Turner is the pick for No. 2

Michael Turner could wind up with 20 touchdowns or more next season. (Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Michael Turner could wind up with 20 touchdowns or more next season. (Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

With Adrian Peterson as (just about) everyone’s No. 1 pick in fantasy drafts, the big question has been deciding on a consensus No. 2. In any given mock draft you check out these days, the answer might be Michael Turner or Matt Forte or Maurice Jones-Drew. I participated in an experts draft Wednesday night for RotoExperts (a group that will be providing some content for NFL.com this season), and Jones-Drew was the second pick. Yours truly had the third pick and quickly grabbed Turner.

All things being equal, perhaps the best scenario, if you had trouble choosing between those three, would be to have the fourth overall pick in your draft. You can take whichever of those guys is available and then have a higher second-round pick.

But after reading what NFL.com’s Pat Kirwan had to say in a live chat this afternoon, I’m prepared to break any potential deadlock between these three players wide open.

The choice is Turner, hands down and feet pointed straight to the end zone.

Kirwan was asked if he thought, as the questioner did, that the presence this year of Tony Gonzalez would open things up for the Atlanta Falcons’ offense.

“I could not agree with you more,” Kirwan said. But more importantly than giving Matt Ryan a dangerous option in the passing game, Kirwan noted, it would benefit Turner.

“He will provide Michael Turner tremendous opportunities to run for touchdowns in the red zone, just like Priest Holmes did in Kansas City.”

For those who may have forgotten, there was a time when Priest Holmes was the no-questions-asked top fantasy player in the universe. Good person to be compared to.

As Kirwan explained, having Gonzalez split wide in the red zone will leave defenses short-handed in the box to stop the run. When you consider that Turner had 17 touchdowns last season for an offense with no such goal-line threat at tight end, the prospects of a 20-touchdown season suddenly seem kind of inviting.

And by the way, since we’re talking about Maurice Jones-Drew here, can we at least make the following pledge: Instead of calling him MJD, can we please start calling him Mojo? Then, when he gets injured midway through the season, we can use the headline, “Mojo has fantasy owners singing the blues.”

– Craig Ellenport

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