Jacquizz Rodgers: Updated Fantasy Outlook & Analysis for Falcons RB

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst INovember 25, 2012

November 25, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA;   Atlanta Falcons running back Jacquizz Rodgers (32) returns a kickoff during the second half of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Atlanta defeated the Bucs 24 to 23. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

After weeks of speculation, Atlanta Falcons running back Jacquizz Rodgers is finally inching closer to fantasy relevance. 

Thanks to another forgettable performance from Michael Turner and production from Rodgers against a top run defense, the carries split in Atlanta may be shifting towards the second-year running back. 

Rodgers rushed 10 times for 49 yards and a touchdown and also caught two passes for 30 yards during the Falcons' 24-23 win over the Buccaneers Sunday. Tampa Bay came into the contest as the NFL's No. 1 rush defense in 2012. 

The opportunities for Rodgers may be the most encouraging sign.

Rodgers' 12 touches were the most he's had in one game since a Week 8 win over the Philadelphia Eagles (13), and his third-most overall this season. His typical workload had been around six to eight touches coming into Week 12. 

The struggles of the back ahead of him certainly played a role in Rodgers' opportunities increasing. 

Turner, a 1,000-yard rusher in three of the last four seasons, had his fifth game in last six with under 60 yards rushing. He finished with 13 rushes for 17 yards, although he did score a short touchdown late to give the Falcons the lead. 

Over the last six games, Turner is averaging just 45.2 rushing yards a contest with a yards per carry average under 3.5. 

While Rodgers is in no position to overtake Turner atop the Falcons' depth chart, his opportunities should start to level out. And if he's at 15-18 touches a game moving forward, Rodgers should have fantasy relevance over the final stretch of fantasy matchups. 

Those fantasy owners in need of a back also shouldn't need to worry about getting him, as Rodgers is owned in just 12 percent of ESPN leagues. 

Rodgers won't be a game-changing pickup for fantasy owners as long as Turner is healthy, but he is worthy of a roster spot in most formats now that the touches appear on the rise. Monitor this situation closely in the coming weeks, but Rodgers is slowly becoming fantasy-relevant in the Falcons' backfield.