The overwhelming thinking this year heading into the most important sporting season, fantasy football, is that Jamaal Charles is in line for a massive season in 2011. I am among the millions of people who took him in their fantasy league as their No. 1 running back and likely first-round choice. Charles and his 6.4 yards per carry in 2010 are enough to make any fantasy owner drool and wonder what is in his future for this season.
I was lucky enough to have Charles fall in my lap with the 7th overall pick in my big money league fantasy draft. Seven was the pick I want because I did not want to be tempted to take Charles too early. While I believe Charles will have a good season, I do not expect him to be in the top four of fantasy points scored. So the fact that Charles fell to me, the biggest Chiefs fan in my draft, at #7 was absolutely amazing.
I have to say though: I am now questioning my decision to take Charles. While I know he will undoubtedly have some huge fantasy game for me this year, I am wondering about the consistency. I am not sure how I feel having Charles as the center piece of my team. As a Chiefs fan, I am pumped and can’t wait to root even harder for him. As a fantasy owner, I am worried the production will not be there, as most “experts” expect the Chiefs to regress in 2011.
The Chiefs decided to not use Charles much at all in the first three preseason games. I did not mind this approach because his natural talent is undeniable and his health going into the season is what is truly important. What did concern me a bit was that head coach Todd Haley decided to play his starters well into the fourth quarter in the final preseason game and the result was rather disturbing.
Charles finished with 19 yards rushing, 18 yards receiving and two fumbles lost in the red zone. Let me repeat that, TWO FUMBLES LOST IN THE RED ZONE.
I know it is only the preseason but Charles was going up against the Green Bay Packers second and third string units. Charles had a total of two fumbles all last season. So the fact that he was actually getting red zone carries, but failed miserably, really makes me wonder how Haley will hand out red zone carries during the season.
Charles did only receive nine carries, but I’d have to think that if not for the two fumbles he would have been given more touches like the rest of the starters that remained in the game. The fact that he was getting red zone carries in the first place is a good sign, but with the addition of Le’Ron McClain and the proven short yardage skills of Thomas Jones, those two fumbles could have cost Charles future opportunities in the red zone. That is not good news for fantasy owners, including myself.
I will be in Las Vegas tomorrow for the week 1 home game against the Buffalo Bills. If I was able to, I would bet that Charles puts the fumbling issues behind him. If Charles is able to do that, while still being productive, he will show fantasy owners everywhere that he is worthy of the first-round ranking that’s been placed upon him.
Stat Line Prediction for Week 1: 18 carries, 99 yards, 1 TD