Adam Levitan

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Turner the Decliner

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Remember when Michael Turner was known as “The Burner?” That’s almost comical now.

At age 29, Turner is a shell of himself. He’s slow in the open field, can’t cut quick enough and almost always gets taken down by the first defender. Frankly, Turner appears chubby. Tack that on to his annual issue of catching no passes and coming off the field on all third-down plays, and what we have is a typical aging running back situation.

Turner isn’t going to turn his career path around at this point. He’s about to go over 300 carries for the third time in four seasons and his offense will only get better through the air. The artist formerly known as the Burner will be on all my “do not draft” lists once again next year. In fact, he’ll be on my “never draft again” list.

Here are some others running backs on that list as we begin to look to 2012:
* LeGarrette Blount - Runs to contact, can’t catch passes, has fumbling problem and doesn’t play on third downs or when his team is behind.

* Frank Gore - Will be 29 in May, asked to be an exclusive blocker in the pass offense now and quarterback’s limitations creates stacked boxes.

* Maurice Jones-Drew - His unbelievable 2011 campaign defies all logic. He came into the year with a knee injury, plays with the worst passing offense in football, sees eight men in box on every play and is still the league’s leading rusher. The price tag will not be worth the risk going forward. MJD is over 330 touches for the third straight season.

With a 9-yard touchdown pass to Darren Sproles in the fourth quarter Monday night, Drew Brees set the NFL record for most passing yards in a single season. He passed Dan Marino’s mark of 5,084 yards, set in 1984.

Here’s a crazy thing to think about on Brees: He’s averaging 339.1 passing yards per game this season and has thrown 41 touchdowns. But he’s still fantasy’s No. 3 quarterback, well behind Aaron Rodgers and just back of Cam Newton.

Lance Moore aggravated his hamstring injury in the second quarter and called it a night. … Love the way Julio Jones is willing to go over the middle. He’s explosive and will be better than Roddy White next year. … I don’t know how Tony Gonzalez keeps doing it, but I wouldn’t bet on him doing it again next year. … The Saints figure to be playing to win next week. If they win and the Rams somehow beat the Niners, the Saints will get a first-round bye.

Tony Romo (hand) is going to be fine. … Andre Johnson (hamstring) plans on playing in Week 17. … Mario Manningham (knee) is questionable for Sunday night’s showdown with the Cowboys. … Jake Ballard (knee) admitted he wouldn’t be able to play if the game was Monday. … Anthony Fasano (concussion) still hasn’t been cleared.
Kevin Smith (ankle) appears likely to rest in Week 17. … Chris Johnson (ankle) took an injection to play in Week 16 and figures to do the same Week 17. … James Starks aggravated his ankle. He’ll sit in the season finale. … LeSean McCoy (ankle) is in doubt for the finale.

The Lions are expected to play to win in Week 17. They don’t want to go to New Orleans in the first round. … The Lions signed Joique Bell, who would serve as an emergency back if Kevin Smith (ankle) sits Sunday. … Adrian Peterson is a good bet to start the 2012 season on the PUP list after testing revealed ACL, MCL, medial and lateral meniscus damage. … Brandon Saine could be the Packers’ featured back in Week 17 with the Packers resting players. … Stevan Ridley has led the Patriots in carries for two straight weeks. …

Adding a different defense/special teams each week based on matchups is a fine strategy. Here are units that might be on waivers to consider this week for streaming purposes:

1. BRONCOS vs. Chiefs - It’s do-or-die time for the Broncos, who get their old friend Kyle Orton at Mile High. Denver figures to play very aggressively in this one.  

2. TITANS at Texans - Houston is locked into the No. 3 seed. They figure to rest most of their plays while the Titans need a win to keep their hopes alive.

3. FALCONS vs. Bucs - The Bucs gave up on their season about a month ago. Going through the motions against this Atlanta defense isn’t going to cut it.

Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
Email :Adam Levitan

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