Posted by Andy Rioux
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - 9:34pm
If you were making a highlight film about Jamaal Charles and his play during the 2014 season, it would be called “The Beat Goes On.” After a spectacular season in 2013, it was only natural that Charles would regress some in 2014. However, while Jamaal’s numbers were notably lower, he still remained firmly in the RB1 ranks by totaling 1,324 yards and 14 touchdowns, despite missing one game and being forced to leave in the first quarter of another. Is another big year in store for one of fantasy's most beloved players?
With so many running backs used as specialists and committees emerging throughout the league, Charles is one of the proven backs out there who plays on all three downs. He led the Chiefs in receiving in 2013 and five of his 2014 touchdowns were scored through the air. When you consider the supporting casts Charles has played with in his career, his production has been remarkable and a testament to just how talented he is. Now, with Jeremy Maclin added as a free agent and Travis Kelce poised to become one of the best tight ends in the NFL, Charles will be less of a marked man and could create even more big plays. Last year, Kansas City drew the tough defenses of the NFC West in games played outside the AFC. This year, they will play the NFC North, which is not as daunting overall, especially Chicago. Although AFC West rival Denver has Kansas City's number, other division foes San Diego and Oakland are far from imposing defensively.
At least once or twice a year, Kansas City head coach Andy Reid has a brain freeze and forgets Charles is on the team. In Week One last year, Charles carried the ball just seven times against the Titans. And in Week 16, Charles ran the ball just nine times in a must-win game at Pittsburgh. Reid pulled the same shenanigans with Brian Westbrook in Philadelphia, proving he can't fix that particular flaw. Although Maclin will help open up the offense, his presence ensures the Chiefs will not go another season without a wide receiver scoring a touchdown and that could hurt Charles as some of his scores are likely to go elsewhere. That may not be a problem if Chiefs score more overall, but the presence of Maclin and Kelce will certainly cost Jamaal some looks in the end zone. Kansas City's offensive line is also a tad below average and with Charles inching closer to 30, the Chiefs may opt to give solid backup Knile Davis more touches.
It is a special position being the ultimate and Charles is one of the very few who has represented ultimate fantasy football greatness. While he may not be the valedictorian of the 2015 RB class, he remains an upper class RB1 and a solid first round selection.