Players I Love, Vol. 1

By scottrogers

(This is part 1 of a 5-part series, check back soon for part 2 and for players I’m not quite so fond of…)

Jamaal Charles.

Did you feel that?

Let me try it again.

Jamaal Charles.

I know you felt it that time… those chills down your spine.

Yes, for those who have read any of my other articles, you already know, but for the laymen, I have a serious man crush on one Mr. Jamaal Charles.

Why, you ask me. Well for those who didn’t pay attention to the seconnd half of the Kansas City Chiefs football season last year (as though those people actually exist), this man absolutely dominated his competition. Here’s a look of his stats from Week 9 on.

9 JAC 6 36 6.0 13 0 3 19 13 0 0 0
10 OAK 18 103 5.7 44 1 4 14 8 0 0 0
11 PIT 17 58 3.4 10 0 2 8 6 1 0 0
12 SD 14 93 6.6 31 1 3 54 49 0 1 1
13 DEN 18 56 3.1 11 1 1 3 3 0 1 1
14 BUF 20 143 7.2 76 1 7 38 10 0 0 0
15 CLE 25 154 6.2 47 1 2 16 8 0 1 0
16 CIN 24 102 4.3 14 0 3 22 15 0 0 0
17 DEN 25 259 10.4 56 2 1 3 3 0 0 0

So what do we see here? Really only two bad weeks, and a seven-game streak at the end of season where he scored a touchdown in all but one game, and in that one he still had over 100 yards. Note also the long play for each game. This is a guy who thrives on taking the ball to the house from anywhere on the field. His speed is really only matched by Chris Johnson.

At the end of the season, after really only getting substantial carries during the final eight games, Charles stat line reads as such: 1,120 yards, 7 TDs and a 5.9 AVG. Beastly.

Causes for Concern

Now it’s time to slam on the breaks before my love train goes too far. It’s time to acknowledge the elephant in the room–Thomas Jones. Yes, the New York Jets’ leading rusher the past three seasons found himself without a job at the conclusion of last season’s postseason run, and instead of resigning with the Jets (who only cut him so that they could then sign him to a lower deal) he had to go to the Chiefs, potentially stalling the fantasy onslaught that is Jamaal Charles. Yet, I believe that Charles’ raw talent and youth will afford him plenty of carries, though it is worth noting that going into this week’s first preseason game, the Chiefs reportedly have Charles listed as the backup to Jones. Apparently this is a common motivational tool of coach Todd Haley, but still it is a situation worth monitoring.

Also Charles has never gotten more than 25 carries in a game at any point during his two-year professional career. Most of his yardage is very dependent upon him breaking that big run, but he’s so fast and patient that at some point in the game at least one hole is bound to open up for him. I would be remiss if I failed to point out that the rush defenses he faced in his final four games, which greatly helped his 1,000 YD cause, were not exactly the best in the league.

All In

Charles is a risk. I have him ranked as my No. 14 RB in fantasy, so I see him as a borderline No. 1 RB. He’s a gamble, and I wouldn’t draft him any earlier than the 3rd round unless you are in desperate need of a RB. If he falls to the 4th round in your draft, well I’m envious.

So though I do have a few concerns about Mr. Charles, I just have this overwhelming feeling that it’s all for naught and a possibly huge season awaits him. Plus, the guy is incredibly self confident.

The Associated Press quoted Charles as saying this after his monster game at Denver to end the season, one in which he had the possibility before him of trying to break Adrian Peterson’s rushing record for a single game: “I could have [gone] back into the game, but I just went up to the coach [and said] I’m satisfied right now. I’ll get it some other time.”

You have to love a guy who when faced with making league history, instead decides to “get it some other time.”

I love me some Charles, and you should too..

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