Sunday, March 2, 2008

Michael Turner Headed To Atlanta - Jerious Norwood In Limbo, Again

Michael Turner who has long been known as the best running back not to have a starting role is now well-paid and the #1 back in Atlanta. Turner signed a 6 year 34 million dollar contract with the Falcons which includes 15 million in guaranteed money. The acquisition continues Atlanta's efforts to overhaul the team and rebuild an offense that has been stagnant since the departure of Michael Vick.

Fantasy Impact

Turner has been dynamite when given the chance to play in San Diego. He has averaged 5.5 yards a carry over 228 career attempts and has three 100 yard rushing games in that span. 

In Atlanta Turner will finally be the man, a welcomed sight for fantasy owners who have been waiting two years for Turner to land a starting gig. Turner is a strong runner with the potential to be a work horse back as he displayed in the playoffs when LaDanian Tomlinson was sidelined with a sprained MCL.

Expect Turner to carry the ball 20-25 times a game for the Falcons and put up solid yardage numbers. Turner will also serve as the primary goal line back; however, the Falcons will begin the season with a lackluster offense that may limit his TD opportunities. With a shaky O-line, mediocre WR corps and most likely a young QB behind center this season, you should temper your 2008 expectations of Turner a bit as he will be a solid #2 RB in fantasy at best. 

The acquisition of Turner once again puts the explosive Jerious Norwood in a precarious situation. Norwood spent a majority of the 2007 season stuck behind the ineffective Warrick Dunn on the Falcons RB depth chart despite grossly outperforming him. In 103 rushing attempts, Norwood ran for 603 yards, an average of 6 yards a carry. In addition, Norwood showed good hands out of the backfield taking in 28 receptions for 277 yards.

Many speculated that the Falcons were saving the young Norwood for 2008 in what was a lost season. However, the signing of Turner shows that the Falcons organization does not believe in him as an every down back and it appears that he will again play second fiddle again this year.

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