Four Downs: Kevin Smith busts out, but ... 

November, 20, 2011
One veteran NFC North running back had a huge statistical performance in Sunday's Week 11 ... but few fantasy owners were able to enjoy what Detroit Lions afterthought Kevin Smith provided. Instead, far more fantasy owners will anxiously await MRI results on the sprained left ankle belonging to Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson. After all, Smith is owned in less than 1 percent of ESPN standard leagues and was unemployed two weeks ago. Meanwhile, Peterson was fantasy's first overall draft pick and entered Week 11 third among running backs in fantasy scoring.

Hopefully the image of Peterson limping off Mall of America Field at the end of the first quarter and then being carted away from the sidelines of the Vikings' loss to the Oakland Raiders will be replaced by him suiting up in Week 12 against the Atlanta Falcons. X-rays were negative, and Peterson has been durable, playing through occasional nagging injuries and missing only three games over four seasons. In a season in which fantasy owners have seen first-round draft picks leave with season-ending injury (Jamaal Charles), generally disappoint (Michael Vick) and really disappoint (Chris Johnson), Peterson is yet another reminder that there are no guarantees, no matter what your draft position is or how well a player is performing.

[+] EnlargeAdrian Peterson
AP Photo/Andy KingAdrian Peterson scored his 12th touchdown of the season Sunday before suffering an ankle injury.
If Peterson does miss time, at least he provided his owners eight fantasy points with 26 rushing yards and a touchdown run Sunday, the sixth consecutive game he scored a touchdown. He did that in one quarter of play. Entering the Philadelphia Eagles-New York Giants Sunday night game, only 16 running backs had scored more than Peterson's eight fantasy points. It was Peterson's lowest fantasy output of the season, but it could have been worse. We'll find out Monday if the injury could be worse as well, perhaps the dreaded high ankle sprain.