Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2012 Draft Prep: 'Frustrated' Turner insists he'll be a factor

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

By now you've probably read and heard a lot of news and analysis that suggests Falcons running back Michael Turner is headed for a bad season. He's turned 30 years old. His coaches have come out and said they'd like to scale back his workload after he totaled over 300 carries for the third time in four seasons. His game trailed off last season as he struggled through five of his final six games. The Falcons have a speedy second-year rusher in Jacquizz Rodgers and a pass attack on the brink of exploding thanks to receiving dynamo Julio Jones.

Turner's read and heard it all too. And he's laughing.

"The way people talk, man, they just expect your body to just crumble," Turner told CBSSports.com, chuckling at the notion that turning 30 means his skills will deteriorate overnight. I hear a lot of talk about the way I finished the season off but I still finished third in the league in rushing. So what's everyone else doing? Why is there negative talk about me like I'm done and I'm finished? I still feel young, still feel fresh."

He should feel fresh. Turner might have turned 30 but he has just 1,479 career carries including the postseason. True, 1,214 of those carries have come in his last four seasons with the Falcons, but typically it takes a lot more than four years of regular work for a running back to crack. The whole idea that a fifth straight year of having a heavy workload being bad for a rusher isn't entirely valid and history proves it. Here's a look at how other big backs like Turner fared in their fifth seasons after getting a lot of work in the previous four.

Running wild for five straight years
Player Four straight years
of big carries
Fifth season's stats
Jerome Bettis '93-'96: 1,116 carries '97: 375 carries, 1,665 yds, 7 TDs
Stephen Davis '99-'02: 1,185 carries '03: 318 carries, 1,444 yds, 8 TDs
Corey Dillon '97-'00: 1,073 carries '01: 340 carries, 1,315 yds, 10 TDs
Eddie George '96-'99: 1,360 carries '00: 403 carries, 1, 509 yds, 14 TDs
Steven Jackson '05-'08: 1,090 carries '09: 324 carries, 1,416 yds, 4 TDs
Edgerrin James '99-'02: 1,184 carries '03: 310 carries, 1,259 yds, 11 TDs
Jamal Lewis '02-05: 1,199 carries '06: 314 carries, 1,132 yds, 9 TDs
Ricky Williams '99-'02: 1,197 carries '03: 393 carries, 1,372 yds, 9 TDs
Maurice Jones-Drew '08-'11: 1,151 carries '12: ???
Michael Turner '08-'11: 1,189 carries '12: ???

Many people will point to the way Turner's 2011 season ended and believe he wasn't fresh. Excluding a Week 17 drumming of the Buccaneers' bottom-ranked run defense where he ran wild, Turner totaled 321 yards on 99 carries (3.24 average) between Week 12 and the Wild Card Playoff game at the Giants with just one touchdown. In those games, Matt Ryan attempted at least 34 passes in all but one and there was at least one 100-yard receiver between Roddy White and Julio Jones. Ryan had to pass in some of those games because the Falcons fell behind. The team ultimately went 3-3 over that span.

Of course that means in the games before Week 11 the Falcons were 6-4 and Turner totaled 888 rush yards (1,012 total) and eight touchdowns to start his season. The detractors conveniently forget that. It's nothing to sneeze at and that's where Turner's focus is whenever anyone brings up the end of 2011.

"I can't remember who we played those last five or six games or so, but ... it all depends on the flow of the game how things work out," Turner said. "If a team jumps out with a big lead on us, of course we've got to start playing catch-up and start passing the ball downfield a little bit more. Can't control that. We want to run it and control the tempo for every game, that's every coach's dream, but sometimes it doesn't work your way. You've got to work through it, push through it and do what you can."

The flow of the game that Turner pointed out is important. If the Falcons' defense gets run over, it takes opportunities away from Turner much like it would nearly any running back given that situation. But a similar notion could help Turner in 2012: Once defenses realize that the Falcons' offense can throw at will because of White and Jones (not to mention Tony Gonzalez), their safeties and linebackers can't concentrate on stopping the run. And that's when Turner can chew up yards.

"[We're] just going to take what the defense gives us," Turner modestly said about succeeding when defenses focus on the pass and not the run. "We've got playmakers all across the board, so any one of us can be a threat to the defense. So whoever they decide to leave open, that guy's going to have a pretty good game."

As for the coaches saying they want to preserve Turner by limiting his carries, he's not sweating it because he's heard the exact same thing before.

"It's like every year it's been the same story over and over again," he said. "My first year starting I had like over 370 carries or something like that and that was a curse and guys don't come back and stuff like that. I don't listen to it. I just go out there and just do my job. I want to be a contributor the same amount as I've been in years past. I don't feel that I am getting weaker or can't handle the workload anymore. We did add some more weapons to this offense, obviously, but I'm going to prepare like every year since I first got here.

"I don't feel like [I need fewer carries] at all. Not at all."

To prove that it might be all talk, Turner confirmed he's been getting the same amount of work in training camp as he has in the past. If there was a slowdown coming with Jacquizz Rodgers taking over some touches, it might not play out that way.

Turner should be credited for being a good teammate as well. With all the commotion about his future and Rodgers cutting into his time, Turner is still excited for what the second-year speedster brings to the table.

"Quizz is looking great," Turner said. "Last year, like all rookies, had a disadvantage of not having the OTAs and things like that, you had to go straight to training camp and learn everything on the run. He's more comfortable this year, you can tell by the way he's practicing and the way he's carrying himself around the facility and things like that. He's ready to roll and he's ready for games to start to show everybody what he's got."

Check out our Fantasy Football podcast!
There is no better source for entertaining Fantasy advice than our Fantasy Football Today podcast. Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Adam Aizer will help you pass the time as you anticipate Draft Day 2014!
Latest episode | Subscribe today!

What seems likely is Rodgers taking some work away from Turner. Enough to keep him under 300 carries on the season? Yes, but it shouldn't be drastic unless Turner gets hurt along the way.

Here's why: The Falcons don't care about our Fantasy teams, they care about winning. Since Turner arrived -- and including the postseason -- the team is a ridiculous 27-3 when Turner gets at least 20 carries. When he has between 15 and 19 carries, a range he might fall into more often in 2012, the Falcons have gone 10-11 over four years but 8-5 over the last two seasons. With 14 carries or fewer for Turner, the Falcons are 4-7 including 0-4 last season. Granted, when the Falcons aim to grind the clock toward the end of games Turner will load up on carries, but it's not like he was sparsely used until the fourth quarter in those situations -- he was a factor in all four quarters. Rodgers will pitch in to help the Falcons' run game thrive, but Turner should be the genesis of their rushing numbers and thus should translate into some wins for Atlanta.

Another point: The Falcons play only one Top-10 run defense from 2011 (the Cowboys) and have four games against top-half run defenses (the Eagles and the Saints twice with that Cowboys matchup). The matchups are just as juicy for the passing game (two Top 10 pass defenses, three top-half pass defenses) but what's been the common thread in the Falcons' wins? Rushes. If the Falcons get the ball late, guess who's going to carry it.

Turner's excited about the passing game opening things up for him,. He's of the belief his offensive line will be improved ("They want to get that stigma that they're a bad offensive line off of them," he said) and that the new up-tempo Falcons offense will help him just as much as it will help the Falcons' other offensive studs.

But Turner ultimately is excited about proving people wrong. His laughs are replaced with a determined tone. With a track record of success to build off of, he should make believers out of detractors this year and extend his streak of 1,000-yard, double-digit touchdown seasons.

"My name's been up there on the charts every year and guys just write me off. They're giving up on me before they've given a sign, really," he said. "I could see it if I had like 800 yards rushing or something last year, but I was still in double-digits in touchdowns, my yards per carry went up from the previous year, I even had more catches out of the backfield last year. I just don't get what everyone's looking at as far as the press and stuff, all the negative talk about what I'm doing on the football field. I see the stats all the time. If I'm improving in certain areas, then I don't see what the big fuss is about me losing my step.

"It definitely frustrates me. I'm not going to lie. But I'm just going to let them keep talking and I'm going to keep playing and keep putting up numbers."

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Colts release Deji Karim
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:04 pm ET) The Colts released running back Deji Karim from the injured reserve with an injury settlement.

Falcons defense doesn't stand a chance
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:04 pm ET) Coming off a poor showing in 2013, the Falcons defense couldn't ask for a tougher test to begin 2014. The Saints come to town in Week 1.

The Saints, of course, are an offensive juggernaut coming off another fine season in which they ranked fourth in total offense and second in passing offense. The Falcons, conversely, tied for 27th in total defense and 21st in passing defense. They allowed a 102.4 passer rating, second-best in the league.

The Falcons made some changes to their defense this offseason in the hope of better results, signing Dwight Lowery to play free safety and switching to a 3-4 scheme, but those changes won't be enough to slow down Drew Brees and company. And if the Saints jump out to an early lead and can rely on the ground game more than usual, the matchup is even more in their favor. The Falcons ranked 31st against the run last season, allowing 135.8 yards per game.

Clearly, this isn't the week to gamble on the Falcons DST.


Cowboys add two to practice squad Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:02 pm ET) The Cowboys signed defensive back Jemea Thomas and offensive tackle John Wetzel to the practice squad Tuesday.

Report: Saints sign Shayne Graham
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:00 pm ET) The Saints have re-signed kicker Shayne Graham, the New Orleans Advocate reports. Graham was released during final roster cuts but the team has apparently settled on him as its best kicking option moving forward.

Dolphins name Shelley Smith, Daryn College starting guards
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:57 pm ET) The Dolphins will open the season with Shelley Smith starting at right guard and Daryn Colledge at left guard, the Palm Beach Post reports.

"Now, it is all about performance," head coach Joe Philbin said. "You have to go out each and every Sunday and perform at a high level, and this is Week 1. I’m very confident. I think they deserved it and earned it."


Dolphins sign Gerald Rivers to practice squad
by Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer
(5:54 pm ET) The Dolphins have signed defensive end Gerald Rivers to the team's practice squad.

Jaguars name Jacques McClendon starting center
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:52 pm ET) The Jaguars named offensive lineman Jacques McClendon the starter at center Monday for the team's season opener against the Eagles, the Florida Times-Union reports.

"Jacques is going to be our center going into the game," head coach Gus Bradley said. "He took all of the reps, or most of the reps, at one. Luke [Bowanko] got some in there, but we have made that decision."

McClendon started the team's first two preseason games at right guard before shifting to center for the third game. He then played left guard in the preseason finale.


Jets add Quincy Enunwa, Jeremiah George to practice squad
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:49 pm ET) The Jets announced Tuesday that wide receiver Quincy Enunwa and linebacker Jeremiah George have been signed to the practice squad.

Christine Michael among Seahawks missing practice Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:47 pm ET) The Seahawks announced that the following players weren't able to practice Tuesday: running back Christine Michael (hamstring), tight end Cooper Helfet (knee), center Lemuel Jeanpierre (neck), linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (hamstring) and cornerback Tharold Simon (knee).

Additionally, the following players were limited participants in practice: wide receiver Kevin Norwood (ankle), linebacker Bruce Irvin (hip) and cornerback Jeremy Lane (groin).

With Michael unable to practice Tuesday, it's become more likely that he'll could sit out the team's Thursday night opener against the Packers.


49ers sign Kassim Osgood, send Glenn Dorsey to IR
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:38 pm ET) The 49ers placed defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey on the injured reserve with a designation to return Tuesday while re-signing wide receiver Kassim Osgood , the team announced.

Dorsey, who recently signed a contract extension, is recovering from a torn bicep and has a chance at returning before the end of the season. Osgood was cut this past weekend as the team trimmed its roster to 53 players.


 
 
 
Rankings