis added to the fold, I view him as a No. 2 fantasy back at best with limited upside because of the injury and typical recovery time.

Tim Hightower, Redskins   torn ACL
I’m not buying the Kool-Aid talk about Hightower returning to lead the charge when the team has Roy Helu and Evan Royster. I believe Eric Edholm’s report in which the team may see him more as the pass-blocker and receiver on third downs. Avoid Hightower, as he’s not medically cleared and won’t be until about mid-July. The team would not have re-signed him if they thought he wouldn’t be ready, but right now let someone else draft him, as I see no fantasy value in 2012.

Alex Green, Packers  torn ACL
Green could be in the spotlight in some leagues as the Packers have shown no interest to re-sign Ryan Grant and James Starks has proven too brittle to carry the load. There is no guarantee Green will be ready by camp but he is running, cutting and is ahead of schedule, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Green has value down the road and is worth a late-round draft-and-stash in larger leagues but  Brandon Saine will have an opportunity to impress.

Baron Batch, Steelers — torn ACL
Batch's odds of being a legitimate option for carries is minimal, and he has no fantasy value. He was contending for a reserve role when he suffered his injury last summer.

Knowshon Moreno, Broncos  torn ACL
Most have written Moreno off in Fantasyland. Moreno, who was able to take part in OTAs this week, is a player from the previous regime, and with Ronnie Hillman drafted this season, Moreno may not make the roster. Moreno has the style to be Joseph Addai to Peyton Manning but has not yet shown the talent and currently has no fantasy value.

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