Jamaal Charles Fantasy 2017
With Jamaal Charles signing with the Denver Broncos it appears that there may be a running-back-by-committee coming to fruition in the Mile High City. Charles now joins a backfield with current Broncos running backs C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker, Juwan Thompson, Bernard Pierce and newly signed rookie De’Angelo Henderson. With so many running backs ranging all over the spectrum of skill level, age, and experience, the Broncos running back room provides a unique challenge for fantasy owners to dissect.
Running-back-by-committee (RBBC) is like the Red Ring of Death that plagued gamers’ Xboxes back in the 2000’s. Everything is fine, and then all of sudden…it is time to give Microsoft Help Line a call. Same goes with RBBC. This is one of the ultimate frustrations in fantasy football. This is because once a new running back is added to a team it instantly decreases the value of all the running backs. In most cases, the market share of touches decreases for all the running backs, thus translating to a decrease in fantasy output. Some examples from last year include Melvin Gordon and Jay Ajayi. Melvin Gordon in his rookie year played with Danny Woodhead and did not score one single touchdown. Woodhead gets injured the next year and Gordon scores ten touchdowns.
Denver Broncos 2016 Rushing Numbers
Similar situation with Ajayi. After Arian Foster retired, Jay Ajayi became the starter and went from 8 rushing attempts per game to 21 rushing attempts. In both scenarios, it is no coincidence that the running back that was removed from the picture, correlated to a drastic increase in fantasy production for the remaining player. Unfortunately, Denver definitely looks to have an RBBC going into 2017, which does not bode well for Jamaal Charles, C.J. Anderson or any fantasy owners.
Anderson will most likely be the starter going into 2017 over Charles. However, Anderson like Charles has major injury concerns. Anderson missed the rest of the 2016 season with a torn meniscus. Knowing this, the Broncos made the wise decision to go out and bring in a veteran like Charles as insurance in case Anderson gets hurt again. The Broncos were not impressed with what Booker did in relief of Anderson last year, (3.1 yards per carry through Weeks 7-17). So instead of investing high capital into a draft pick, they took a running back later in the 6th round and signed Charles to be the primary backup for Anderson. As the backup, Charles will most likely see snaps similar to the Anderson-Booker split from last season. The split through the first 6 weeks of the season was 73-27 percentage in favor of Anderson. The reason that fantasy owners need to be hesitant with Charles is because of the team he is on. Not even referring to the other running backs, but the entire offense as a whole. This offense does not exactly ooze fantasy potential. The Broncos have a below average offensive line and questions at the quarterback position. Last year, they ranked 27th in rushing yards, 28th in yards per attempt (3.6), 20th in rushing touchdowns, and 21st in points scored. Still, the Broncos offense does include many passing targets to the running back position. Booker was third on the team in receptions last year, so Charles in PPR formats has more value. Overall though, the Broncos offense is not the one owners look for when evaluating maximum fantasy potential. Something else fantasy owners also need to look at is his injury concern.
What makes it so hard to believe in Charles is his own injury history. Charles has had three season ending injuries in his NFL career. In 2011, he had his first ACL tear, but then he rebounded quickly in 2012, for a career high 1509 rushing yards. Although, after his second injury in 2015, Charles was not as fortunate. He was unable to come back into 2016 fully healthy and ended up on injured reserve once again. The likelihood that Charles can be the same running back from the past is highly improbable. As a comparison, look at Arian Foster from last year. He was also coming off another season-ending leg injury, and he ended up retiring at the age of 30 during the season. Injuries, mixed with the fact that Charles is hitting the 30 years old age mark is a big red flag.
Jamaal Charles is a household name for fantasy fans, because of all that he has done on the football field. From his electric running style to his dynamic playmaking ability he has been a pleasure to watch. He still holds the record for career yards per carry at 5.5. But it is time to face the facts and forget about Charles for 2017. Even if Anderson goes down Charles will be no more than a low-end RB3. But for all the believers out there here is an interesting statistic for you. In 2011, when Charles first tore his ACL he finished the year with 12 carries. He then went on to have a career year in 2012. Fast forward to 2016 and he once again finished the season with an injury and that is right…12 carries! So for all you diehard Charles fans out there here is the stat that you need for the Charles 2017 comeback tour. Or it just means fans may want to hold their breath on Charles’ 12th carry this year.
Andrew is a Roger Williams University graduate where he majored in Marketing. While there he interned at a sports marketing agency where he had the opportunity to work with many professional athletes like Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman.
After college, Andrew started to write his own fantasy blogs via WordPress.com to show his friends why he calls himself the Fantasy Football Master. He calls himself this because back in ’07 in his first ever fantasy football league he drafted the Bears defense in the 1st round. He then proceeded to win the entire league. #DefenseWinsChampionships