Adam Levitan

Football Daily Dose

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Turner Turmoil

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A wise man once said that “when it rains, it pours.” Michael Turner is putting that notion to the test.

A few hours after Monday night’s win against the Broncos, Turner was pulled over in his Audi R8 while going 97 miles per hour in a 65-mph zone. He was also (allegedly) intoxicated and was booked for DUI.

Driving under the influence is no laughing matter, but that didn’t stop the jokes. Turner only speeds in his car, he wasn’t hard to chase down, now we know why Turner has a beer belly, his BAC was higher than his YPC, isn’t he too fat for an Audi R8 etc, etc…

Anyway, enough funny business. From a legal perspective, Turner projects to avoid a suspension. This is his first offense of the league’s substance-abuse policy. The only way the NFL would step in is if they deem there are “aggravating circumstances.” But even if there are, commissioner Roger Goodell has recently shown a tendency to wait to act until a guilty plea is officially entered. As Marshawn Lynch has shown, lawyers are capable of delaying such pleas until the season is over.

Will the Falcons use this incident to phase him out of the offense? They won’t say so, but it would make sense on multiple levels. At age 30, Turner has absolutely no burst left. He’s just an awful fit that is holding back this potentially dominant offense from fulfilling its potential. It’s only been two games, but he’s consistently put Matt Ryan in second-and-long spots with his 2.6 YPC.

Eventually, the Falcons should install Jason Snelling as their early-down back and Jacquizz Rodgers as the change-of-pace option. Turner owners need to be off board before that happens.

Let’s talk all things Patriots.

The latest timetable on Aaron Hernandez (ankle) is reportedly 4-6 weeks. That means the earliest he’ll be back is Week 6 and the latest is Week 8. However, with a Week 9 bye looming it’s possible the Patriots play it safe and hold him out until Week 10.

Meanwhile, they signed Kellen Winslow on Tuesday. Yawn. Winslow’s knees have sapped his athletic ability and he won’t learn the Patriots’ system in a week. He won’t be an every-down tight end like Hernandez was, instead rotating in.

Wes Welker will feel the bigger impact. Although OC Josh McDaniels is hinting that Julian Edelman will stick in two-wide sets, he’ll likely run a ton more three-wide sets now that Hernandez is out. Welker will get on the field enough to be a viable fantasy play.

And speaking of fantasy plays, Brandon Lloyd is on the verge of a breakout. He’s been targeted 21 times already, good for ninth in the league. He’s had a fistful of near-misses with Tom Brady. With Hernandez out, Lloyd will get even more looks. It’s coming.

Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) did not practice Tuesday. He’s day to day and it looks like a mere sprain, but the short week hurts him a lot. I suspect Bradshaw will not play in Thursday’s game against the Panthers.

Coach Tom Coughlin confirmed that Andre Brown will start if Bradshaw sits. That’s because David Wilson remains in the doghouse due to pass protection and ball security issues. Brown has spot-start appeal right now.

This Lions’ running back situation is messy. They showed absolutely no faith in Kevin Smith against the Niners, using Joique Bell for long stretches. And then the coaches relentlessly talked up Mikel Leshoure, who is off suspension.

"People are pretty keyed into our passing game right now, playing man-under, safeties back, make you have to really work to earn to get guys open,” OC Scott Linehan said.  “We’ll see how much he’s ready to go in this game but he’ll certainly be involved heavily in the game plan and we’ll go from there. We’ve always felt like he was going to be a big boost for us once he came back in the lineup."

The problem is that Leshoure hasn’t played in a game since college, is coming off an Achilles’ tear and doesn’t fit in the passing game. He may eventually start, but this has committee written all over it.

I know Evan Silva disagrees, but I’d be real concerned if I owned Jamaal Charles. He was limited in Week 2 due to soreness in his surgically-repaired knee. That raises a ton of issues.

First and foremost is workload. The coaches are unlikely to ride Charles like a workhorse out of fear that his knee can’t handle it.

Second is effectiveness. If Charles’ knee is still bothering him, he might be a step slow once he gets in the secondary, or not be able to cut as strong.

And finally, we have the Chiefs’ situation. I’m not saying their season is over, but they’re 0-2 and are nine-point underdogs in New Orleans on Sunday. If the season gets away from them at 2-7 or 3-10 and Charles’ knee is still sore on a weekly basis, why push it? Get the knee right for the 2013 season.

Ryan Fitzpatrick said he will lean on Scott Chandler in the red zone a little more now that David Nelson (knee) is done. … Jacob Tamme saw just 35 percent of the snaps on Monday night. He was the intended target on two of Peyton Manning’s first-quarter interceptions. … The Patriots replaced Greg Salas with Deion Branch as their No. 5 receiver. … Bryce Brown has officially moved ahead of Dion Lewis as LeSean McCoy’s backup. … Randy Moss has played on just 29.6 percent of the snaps through two weeks. Have to think he starts rocking the boat soon.

Hakeem Nicks (foot) is expected to play Thursday night. If he’s active, he’s a must start. … Greg Jennings (groin) is back at practice and ready to go. … Steve Smith (knee) put in a limited practice Thursday. He should be fine. … Blaine Gabbert (glute) will start vs. the Colts Sunday.

Rashard Mendenhall (knee) is back in contract drills, but the most realistic return date remains Week 5. … Jonathan Stewart (ankle) did not practice Tuesday. He’s questionable for Thursday’s game. The short week obviously hurts. … James Starks (turf toe) is back at practice as he angles for time behind Cedric Benson. … Rashad Jennings (knee) has a shot to serve as Maurice Jones-Drew’s backup Sunday.

Adding a different D/ST each week based on matchups is a fine strategy. Here are three units that might be on waivers to consider for streaming purposes:

* For more waiver thoughts at all positions, check out Chris Wesseling’s latest here.

1. LIONS at Titans - The Titans’ offensive line is playing as poorly as any singular unit in the league. That’s not a good thing when the Lions’ fearsome front four is coming to town.  

2. SAINTS vs. Chiefs - It’s often said that the NFL is a desperation league. Well, the 0-2 Saints are certainly desperate this week. The Chiefs are also 0-2, but expectations and talent level are totally different here. Expect the Superdome to be in a frenzy.  

3.  COLTS vs. Jaguars - Last year, we blindly went against Blaine Gabbert often and had good success. If Gabbert’s Week 2 performance is an indication, we can employ the same strategy this year. 

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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