Much like Peyton Manning was the clear top QB in fantasy football in 2013, Jamaal Charles was the clear top RB in fantasy. As one of the elite RBs, Charles will once again be drafted very early this coming season. However, it’s important for those who draft Charles early in 2014 to handcuff him late with Knile Davis.
Charles touched the ball 329 times last season. While Charles has only missed two games outside of the 2011 season during which he tore his ACL, his durability is a concern if the Kansas City Chiefs continue to rely on him so heavily in their offense. Davis only had 70 carries and 11 receptions in 2013 as a rookie, and it’s likely that the Chiefs will look to give Davis even more snaps this year to give Charles a breather every now and again.
While Davis only averaged 3.5 yards per carry last season, he did manage to score four rushing TDs. Additionally, Davis caught 11 of his 15 targets for 75 yards, and his good catching abilities could lead to the Chiefs using him in more passing plays this coming season. Davis may have some standalone value if the Chiefs continue to give him goal-line opportunities and receptions, and Davis should be the clear starter if Charles misses any time in 2014.
The low yards per carry average of 3.5 is some cause for concern. Back-up RBs in the league typically have higher averages from coming fresh off the bench, and Davis could be an inexperienced runner who still needs some work. There were certain plays last year that suggested that Davis sometimes has trouble finding the hole when rushing the ball.
Moreover, while Davis may see more snaps this season, it’s still the Jamaal Charles show in Kansas City. Barring injury, Charles will be the starter and the main RB for head coach Andy Reid. While Davis has high potential if Charles is injured, he doesn’t figure to have much production most weeks when Charles plays. At most, Davis would be a bye-week fill-in at RB for your fantasy team.
Kansas City’s offense relies so heavily on the RB position that Davis would have a high ceiling if he were to take over at any point during the season. Anyone who uses a first-round draft pick on Charles this season should handcuff him in the late rounds with Davis.
Bye Week: 6
Projected Round: 15
Auction Value: $1