Knile Davis did not see much action for the Kansas City Chiefs as a rookie in 2013, with just 70 carries and more kickoff return yards (321) than rushing yards (242) during the regular season. A big season from Jamaal Charles (1,287 rushing yards, 70 receptions and 19 total touchdowns) as the centerpiece of the Chiefs’ offense simply didn’t leave a lot of room for another back to contribute, but Davis started in Week 17 and had 81 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.
Davis was also productive when Charles left Kansas City’s playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts with a concussion, with 100 total yards and two touchdowns on 25 touches (18 carries and seven catches). Davis suffered a sprained left knee and fractured left fibula in the game, but he was ready to go for all offseason work.
Fantasy owners that use an early draft pick or a lot of auction money on one of the elite running backs can consider using a late pick on that player’s backup, and Davis stands out as one of the top handcuffs in fantasy football this year. The situation behind other top running backs, like LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson and Eddie Lacy, is not as clear as who will be Charles’ backup right now. Davis is clearly No. 2 on the depth chart, even if you want to believe in rookie De’Anthony Thomas as a deep fantasy sleeper.
I’ve come out of both an auction and a snake draft with Charles as my No. 1 running back. While the intelligence of that can be debated, at another time and in another place perhaps, I used my final pick on Davis in both scenarios to help protect my investment. Even in a small sample Davis has proven he can be productive if given the opportunity, which I think puts him far ahead of other backs that can be considered as handcuffs. With a clear option available to replace him if he is injured, Charles may even carry greater appeal to some fantasy owners.