I know what you’re thinking. I must be mad to say don’t draft Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs. Once you see the reasons for not picking him up, you’ll be wise to let someone else in your league make the mistake of picking him for 2012 fantasy football.

First and foremost, Charles is coming off of a torn ACL suffered early last season. We’ve seen time and again when a surgically-repaired ACL is not as strong as the original one. It doesn’t mean he won’t be able to run and cut but expect it to be a little less effectively.  Charles’ big season in 2010 was due in part to the Chiefs’ ability to run the ball between the guards. They averaged nearly 4.9 yards per carry in that slot and were fifth overall. Flash ahead to 2011 and the picture changes. Drastically. KC dropped from 5th to 29th in effectiveness from their line. They were sixth around left end and best off the left tackle, averaging 5.67 yards per carry. They were in the bottom six when it came to going up the middle and to the right. If Kansas City keeps running him up the middle or to the right, Charles loses value and nearly a yard per carry. He has the speed to break away from defenders in the open field. Of course the problem is getting him to the open field and that second level of defenders so he can turn on the jets.

Charles has never scored more than 8 combined TDs in a season as he is one of those ‘fine back with small TDs’ Sky talked about in the 2012 fantasy football rankings. Think about the fact that thirteen other running backs scored eight or more times last year-on the ground alone. Another big issue is the offseason acquisition of Peyton Hillis from Cleveland. The disgruntled running back is making his second trip to an AFC West team (Denver) and looks to be more in line to vulture carries at the goal line. It seems like this is Thomas Jones version two from two seasons ago. Another problem with Kansas City is the lack of a passing game. Dwayne Bowe is out there as WR1 for the team. He also had a great 2010 with 15 TDs but regressed to just 5 last season. Without a real consistent deep threat and a decent WR2, Charles is going to face more defenders in the box. That will only further expose the weaknesses in the Chiefs’ run game.

Charles has too many things working against him to be an effective back in Kansas City. He’ll get his carries but trips to the end zone will be few and far between in 2012.  If I’m drafting a running back in the second or third round this year, I’ll be sure to leave this Chief alone.

  1. David_KOA says:

    @Andrew Nordmeier
    If you look back at 2010 when Thomas Jones(245) still had more carries then Jamaal Charles(230). That did not stop Jamaal from still finishing as the number three overall RB(fantasy) standard scoring. He gave us a stat line of 1.935 total yards, 6.4 YPC, 45 catches & 8 total TD’s.
    In the two games he played last year(really just one game) his game log look like
    Week 1- 65 total yards, 5.6 YPC, 5 catches
    Week 2- 27 yards, 13.5 YPC
    I don’t really think Mr. Charles had much of an issue running behind that Chiefs O-Line.
    If you are going to blame anybody for the Chiefs struggle in the run game maybe look at who was running the football for them.
    Thomas Jones- 478 yards & 3.1 YPC or the fact that Matt Cassel missed 7 games last year.

    Now the Chiefs insert Payton Hillis to fill the role of Thomas Jones. Yes, we know Hillis will be the goal-line back but as we saw in 2010 that really does not effect Jamaal Charles and his numbers. Heck it seems like he is more effective with less touches. Lol. We also can not forget that Hillis graded out accusing to pro football focus 30th among RB’s for pass blocking. While Charles was placed as the number 8 RB when it comes to protection. So what else will Hillis be needed for that Charles can not do?

    Like a Matt forte both these guys bring so much to a stat column that we don’t need them to hit pay dirt on regular basis like many other RB’s. He can rack up 1,600 total yards, catch 40+ balls & sprinkle in a handful of total TD’s. Those are RB1 numbers(any format) and it’s not costing you a first round pick.

    As long as he has no set backs in traning camp or preseason he is a quality selection in round two or excellent addition if you can land him early third round. As a RB1 if you go QB, WR or TE early. Or an excellent RB2 option if you go RB-RB.

  2. S-Quire says:

    12 team PPR

    . . .
    7. Sproles
    8. Run-DMC
    9. Forte

    Next four I have are Trent Richardson, S-Jax, Jamaal Charles, and DeMarco Murray. Right now I have them in that order.

    Seems like a good balance of risk versus reward; which would place Charles squarely in the third round.

  3. Andrew Nordmeier

    Andrew Nordmeier says:

    Yes, there were other issues at play like you mentioned. I’ve just never been fond of running backs coming off of ACL surgeries, regardless of when it happened (within the last year). I like his top-end speed but wonder how much it might be reduced coming off the ACL but the issue for me was getting enough space to get to that high gear.

  4. John says:

    Your a dumbass and I hope he burns you bad when you don’t draft him. He will have over 8 TDs and 1000 yards. Set back and watch. Drink your haterade, I hope you choke on it. Hater!!!

  5. ldeluxe says:

    I agree that picking up a RB coming off ACL is risky. But that was all that I agree with. You failed to recognize that the Chiefs have made some big changes to their O-Line. First, they picked up Eric Winston, who has been instrumental in Adrien Foster’s success, and the best Free Agent Tackle available this year. He moves in to play Right Tackle (the most glaring need on the line). They drafted a guy who they suspect will start at Guard and will have a new Center. Those changes alone should make a huge difference to the areas of weakness you noted. But running around either end will be much better with someone with real speed. The Chiefs had no speed in their backfield with Charles out (the experiment with McCluster running the ball failed and he will be moved back to his flanker/slot receiver role)

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew says:

      @ldeluxe, You’re right. I whiffed the OL upgrades they did and they should help whomever is running the ball for Kansas City. I agree Charles was the only real speed back they have and perhaps the Chiefs can run more stretch plays in 2012 to benefit him.

  6. Rick says:

    The only point is that “Jamaal Charles” that we all know makes you miss…why does he make you miss??? Because he can cut on a dime and not decelerate, can you do that off a torn ACL in less than a calendar year or more? History has shown us that the majority is not in favor of pre-injury ability.
    There is NO way you are taking Jamaal Charles in a standard or ppr league in the 3rd round. At least not if you expect to make the playoffs in a competitive league. IJS

    • S-Quire says:

      @Rick, I think it’s purely a risk vs. reward calculation. Last year when Arian Foster came down with the hamstring issue, I packaged him in a trade because I was worried it would linger, and the team would limit him with such a quality backup in Ben Tate. But he came back strong and I regretted it. Obviously a hammy isn’t as bad as an ACL tear by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a similar thought-process. You obviously drop him some rounds because of it (just like Lynch’s legal problems, DMC’s injury history, Forte contract), but the question is how much. I think two rounds isn’t a completely unreasonable gamble (i.e. I wouldn’t say there is “no way” you’re taking him there). Anyway, we should probably get enough info by draft-time to know how much of a gamble it is.

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