Michael Turner has taught us that rushing yards which don’t result in a touchdown are overrated. They represent wasted, misplaced energy, and a needless use of movement.
And for that reason and that reason alone, he’s remained a relevant fantasy running back, somehow almost equally as relevant as Matt Forte and Chris Johnson.
I hate this man.
Yes, he’s mostly enjoyed scoring, and not so much the running part of being a running back. Turner has 741 rushing yards, which puts him at the lowly perch of 21st, behind a quarterback (Robert Griffin III), and LeSean McCoy. Yes, the same LeSean McCoy who could miss his fifth game of the season this week.
Yet through his 10 touchdowns — five of which have come over his last six games — Turner has remained a very viable fantasy option as an RB2. Despite his lowly yardage output, Turner still has 134 fantasy points. He’s avoided a tumble into nothingness even after recording three games with less than 20 rushing yards over the last six weeks. That’s led to 256 overall yards from scrimmage during that stretch, meaning that with those six scores he’s averaged a touchdown once every 42.6 yards.
That’s some serious economy, but Turner’s fantasy relevance through scoring and only scoring gets better. Or worse, or incredibly depressing.
By some miracle and/or joke from the almighty fantasy deities, Turner ranks 15th in fantasy scoring among running backs. Why? Those blasted touchdowns, of course. Let’s go about the business of hating ourselves with a few fun comparisons that should be illegal in most countries:
- Matt Forte has 362 more yards from scrimmage than Turner, and that difference alone represents 36.2 fantasy points based on just the yardage. Yet Turner is still just one (one!@#$) fantasy point behind Forte.
- Chris Johnson has 516 more yards than Turner, so surely he’s several area codes away in fantasy points, yes? Yeah, about that. He’s only ahead by 14 points.
- And what of Jamaal Charles and his 595-yard lead over Turner? Yep, that’s translated into a fantasy-point gap of 26 points, which is still minimal considering the difference in yardage over 14 games.
If it wasn’t for Turner’s continued existence as the Falcons’ goal-line running back, there would be no reason to start him ever, and there would be an argument that he’s even drop-able. He’s averaging only 3.7 yards per carry, and he’s logged five games when that number has fallen to 2.5 or lower.
Yet here we are, heading into a championship week when a running back who’s averaged 41.5 yards per game over the last four weeks will be started universally.
Fantasy football can be the worst sometimes.