Why you shouldn’t worry about Jamaal Charles

Kansas City Chiefs LogoAs 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.

Standard Scoring Points
Year G Att Yard TD Rec Yard TD FPts Touches Touch/G
2008 16 67 357 0 27 272 1 64.9 94 5.88
2009 15 190 1,120 7 40 297 1 183.7 230 15.33
2010 16 230 1,467 5 45 468 3 237.5 275 17.19
2011 2 12 83 0 5 9 1 13.2 17 8.5
2012 16 285 1,509 5 35 236 1 204.5 320 20
2013 15 259 1,287 12 70 693 7 308 329 21.93
2014 15 205 1,039 9 40 291 5 213 245 16.33
2015 5 71 364 4 21 177 1 80.1 92 18.4
Career 100 1319 7226 42 283 2443 20 1304.9 1602 16.02

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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Andy Germani

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I am a lifelong Pittsburgh sports fan and a graduate from Penn State. Baseball was my first love and I still play to this day in an adult baseball league. I always love helping people with their questions on Twitter so feel free to follow me and ask questions.

9 thoughts on “Why you shouldn’t worry about Jamaal Charles”

  1. Just had my 12-team draft, what are your thoughts?

    QB Brady, Carr
    RB Gore, Langford, Sproles, Washington, Howard
    WR Green, Robinson, D.Thomas, Josh Gordon, Lockett (15pts per return yard)
    TE Ebron, Bennett
    K Bailey
    DST Jets

    I need to survive the first 4 weeks, then I’ll get an upgrade at QB and TE. I’ll also have an extra slot if I drop Carr and potentially have WR trade bait.

    1. Standard or PPR and what are the starting requirements?

      Overall you have a good quarterback situation and great receivers.

      The running back position is a little light but if you are active on the waiver wire you can find week to week guys to start. To start the season a combination of Gore and Langford is fine but if one of them gets hurt you might be left scrambling for an RB2.

      But if this is PPR Sproles is a perfectly fine fill in. I just wouldnt want to rely on him week in and week out.

        1. Like that team a good bit knowing you can start 4 receivers and you get .5 ppr.

          I would still be actively looking for a better third running back than Sproles. I dont believe he does kick returns but he does do punts. Kickoffs typically result in more yards. Punts end in fair catches a lot of the time.

          I would keep an eye on Roby Kelley and Chris Thompson in Washington for different reasons. And an overlooked Charcandrick West for the first couple weeks in Kansas City.

  2. Hey Andy! Here’s to another great season of FF!

    Unfortunately I couldn’t attend my live draft this year so I had to use autopick. I based them on this site’s rankings. I was pick 9 of 12. Non-PPR. How does it look?
    QB: Marcus Mariota,
    RB: Lamar Miller, Latavius Murray, Jamaal Charles, Giovani Bernard, James White, Jay Ajayi, Christine Michael
    WR: Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, Michael Floyd, Tyler Lockett, DeVante Parker,
    TE: Zach Miller
    D/ST: Patriots
    K: Matt Prater

    1. I actually like the fact that your autodraft let you wait on a quarterback. You have great running backs and receivers. Even without Charles you should be good there.

      I think I would look for another QB to pair with Mariota. I like Matt Ryan as someone who is available in a lot of leagues.

      Really I would probably dump Mariota for Matt Ryan and play weekly matchups at the quarterback position which really isn’t as crazy as it seems.

      The only way I would advise against a straight streaming strategy is if your league typically rosters backup quarterbacks. For example about 20 quarterbacks are owned.

      1. Yea, they tend to pick up 1-2qbs each and I’d say about 20 are owned. Top remaining are rg3, a. Smith, garrapolo, Cutler, and Wentz. Rams DST is also available (debating if i should drop NE since they have a tough schedule ). Who would my drop candidates be if I was to double up on qb or DST? I’m also a bit concerned about TE. I don’t know if mine will play this week.

        1. I might roll with Alex Smith this week because of the matchup. Season long I dont see Smith and Mariota as very different.

          I like the Rams a lot week one so I would hang on to them and play matchups there.

          I am fine with Zach Miller. He isnt one of the elite tight ends so he should fall into about 6-7 points per week which is perfectly fine.

          You have a lot of nice bench pieces that might help net you a steady season long quarterback if you want to avoid the potential headache of streaming. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mariota plus like Ajayi or Parker could net you someone like Stafford, Tyrod, Carr, Cousins.

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