By Eric Schmidt

I have written several articles in the past few weeks regarding running backs in the realm of fantasy football. I am not particularly high on Adrian Peterson this season and I think the term ‘buyer beware” comes into play if you select Chargers RB Ryan Mathews this year. I think it’s wise to issue the same warning for Atlanta Falcons RB Michael Turner.

Turner’s fantasy value should have already been downgraded heading into this season. In June, it was known that Turner would be limited in the number of carriers he had this season in order to prevent yet another late season fade. Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers figure to play a larger role in the Falcons offense this season. The Falcons hired Dirk Koetter as the team’s offensive coordinator this season as they revamped their coaching staff. Koetter’s scheme will employ the use of a lot of screen passes.

I have watched both of the Falcons preseason games this season and Michael Turner looks old and slow. I realize that it’s just two games into the preseason but, Turner has just 14 yards rushing on eight carriers and 14 yards receiving in three receptions.

I fear that Turner can no longer be counted on as your RB1 from this point forward. Yes, he posted over 1,300 yards and double digit scores last year, but I believe he is one of the riskiest runners this year in fantasy circles. I also don’t like the late season fades he has undergone in recent years. Last year in his last six games, Turner was less than stellar. Yes, he rushed for 172 yards and two scores in week 17, but your fantasy league was over by then. Last season, anyone could have rushed for 150 yards against the Tampa Bay defense.

But prior to the season finale against the Buccaneers, Turner rushed for 60, 44, 76, 61 and 39 yards respectively and just one score. Those final weeks of the season are crucial when you are in the hunt for a league championship. Given the trends of the late season fades and the change in offensive philosophy, I am no longer considering Turner a legitimate RB1 for fantasy teams. Anyone which watched the Falcons last night would have a hard time denying that Turner looked old and slow.





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