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If you're a fantasy football player then you are well aware of Jamaal Charles and what he brings to the table for your fantasy team (and for his other team ... you know, the Kansas City Chiefs).
Jamaal was banged up with various ailments last year ranging from an ankle to a shoulder injury so it has led some to wonder whether we are starting his decline begin. I always go back to the fact that he's under 30 years old (28) and doesn't really have that many career carries compared to other full time backs because Herm Edwards and Todd Haley oddly did not play him very much in his first two years in the league.
That's why I wonder if this over / under on Jamaal's 2015 stats (via Bovada) are too low.
Rushing yards: 1,100
Rushing and receiving TDs: 12.5
Jamaal is a tough cat to predict because you know he's capable of going absolutely ham and surpassing 1,100 yards. He passed that mark in four of his last five non-ACL seasons. The one year that he didn't, last year, he finished at 1,033 yards. Jamaal is still averaging five yards per carry at this point in his career which is almost comically good so it's that effectiveness that makes me think he has another monster year in him.
I go back to what Scott Kacsmar at Football Outsiders told us the other day.
"I wouldn't hesitate to get him 300 touches, which didn't happen last year (246) with his catches especially dropping. Charles has missed a game in each of the last two years, but he hasn't had the big injury since the ACL in 2011. He's still only sitting at 1,249 carries and doesn't turn 29 until two days after Christmas, so I don't worry about him falling apart as much as a running back that's had more wear and tear at this point. Charles should have two or three really effective years left."
We asked Scott the same question last year and he pointed out that it's really more about his carries, not receptions, when it comes to slowing the decline. That's really interesting because one area Jamaal can receive a lot more work is in the passing game. He went from 70 receptions in 2013, which is perhaps a little too high, all the way down to 40 receptions in 2014, which is too low. I'd like to get Jamaal in the 50 reception range. If he's there, it's a good bet his effectiveness is such that he is likely to be passing 1,100 yards and with all those receptions he picks up enough touchdowns to surpass the 12.5 over / under on touchdowns.
It's also important to note this is homer season. Last year at this time, as Jamaal was coming off of a 259-carry, 70-catch season the year before, I thought he would get even more touches in 2014 because he showed how important he was. Then he got banged up and didn't get back into that same rhythm (it's funny how he had five yards per carry yet his standards are so high I can say he didn't get into his rhythm).
So injuries do matter but if healthy, expect a big year for Jamaal. I invite you to join our Week 1 Fanduel league to find out just how good he is.