HARTVIGSON – PATTERSON OVER AUSTIN
With the first week of the fantasy playoffs now upon us, our fantasy teams should be pretty well locked in (although Tony Romo is skyrocketing my cholesterol count). And while the only articles flying around the internet are aimed at postseason advice, Jim and I take a look into the future and examine the pre-draft value of prolific rookies Cordarrelle Patterson and Tavon Austin.
First let me say that both players have, what the kids call, “video game talent.” Both Patterson and Austin are pure electricity with the football in their hands, showing break-neck speed and ankle breaking agility. However, at 6’ 2”, 220 pounds, Patterson gains a significant advantage possessing the requisite size to be a viable red zone threat. If the Vikings have any plans to claw back into the NFL postseason they must find a way to get their young playmaker the ball down near the stripe.
Although the Rams defense hasn’t lived up to preseason hype, the Vikings defense is bad, and getting worse. Poor defense equates to higher scoring games, especially in the high flying NFC North. An elevated scoreboard always means more fantasy points for that teams’ offensive players.
We’ve all heard the term ‘8-in-the-box’ in which defenders load the line of scrimmage to stop the run. With Adrian Peterson in the purple and gold, ‘8-in-the-box’ is the only defense run by the Vikings’ opponents. This provides one-on-one coverage to the outside giving a wide receiver better opportunities to score points. I’m anticipating a change at the offensive coordinator position in Minnesota bringing in a coach capable of utilizing these matchups.
Perhaps the most compelling reason I’m endorsing Patterson over Austin is the projected targets for both players. With an aging and injury prone Greg Jennings currently holding the No. 1 wide receiver spot, I’m betting Patterson will lead the team in targets at the end of the 2014 season. On the contrary, Austin will continue to be lost in the mix of the anemic Schottenheimer offense, while continually shuffling in and out with the likes of Chris Givens, Brian Quick and Austin Pettis.
When we gather all the evidence, it’s clear why Patterson should be selected ahead of Austin when we take to the war room in 2014.
BUKOWSKI – REBUTTAL
What would happen to Eric’s argument if Adrian Peterson were to leave the Vikings? It would crumble. Although it’s highly unlikely to happen, Peterson has told ESPN radio that he’s thought about going home to play in Texas for either the Cowboys or the Texans. And let’s be honest, at 3-8-1 it would probably be a wise move for the Vikings to deal Peterson in order to speed up the rebuilding process.
Peterson isn’t the only reason that defenses stack the box versus the Vikings offense, lousy quarterback play is also a major reason. I really don’t see Patterson taking a huge step forward next season as long as Josh Freeman, Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel are the Vikings’ QB options. Questionable quarterback play combined with Patterson’s questionable hands will result in Tavon Austin far outperforming Patterson in 2014.