Posted 12/30 by Mike Anderson and William Grant, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
The purpose of this column is to spotlight deeper roster moves that could pay
off big over the course of the season. Unless stated in a player's write up,
we're not looking for one-week wonders here, but shark moves that could really
strengthen your team down the road.
Dynasty Watch focuses on low risk, huge payoff roster moves that you might
be able make before the guys in your league think about it. This aim of this
column is to make you look like a genius to the other owners in your league.
When news breaks and the other owners are scrambling to make a waiver wire move,
we want them to be upset time and time again that the player is already on your
Michael Turner: RB San Diego Chargers
What has he done so far
Turner was extremely productive in college, ranking 13th on the NCAA all-time
rushing list with 4,941 yards. Turner started 11 games as a junior rushing for
just short of 2,000 yards with 19 touch downs. He topped 2,000 all purpose yards
as a senior with 17 touch downs. He came into the league as a fifth round draft
pick out of Northern Illinois, not the most impressive resume for the NFL or
Fantasy Football. Add that he was drafted by San Diego who starts all-World,
future Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Turner got limited playing
time as a rookie in 2004. In week 17 he started and led the team with 87 yards
on 15 carries against the Chiefs. Turner started the season in a battle with
Jesse Chatman for the back up running back spot, however, Chatman was cut, handing
the job to Turner.
Turner has had limited action this season, averaging about 4 carries for 24
yards a game, with 6 yards a carry. He has scored a touch down in three of the
past six weeks. Two weeks ago, Tomlinson aggravated his injured ribs during
the game against Indianapolis, and finished the day watching from the sidelines
as Michael Turner played well in relief. However, against KC last week Turner
only had one tackle on special teams.
Although Tomlinson could have rested last week, he took every carry against
Kansas City. Turner did not even touch the ball. Now that the Chargers are out
of the playoff hunt, Turner may have an expanded role in week 17, but the real
value in Turner is for the future. We are convinced that he will be starting
in the NFL eventually.
Turner will be a starting running back in the NFL. Turner is an absolute monster
between the tackles. He's never brought down on the first hit, or the second.
It takes numerous hits and tacklers to take him down. He is averaging 6 yards
a carry this season. Should you feel that the Indy game was an aberration with
the 83 yard touch down run, he still had 7 carries for 30 yards outside of the
run for an average of 4.2 yards a carry. Turner is a bruiser at 5'10",
237 lbs. He has very good balance and power, with strength and vision as a runner.
Turner runs between the tackles and can take a pounding. He has power to push
inside and break tackles and just enough speed to get to the corner. Turner
runs with a good body lean, low center of gravity and exceptional leg drive.
He could be the starting running back on many NFL teams.
Tons and tons of Fantasy owners have been deceived by Michael "the Burner"
Turner. With the nick name "Burner" the average person envisions a
little fast scat back with blazing speed. That nick name is about as sarcastic
as they come. Turner is not stop watch fast, is not elusive in the open field,
and will not outrun people. He is a big back with great power that will run
into and over people. Turner is a thickly built running back with powerful legs
who has the speed, balance, and power to become a starter in the NFL. Don't
be the Fantasy Owner who has never watched a Charger game, but is convinced
that Turner is a little "Burner". He is exactly the opposite.
Ben Taylor: LB Cleveland Browns
What has he done so far
Ben Taylor was a 4th round draft pick (#111 overall) for Cleveland out of Virginia
Tech in 2002. He saw very limited duty as a rookie, but began 2003 as a starting
inside LB for the Browns. He had some solid games for the Browns, including
a 16 solo tackle game against New England before back and elbow injuries limited
him for the rest of the season. In 2004 he had a slow start, and tore a chest
tendon week three against the Giants. He finished the season on injured reserve.
This season he has started every game for the Browns and is their #2 tackler
behind Andra Davis.
The Browns use a 3-4 defense, and Taylor plays ILB opposite Andra Davis. They
are the two best tacklers on the team, and Taylor has an impressive 74 solo
tackles and 35 assists through 15 games this season. He is only under contract
with Cleveland for the rest of 2005.
Taylor is a forgotten man in most leagues. Andra Davis is the big news from
the Browns, and Taylor is still a free agent in many leagues. He's not much
for rushing the QB (no sacks in his four seasons) or defending the pass (only
one career interception and just three career pass defenses) he does know how
to stuff the run. Currently he's ranked #28 in solo tackles for LBs, and 18th
in combined tackles and assists.
Tackles are the bread and butter of IDP leagues, and Taylor has those down cold.
He's come on pretty strong as of late with 64 combined tackles in his last eight
games. If he could improve as a pass defender or record a couple sacks during
the season, he could be a starting LB in many IDP leagues.
The Browns are just starting to adjust to their new 3-4 defense, and Taylor
is a big part of that. His ability to stop the run will be a big help to the
Browns as they hope to improve going into next season. His tackles make him
a very consistent IDP candidate, and if he starts to pick up on the passing
game, he's going to be a solid player. The major concern with him is his health.
He's been nicked up for most of his career, but he has put that behind him this
season. Given his performance to date, the Browns will probably re-sign him
to a longer-term contract after this season. He definitely has upside potential,
and is worth stashing on your roster for 2006.
Over the next couple weeks during the NFL playoffs, we'll do a summary of the
25 guys that we have written about here in our Dynasty Watch. We'll show you
how they finished, and update you on if we still believe that they are worth
a roster slot and why. Stay tuned.