Turner a risk in 2012 drafts: Being 30 isn’t consider old in real life — heck, I still consider myself to be young as I enter my 39th year on this big blue marble. But for a running back in the NFL, 30 is often the beginning of the end. Just ask Eric Dickerson. Or Shaun Alexander. Or Edgerrin James (you get my point). Well, Turner is turning the big 3-0 next month, and his intense workload over the last four years makes him a risk in 2012 drafts. He’s carried the ball 300-plus times in each of his last three full seasons and was one of just two backs (the other being Maurice Jones-Drew) to have 300-plus carries in 2011. The Falcons have also acknowledged that the running game will be part of their offseason evaluation process, so Turner’s workload could be decreased in the upcoming season. I’ll be avoiding him at all costs in 2012.
The next Cam Newton?: Fantasy owners are always looking for the next superstar to emerge. And after what we saw from Newton in 2011, I can almost guarantee that Baylor’s Robert Griffin III will be highly touted in fantasy drafts. The 2011 Heisman winner, Griffin has confirmed that he will forgo his senior season and apply to enter the 2012 NFL Draft. He put up amazing numbers as a junior, completing 291-of-402 passes (72.4 percent) for 4,293 yards with 37 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Aside from his passing skills, what makes RG3 a potentially valuable fantasy asset are his Newton-like running abilities — he ran for 10 more scores and posted 100-plus rushing yards twice. Where he lands will be a huge part of determining his value (he’s been linked to the Browns in some reports), but I can almost guarantee that Griffin will be considered a potential sleeper in 2012. He’ll also be a top-three pick in dynasty leagues across the board.
Jets could scale back offense: The departure of OC Brian Schottenheimer and the addition of new coach Tony Sparano is likely to mean that the Jets will return to more of a “ground and pound” attack in 2012 and beyond. Clearly, that’s bad news for the value of Mark Sanchez, who actually finished 10th in fantasy points at his position in 2011. On the flip side, such a move should bode well for Shonn Greene, who is coming off the first 1,000-yard season of his career. But can the Men in Green lean on him in a true featured role? I’m not sure about that. In fact, I’d expect the team to incorporate more plays for Joe McKnight — or go after a running back during the offseason. One thing is for certain, though. The Jets won’t be a pass-laden offense with Sparano now in the mix.