As we head into the final draft weekend of the fantasy football season, a report has sent people into a tizzy.
Recently ESPN has reported that Jamaal Charles is behind schedule and has not regained his feature back role.
This has then been spun to blurbs that only include snippets of the article that have sent people into a panic.
“Tamba is a little further along than what Jamaal is right now,” coach Andy Reid said. “But both of them are making progress.”
This could be a concern because Hali’s surgery came later in the year, but it doesn’t necessarily mean Charles isn’t on track to play week one.
The article, with no direct quotes from any personnel or hint that he was told this from an unnamed source, then went on to say;
“But both players are behind schedule. The Chiefs said during the offseason that barring a setback, Charles would be ready to participate when training camp started.”
“There was no setback, but Charles wasn’t ready for the start of camp. He hasn’t regained the role — full-time feature back — he had before last season’s torn ACL.”
“In the meantime, Spencer Ware generally gets a lot of the starter’s snaps in practice. Charcandrick West gets some. Sometimes there are a few left for Charles, too.”
This is basically what sent the fantasy world into a panic.
The first part about being behind schedule is worrisome, but is he really? About 10 months after surgery he wasn’t on the PUP list anymore and he was participating in practice. Sure he wasn’t playing in the preseason, but did anyone expect him to?
The second paragraph mentions that he was supposed to be ready for the start of camp if there wasn’t a setback. There wasn’t a reported setback and he wasn’t ready for the start of camp. Again worry. More often than not teams mention the best case scenario and the player returns later than expected.
In reality, what good reason do the Chiefs have to push Charles back for? So he can be ready to get 10 touches in a meaningless preseason game?
The final part just shows that Spencer Ware is the true back behind Charles and it isn’t West. Charles is entering his ninth season. I am not concerned if a running back entering his ninth season gets little work in the preseason.
And now the same guy who wrote the article had a radio appearance and was quoted saying
“Yea, I think he’ll play..I’m not 100% sure about that right now”
“If he plays it won’t be alot…he certainly won’t be the starter.”
“It’s not the Chiefs style…to give a guy very little work, and then…give him the ball 25 times”
“Jamaal Charles isn’t doing a whole lot in practice. He’s getting some work, but not the full load”
More fun quotes to dissect. The first two go together. It seems like he isn’t really sure, to me, what is going on. It is his opinion rather than fact, showing the unquoted material in his article might not have been influenced by anything other than what he quoted.
The quotes don’t necessarily contradict each other, but changing a stance from “I think he will play” to “I’m not 100 percent sure” to “if he plays he won’t start”. Starting compared to not starting doesn’t make a huge difference to me either way. He will still get double-digit touches week one whether they have him in on the first play from scrimmage or he comes in on the fifth play.
Next quote indicates that Charles won’t jump in to getting 25 touches per game. No one should expect him to. He has never averaged more than 22 touches per game in any one of his seasons, including the two seasons when he totaled more than 1,700 yards.
And again with the not getting the full load of work in practice. I don’t expect any 29-year-old, nine-year veteran running back coming off of an ACL tear to get all the work.
With all that being said, lets say Charles isn’t ready to be the “feature back” which is typically defined as a 20 plus touch per week running back.
The thing is, Charles isn’t really a quantity touch fantasy performer. He has never had less than 5 yards per carry in his career.
Lets say Ware takes some work from Charles and Charles only gets 220 carries and 30 receptions, both would be on the low end for his career. Now let’s give him a career low 5 yards per carry and just 7 yards per reception.
That equates to a 1,200 yard season.
Removing his rookie season, where he played no role in the offense – Charles has 61 touchdowns in 84 games. This comes out to about three touchdowns every four games and 12 for a full season.
If we limit Charles to six total touchdowns his fantasy point total breaks down to about 10 points per game in standard leagues.
Now this doesn’t sound great, 1,200 total yards and six touchdowns from a second round pick, but barring missed games in season this should be his floor.
Other than the torn ACLs (yes I know they are serious injuries) Charles has only missed three games in the seasons that weren’t cut short due to a torn ACL. His ceiling should still be in line with what he did in 2014.
The Chiefs attempted 436 rushing plays last season. If you assume it is similar in 2016 you can try to break down the carries. Charles can get 220 carries while still giving 100 to Ware and splitting another 100-120 between the quarterbacks and other potential ball carriers.
In the end I think Charles will end up in the neighborhood of 1,400 total yards and nine touchdowns to give him about 195 points in standard leagues with potential to go for another 100-200 yards and 2-3 touchdowns.
I had Charles as my third ranked running back and a top-10 pick prior to this recent news, and maybe it does bump him down a peg or two, but he is still one of my favorite backs to target this season. Use this news that has sent the community into a panic and grab Charles in the late second/early third round rather than having to reach for him even earlier. The worst case scenario is Charles misses week one and comes out ready to roll in week two.
While no two injuries are the same, Adrian Peterson didn’t play in any preseason games following his ACL injury and his status was uncertain for week one. He went on to have a pretty good season if I remember correctly.
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