Adam Levitan

Football Daily Dose

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Arrested Developments

Thursday, July 19, 2012

For some NFL players, free time is "the devil's play."

During the last few months, no less than six skill players have run afoul of the law. Some are repeat offenders, some have character issues and others just like to puff the magic dragon too much.

Either way, this is a new NFL under judge, jury and executioner Roger Goodell. The “bad boy” image is no longer tolerated, leading to the possibilities of suspensions and probations. Fantasy owners need to wrap their heads around the risks and fallout:

Arrested for: Driving Under the Influence
Current average draft position (ADP): 18.9

Background: Although this is Lynch’s first substance abuse offense, it’s certainly not the first time he’s been in hot water.  His driver’s license was revoked in 2008 when he struck a woman with his car outside a Buffalo bar. He was hit with a three-game suspension in 2009 after getting arrested on a misdemeanor weapons charge. And this time, Lynch reportedly nearly crashed into two other cars with his Econoline van before getting pulled over.

We don’t have an estimate on the length of suspension, but it’s only logical that it will be at least three games -- and possibly significantly more. Beast Mode likes to have fun, but it’s not the kind of fun Goodell gets down with. Expect a message to be sent here. The previous incidents and near-crashes are definitely “aggravating circumstances,” which will allow the commish to bring the hammer at some point during the season -- even if he has to wait until Lynch’s case is settled.

Fallout: Enter Robert Turbin and Leon Washington as the in-house options.  Turbin is a fourth-round rookie that was the WAC’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2011. He’s a power back at 5’10/222, but also ran a solid 4.50 at the combine. Our own draft analyst Josh Norris has drawn comparisons to Marion Barber and these highlights show why. Turbin isn’t likely to carry a full workload while Lynch is suspended, but a committee role that includes the goal-line work is a strong bet. Washington, a natural scatback that has averaged just 2.5 carries per game as a Seahawk, projects as the third-down runner and outside threat.

As long as the Seahawks don’t look outside the organization (Cedric Benson, Ryan Grant, Sammy Morris?), Turbin is the best bet here. His ADP should start rising into the high-flier range immediately.  

Arrested for: Misdemeanor domestic violence
Current ADP: 42.1

Background: Bryant has been saddled with a bad reputation for as long as he’s been in the NFL. However, most of his transgressions have been of the childish nature. This is his first career arrest. Still, the details here don’t bode well.

Bryant allegedly slapped his mother with a baseball cap and pulled her shirt and hair. Yes, this is the same mother that served 18 months in jail during Dez’s childhood for crack cocaine. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland made headlines around the 2010 draft by asking Bryant if his mother was a prostitute. Extenuating circumstances? Maybe. This 911 call, in which Angela says her son "tried to kill me," certainly won’t sit well with Goodell.

Fallout: If Bryant does end up suspended, it figures to be a very short one because he's a first-time offender. He’s still a major breakout candidate as the most talented receiver in an explosive offense. Is there more risk now that he has one strike against the Personal Conduct Policy? Certainly. Is it worth the risk? Definitely. We haven’t moved Bryant down the rankings at all in our Draft Guide.

Arrested for: Resisting arrest
Current ADP: 16.7

Background: Peterson is known as one of the NFL’s good guys, never coming close to getting in trouble and always showing a unique work ethic. That’s why it was strange when he got into an argument with cops at a Houston club over leaving the premises. No matter who is telling the truth in this incident, don’t expect it to go anywhere. The charge is so minor and Peterson is so vehement in his innocence that the district attorney might just drop the case.

Fallout: There’s nothing to see here. I won’t be drafting Peterson because of the reasons outlined here, but this “arrest” may not even count as an official incident in the Personal Conduct Policy. It’s a non-issue for potential owners.

Arrested for: Marijuana possession -- twice
Current ADP: 95.0

Background: Leshoure tested positive for marijuana while at Illinois. On February 18 of this year, he was popped for marijuana possession. On March 12, he was pulled over by police and tried to escape a charge by eating his weed a la Super Troopers. That obviously didn’t work.

Leshoure has already been suspended for the first two games of the 2012 by the NFL.

Fallout: The suspension could be a blessing in disguise for Leshoure. He’s coming off an Achilles’ tear, one of the worst injuries a running back can have. Any extra time for recovery will be a positive. In a best-case scenario, Leshoure returns in Week 3 and takes over a power-back role in a committee that will also feature Jahvid Best and Kevin Smith. That 95.0 ADP feels way too high.

Arrested for: Felony count of falsely reporting a fire and misdemeanor reckless endangerment.
Current ADP: 186.5

Background: Lewis was a guest at the Hampton Inn in Albany. He reportedly returned to the hotel intoxicated and found himself locked out. So Lewis banged on the doors and pulled the fire alarm. Oops.

Fallout: Lewis was in line to serve as LeSean McCoy’s primary backup and handcuff. And as a first-time offender, he’ll likely avoid any league discipline. But he was already going to be pushed by seventh-round rookie Bryce Brown/Chris Polk in camp and has lost the kick returner job to Damaris Johnson. Lewis needs a good camp and those looking for a McCoy handcuff should be monitoring the situation closely.

Arrested for: Driving Under the Influence
Current ADP: 113.7

Background: Blackmon picked up a DUI while at Oklahoma State and then was booked with a 0.24 BAC on June 3. He has since apologized, saying he’s giving up drinking “for right now.” Since the case is still pending, league discipline remains a possibility. We can’t rule out a short suspension, but the most likely result will be Blackmon joining the league’s substance abuse program.

Fallout: Although this incident won’t result in a long suspension, another alcohol-related incident for Blackmon certainly would bring a ban. Therefore, the Jags are trying to protect themselves by writing some unique language into his rookie contract. In other words, Blackmon might miss the beginning of training camp. That’s not good for a guy trying to mesh with a skittish second-year quarterback.

Adam Levitan is in his seventh 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.
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