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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fantasy football: The declining values of Jamaal Charles and Michael Turner

As I did last week (I'm nothing if not consistent), I want to delve a little deeper into a topic I wrote about in my weekend column for The News-Herald.

Last week, it was a game of buy and sell analyzing some of the most notable Week 1 performances.

This week: Reassessing how we view certain players, especially as they struggle.

In the column, which was posted online Friday night, I wrote about Chris Johnson, Wes Welker, Larry Fitzgerald and Reggie Bush. Here's a hint: All four shouldn't be viewed as they once were, and for three of the four, that's a bad thing.

Two players I didn't include in the column should be discussed as well -- Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and Falcons running back Michael Turner.

Charles and Turner have combined for rush for 164 yards and one touchdown in the first two weeks of the season.

Last week, Charles had six carries for 3 yards and caught three passes for 19 yards. On the season, his 90 yards rushing barely lead his team. (Backfield mates Shaun Draughn and Peyton Hillis have rushed for 85 and 82 yards, respectively.)

Charles missed the majority of the second half of Sunday's loss at Buffalo because of a sore left knee, which is a concern after he suffered a torn ACL in the same knee during Week 2 last season.

Prior to the season-ending injury in 2011, Charles was coming off a two-year stretch in which he averaged 1,294 yards rushing, 6.2 yards per attempt, 43 receptions, 383 receiving yards and eight total TDs per season.

He was considered a top-10 running back by some sites entering 2012 (we had him ranked 16th), but any owner who did the same on draft day is regretting that choice.

Our new view of Charles?

He can't be considered elite. Instead, he's a low-end No. 2 running back in most formats, especially with Hillis and Draughn eating into his attempts.

Turner wasn't considered as much of a risk as Charles prior to the season, but we knew his drawbacks.

He would rush for more than 1,200 yards, likely reach double figures in touchdowns -- and be of no help in the receiving department.

In his first three seasons in Atlanta, Turner had 50 rushing touchdowns in 59 games. In 2010 and 2011, his stats were very similar -- 1,371 and 1,340 rushing yards, 12 and 11 rushing TDs, respectively.

Two things we should have considered more strongly: With the electric Julio Jones in the mix, Turner wouldn't be nearly as critical to the Falcons' success, and he turned 30 on Feb. 13, which in running-back circles is celebrated about as feverishly as the big 5-0 would be for you and me.

Turner is averaging 2.6 yards per carry in two games. In the hours following the Falcons' win over the Broncos on Monday night, he was arrested and charged with drunken driving and speeding.

Turner likely won't be suspended for the incident, but his numbers bring into question something else: Are his days as a productive back over?

It's too soon to declare that, but Turner's "new" value is such that I wouldn't consider him a must-start each week.

He's now a mid- to low-end No. 2 running back in deeper formats.

He has that in common with Charles.

One more column hint: They're both still better than "Anger Management."


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