Here’s our fantasy takes on the NFL news of the day …
Michael Turner’s 2011 draft value: NFL.com recently looked at the teams with the best talent at the top three offensive skill positions, and the Falcons were (to the surprise of no one) at the top of the list. But while Matt Ryan and Roddy White are now entering the prime of their careers, Turner could be on the downside. Sure, he finished 11th in fantasy points at his position in 2010, but Turner wasn’t great down the stretch. In fact, he averaged a mediocre 3.58 YPC in the final five games against some unimpressive run defenses. Turner, 29, has also led the NFL in carries in two of the past three seasons — that makes physical wear and tear a factor. On a positive note, he does have the easiest schedule among running backs based on our FPA ratings and remains one of the most well utilized backs in the NFL. But unless you’re in a league that’s based solely on touchdown production, Turner is no longer the surefire first-round draft pick he’s been the last few years.
Fred Jackson to remain the man: Fantasy owners who think C.J. Spiller could be on the verge of a breakout season might want to think again. Chris Brown, a writer for the Bills official website, suggests that Jackson will do most of the “heavy lifting” in the team’s backfield in 2011. While he also predicts more touches for Spiller compared to his rookie season, Brown sees his role as being “similar to the role Reggie Bush has played in New Orleans’ offense.” Spiller, a statistical machine at Clemson, could be a decent bargain pick in fantasy leagues (especially those that reward points for catches), but Jackson is still the Bills back to own. However, the veteran out of Coe College should be targeted as no more than a potential flex starter in most formats.
Peyton Manning not throwing yet: The Indianapolis Star is reporting that Manning, who underwent surgery last month to repair a disk-related issue in his neck, hasn’t thrown a football since the procedure. However, there’s no reason to be concerned about his status for the start of the regular season — he’s expected to fully recover in around 6-8 weeks from the date of the operation (May 23). One of the most durable quarterbacks in NFL history, Manning has started 208 consecutive games and is a virtual lock to make it 209 when the Colts face the Texans in Week 1. The fifth-rated signal-caller on NFL.com, Manning should be drafted with confidence in Rounds 2-3.