Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
It's being widely reported that the Atlanta Falcons would like to reduce running back Michael Turner's workload in 2009.
That's probably not a bad idea for a running back who carried the ball 376 times in the regular season and another 18 in the postseason, but it certainly won't make Mularkey a favorite of Turner's fantasy owners.
Turner was one of the biggest surprises in 2008, going from LaDainian Tomlinson's back up in San Diego to fantasy superstar in one season. After carrying the ball for a total of 228 times in four seasons with the Chargers, Turned lugged the pigskin almost 380 times for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns last season.
He finished second in fantasy scoring among running backs with 301 points (DeAngelo Williams was No.1 with 320 points) and considering his Average Draft Position (ADP) was 44, Turner was one of the top candidates for 2009 TSN Best Bargain Award.
In many of the early mock drafts, Turner has become a very high pick (2009 RapidDraft ADP of 2.9) and in fact, I have seen more than one article tout him as the No.1 overall selection.
But if the news that the Falcons would like to lighten his workload is correct and Jerious Norwood gets additional carries, then Turner probably shouldn't be on top of the charts.
If we assume that the Falcons manage to lower his rushing attempts by 15% that would amount to 56 carries. Given his rushing average of 4.5 yards-per-carry in 2008 his rushing total would drop by 252 yards to 1,447 yards. Since he also scored on one every 22 carries, his touchdown total would also be reduced - to 15 TDs. This drops his points total for the upcoming season by at least 37 points to 264 (more if he misses out on any 100-yard bonus points because of the reduced carries).
If you also add in the fact that his rookie quarterback of 2008, Matt Ryan, is now a "veteran" and the team added the No.1 tight end in the NFL to it's air attack, then Turner's numbers might fall even lower.
Given this new information, I can't choose Turner with the top overall pick and in fact have him at No.3 spot behind Adrian Peterson and Maurice Jones-Drew.
|Michael Turner Career Statistics|
| Year || Team|| Att || Yards || Ave || TDs |
| 2004 || SD || 20|| 104 || 5.2 || 0 |
| 2005 || SD || 57|| 335 || 5.9 || 3 |
| 2006 || SD || 80|| 502 || 6.3 || 2 |
| 2007 || SD || 71 || 316 || 4.5 || 1 |
| 2008 || ATL || 376|| 1,699 || 4.5 || 17 |