As the prospect of Reid to K.C. began to unfold, I saw plenty of tweets to the @NFLFantasy twitter account lamenting that the new coach’s hiring would be the fantasy death of Charles. A sampling…
@NFLfantasy Reid to Charles does not bode well for Charles, does it?—
Matthew Prussky (@matthewprussky) January 03, 2013
@NFLfantasy Andy Reid agrees to deal with chiefs, awesome another amazing rb rb that he'll under utilize—
Tim McGinnis (@g_hawks22) January 04, 2013
It’s an understandable sentiment, considering how much LeSean McCoy was underused in a season that saw Michael Vick struggle and eventually give way to Nick Foles. But things might not be as dire as one would believe. First off, unless the Chiefs make some major moves through trades or free agency, it’s hard to imagine the team making a major upgrade at quarterback — especially with a weak QB draft class. Throw in an underwhelming receiving corps and there aren’t many offensive weapons beyond Charles available.
Plus, it’s not as though the back is a completely wrong fit for what Reid has traditionally done offensively. While Charles is known primarily as a rusher and not a pass-catcher, he has been a fairly competent receiver out of the backfield during his career, averaging just over 30 catches per season — a number that’s depressed due to his injury-shortened 2011 season. In an offense that relies heavily on the screen pass, that’s a valuable commodity.
If there’s a concern, it comes in the form of Peyton Hillis. Reid at times has not been afraid to feature a pair of backs, whether it was Correll Buckhalter taking touches from Brian Westbrook or Bryce Brown seeing carries in place of McCoy. There were a couple of games late in the season where Hillis split quite a few carries with Charles. Not to mention that the former caught a career-high 61 passes during his breakout 2010 season with the Browns. There’s a possibility that Reid could decide to go with a two-back attack, but we might not know that until we see the team work in preseason.
This is all a long way of saying it’s not time to panic over Jamaal Charles’ fantasy value just yet. But you’d be foolish not to at least keep a keen eye on what could be coming his way.
– Marcas Grant
Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG