Jamaal Charles is flat out an elusive running back. His numbers are always first-round talent and he is durable for his small frame (5’11”, 199 lbs.). Despite his 2011 season where he tore his ACL in the 2nd game of the season, Charles has missed one game in his other four professional seasons. He has three top 5 finishes for YPC average since 2009 (minus the 2011 season in which he was injured), holding a career 5.8 YPC average.
One thing that really stands out about Jamaal Charles is the fact that he’s never had the same offensive coordinator in his 5-year career. For the first time since being named the starting running back in 2009, Charles has a head coach that has a proven NFL head coaching track record. Andy Reid has brought Doug Pederson along with him to the Kansas City Chiefs as the offensive coordinator. Reid more than likely will end up calling most of the plays which is a good thing if you’re a Jamaal Charles owner.
One factor that stands out in Charles’ 2012 numbers is his consistency. There were 3 games in which he didn’t record over 10 rushing attempts and 4 games in which he didn’t record a single reception. To put this into perspective, when he received 15+ carries last season, he averaged 170 rush yards/game. These numbers are skewed because Charles had 6 games in which he rushed 22+ times, but you get the picture.
Andy Reid has had two agile running backs in his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles; LeSean McCoy and Brian Westbrook. Let’s leave Duce Staley out of the conversation as he was a different type of running back. Jamaal Charles is similar to both McCoy and Westbrook in that he’s small, has good hands, and is lethal for opposing defenses in the open field. Let’s take a look a look at the starting running backs under Andy Reid’s tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles;
Starting Running Backs Under Andy Reid by Year
|Year||Starting RB||Rush Att.||Rush Yards||Rush TD||Receptions||Rec. Yards||Rec. TD||.5 PPR||1 PPR|
(16 G/16 GS)
(11 G/7 GS)
(13 G/10 GS)
(16 G/16 GS)
(15 G/8 GS)
(13 G/12 GS)
(12 G/12 GS)
(15 G/14 GS)
(15 G/15 GS)
(14 G/14 GS)
(8 G/7 GS)
(15 G/13 GS)
(15 G/15 GS)
(12 G/12 GS)
Looking at this chart we can determine that since the Brian Westbrook era in 2003, starting running backs have had an average of 59.7 receptions per year under Reid. This is including Westbrook’s 2009 season in which he only started 7 games. So what does this mean for Jamaal Charles outlook in 2013? For one, you can see by the chart that Andy Reid is much more involved in the passing game which will benefit Charles owners this season, especially those in PPR leagues. His career high in receptions for a single season is 45 back in 2010. The Chiefs will rely heavily on Charles’ dynamics in order to open up the passing game with their new quarterback Alex Smith.
Back to the original question of if Jamaal Charles can be the RB1 in heavy PPR leagues in 2013. We know one thing is clear; Jamaal Charles’ fantasy value is on the rise with Andy Reid now in town. Adrian Peterson’s 2012 season will be extremely tough to replicate, so there’s sure to be regression there. Arian Foster is dealing with a poor offensive line in Houston, and second-year running back Doug Martin had a great rookie season but there are a lot of question marks heading into his sophomore campaign. In 1-point per reception leagues, I would say Jamaal Charles will be second in PPR rankings this season behind Adrian Peterson. In .5 PPR leagues, I’d still take him as RB2 because of his upside in the passing game. Don’t be surprised if he records a career high 60+ receptions in 2013. Who knows, maybe he could even replicate Brian Westbrook’s 2007 campaign; he surely has the talent to.
What do you think of Jamaal Charles’ outlook in 2013 with new head coach Andy Reid?