Peterson a popular pickup in fantasy

Adrian Peterson’s return to the playing field hasn’t been determined yet, but fantasy owners are making their moves.

No name is hotter in fantasy circles this week than Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson. Not too surprising this time of year, when fantasy players are trying to gear up to either push their teams into the playoffs or set themselves up for a deep run in the single-elimination tournament.

Peterson, who has been away from the Vikings for nearly two months, reached a plea agreement on a child abuse charge that means he will avoid jail time and a trial. The resolution still leaves it unclear whether Peterson might rejoin the team and play this year, although he and the NFL Players Association are working to make that happen as quickly as possible.

The chance is enough to make fantasy players push Peterson as one of the most-added players in Yahoo, CBS Sports and ESPN leagues. After all, he was a top-three pick in most drafts and the possibility he could play is enough to gamble on for some fantasy owners.

But what can you realistically expect — top-three running back numbers? Experts are all over the map but appear to be playing things conservative, essentially basing rankings on whether they think he’ll play, and how much.

It’s key with a player in this situation to temper expectations, and if a rival in your league is too optimistic for your comfort, pounce with a well-timed trade.

Here are some other players expected to come back soon to uncertain fantasy futures:

Josh Gordon: The Cleveland wide receiver has a home on a roster in nearly two-thirds of Yahoo leagues, with fantasy hopefuls squatting on a potential Week 12 return from suspension.

But even Browns general manager Ray Farmer says it’s not certain Gordon will have a major role when he comes back. Farmer said players have to find a way to fit into the team.

“Do you kind of disrupt what you are just to make sure that one person gets the ball?” Farmer said Tuesday. “Teams win. Talent doesn’t.”

Except in fantasy football, where talent trumps team results and a 100-yard, two-TD performance in a losing game is more desirable than 60 yards that moved the chains in a win.

When on the field, Gordon is as good as any receiver. But it might take a game or two to see him put up eye-popping numbers. And if you’re expecting similar results to his stats from last year, just look at the numbers: 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games.

Tough to replicate.

Ryan Mathews: Mathews is practicing again and appears to have a good chance of coming back when the Chargers play the Raiders on Nov. 16. With all the injuries in San Diego’s backfield, a great matchup against Oakland and a bad loss in its last game, don’t be surprised if the running back is welcomed back with a touchdown or two and a good number of carries when the Chargers start watching the clock.

Then you can decide whether to keep him or shop him.

Fred Jackson: Jackson has been known to bounce back from injury, and the Bills need him badly as they play without C.J. Spiller. He returned to limited practice this week, but don’t take that as a sign he will play this weekend against Kansas City.

He was hurt Oct. 19 and originally scheduled to be out four weeks.

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