Jamaal Charles: What Next From Fantasy’s No.1 RB?
Jamaal Charles put the fantasy football world on notice when he put up a whopping 51 points against the Oakland Raiders in Week 15, the most of any player in 2013 and tied for the sixth-best fantasy performance since 1960, according to ESPN.
Charles was almost unstoppable, recording five touchdowns (one rushing, four receiving) and 215 total yards from scrimmage. However, fantasy owners entering their championship matchups are wondering if he can come close to a repeat performance (or just put up another 20 points) this week.
Charles has been on fire over the past few weeks. Since a season-low seven points in Week 11 against the Denver Broncos, Charles has averaged 30.5 points per game over the past four weeks, never scoring fewer than 17. The big reason why he has been so productive is because of his increased role as a receiving back. Against the Broncos he didn’t record a single fantasy point through the air. However, over the last four weeks he’s scored 55 because of his receiving skills, averaging 13.8 per week.
While he is a very talented rusher, it’s this versatility in Andy Reid’s new system that has led Charles to his incredible success in 2013. He is the No. 1 back in fantasy, and is an astounding 60 points ahead of the next-best running back (LeSean McCoy).
In Week 16, Charles will be facing the Indianapolis Colts at home, and we can expect another big game from him.
The Colts have struggled against running backs as the season has progressed, which is great news for Charles. They have given up over 100 yards rushing in six of their seven games since their bye week, with the lone outlier being a 96-yard, two-touchdown performance by Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans.
The Colts’ defense has been even worse on the road as of late, allowing 33.3 points per game over their last four road contests. The team has also given up 71 points to fantasy backs over the past three, including five rushing touchdowns.
Running backs have been torching the Colts away from Indianapolis all year. In fact, the only time the Colts held opposing backs to fewer than 95 yards on the road this year came against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4.
With Indianapolis’ defense in shambles, Charles could be in for another big day. The Chiefs will surely go up early on the Colts, who have been nothing short of pitiful on the road. This means that the team will be leaning heavily on its ground game to wear down the Colts and kill time. We can likely expect Charles to get about 22 carries and six or seven receptions.
We know that Charles always makes the most of his touches, as he averages an absurd 5.6 yards per carry over the course of his career and an incredible 10.1 yards per catch in 2013. Against a defense that can’t stop a nose bleed, it wouldn’t be too much to ask of Charles to go for 130 yards on the ground and another 50 through the air.
That already gives Charles 18 points without scoring a touchdown. However, considering that Charles already has an NFL-leading 18 touchdowns and has accounted for almost half of Kansas City’s touchdowns this year (18 of 37), he will almost certainly scored at least one touchdown on Sunday. If he scored two and manages the 180 yards of total offense we’re expecting, he could break the 30-point barrier once again in Week 16.
Projected Stats: 22 rushes, 134 rushing yards, six receptions, 52 receiving yards, two total touchdowns (30 points)