I believe that Jamaal Charles could be a Top 5 running back in fantasy football. I will even go so far as to say that I believe he could be a Top 5 overall RB in real football.
Apparently the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Todd Haley, doesn’t feel the same, however.
This makes me angry, and it should make you angry too.
What He’s done So Far
Before I get too carried away with my rant, it would behoove my argument to state why I feel so strongly about Charles.
Let’s look at his stats so far this season: 50 carries, 325 yards, 6.5 yards per carry and 1 TD along with 8 catches for 106 yards. Combine that all together and Charles is averaging 7.4 yards every time he touches the ball.
That’s really good, obviously. And let’s move on.
What He Could be Doing
I’ve been over what I think of Charles’ performance last season before (which can be found by clicking here), so I don’t think I need to go over that again. The simple fact is that for the statistics that Charles puts up and the dynamic edge that he brings to the Chiefs offense, he is being woefully underused.
Bill Simmons recently wrote in a column for ESPN describing the way that watching Randy Moss play for his Patriots felt. He basically stated something along the lines that Moss is one of those players that makes you stand whenever a ball is thrown deep to him. He gets the blood pumping, essentially.
I completely agree. Some players just force you to jump out of your seat, making you inch ever closer to the television. I’d say Moss, Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald AND Jamaal Charles are those guys to me. Whenever the ball is thrown up to Fitzgerald, I just know that he’s going to catch it (as long as Derek Anderson didn’t throw it). While whenever there is a hole in a defensive line, I just know that Peterson, Johnson and yes, Charles, are going to explode through it and get at least 20 yards if not more. There are not a lot of players that can do that time and time again.
So why doesn’t Charles get more touches? I’ve read in rumor sections on sites such as SportsIllustrated.com that Haley/GM Scott Pioli don’t want to use players drafted by the former regime, but that seems a little bit too egotistical for me to buy. Maybe they just like the consistent 3 to 4 guaranteed yards that Thomas Jones can get them when he touches the ball.
I don’t mean to be hard on Jones there by the way; there’s just the simple fact that Jones lacks the speed and talent that Charles possesses at this stage of his career.
I’m sure this goes without saying, but if you drafted Charles high in your fantasy league, you’re probably pretty disappointed with his use thus far. Charles is a fantasy beast (probably a dragon, to be precise) chained to the wall of his cave. The mean old wizard, Todd Haley, refuses to let him out even though all Charles wants to do is help the villagers, or the fantasy football-playing public. Haley refuses. Why? No one knows.
A counter argument to mine may be that Haley has spent a lot of time putting this team together and presumably knows what’s best for it. Keep in mind, however, that Haley also started a clearly washed-up Larry Johnson for around half the season last year while refusing to give carries to Charles, so I don’t exactly trust his judgment. The Chiefs also started the year 3-0, so informed observers may point out that perhaps Charles’ usage is working since the Chiefs were winning. Perhaps. But honestly, while watching some of their games, all I could think was that the Chiefs could be winning by a lot more if they would just play Charles.
A Reason to be Optimistic?
This could all be a moot point since Haley did use Charles more in last week’s game against the Colts. But for whatever reason, I get the feeling that his usage was more of an aberration than a new offensive strategy. I do find it interesting that against a tough team, seeking a potentially season-making win, Haley opted to feed the ball to Charles. He responded by fumbling once and being relatively held in check by the Colts defense.
Still, what he did manage to do (16 carries for 87 yards) is impressive. So this next part I address to one Todd Haley. Listen up:
Dear Mr. Haley,
I mean, I get it—shared backfields are all the rage in the NFL. I like your team, I like the youth and I like the speed and passion that you have them playing with. Allow me to give you a bit of advice, however. Don’t worry, it’s rooted in history.
The truly great running teams of the current period and of all time have all featured just one great RB, with the possible exception of the recent Carolina Panthers and the New York Giants of a few years ago. Only one of those teams won anything, however.
The teams that win Super Bowls have that one great back. All you need to do is look at the Cowboys’ Emmitt Smith, the Bears’ Walter Payton or even the 49ers’ Roger Craig. For more recent examples, just mosey over to the Ravens’ Jamal Lewis or the Rams’ Marshall Faulk or even the Patriots’ Corey Dillon. The Saints won last year with a backfield by committee approach, but really, they’re more the exception to the rule than the beginnings of a new trend (I think).
So Haley, what do you want to do? Win or lose?
Charles gives you the best chance to win and it also makes me look smarter for projecting him as a huge fantasy force in the offseason. So let’s help each other, alright?
Sounds good to me.
Scott Rogers, Fantasy King.
Something tells me he’s not listening.