It’s time to get back on the Jamaal Charles bandwagon

ATLANTA - AUGUST 13: Jamaal Charles  of the Kansas City Chiefs against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on August 13, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Heading into the preseason, Jamaal Charles’s stock was quite high, and for good reason. The 23 year-old had just come off an eight-game stretch where he averaged 140.8 total yards and 1.0 TD per game. He was going in the early second — I even saw a few drafts where he was going in the late first — but with the acquisition of Thomas Jones and the beginning of Todd Haley’s mind games (i.e. refusing to list Charles atop the Chiefs’ depth chart), Charles’s stock has slipped into the late 3rd/early 4th.

I just snagged him in a slow email draft at 3.10 on the heels of his first start of the preseason. He fumbled his first attempt, but finished with 40 yards on six carries and caught a 20-yard pass. During the preseason, Charles has averaged 8.2 yards per touch versus TJ’s 3.2. Even Haley said that he’d “be a fool” if he didn’t play Charles given that type of disparity in production:

“We want this guy to be playing when the games count,” said Haley. “He’s coming off a pretty significant (surgery). … We want him to be playing at a high level.” Haley admitted he’d “be a fool” to not play Charles if he’s severely outproducing Thomas Jones in terms of yards per carry. Added the coach: “We’ve got great competition. Both of those guys want to be pretty good.”

Moreover, Footballguys lists KC’s schedule as the second-easiest for RBs, predicting four favorable matchups through Week 16 (along with zero unfavorable matchups).

I’d still take Pierre Thomas and maybe even Ryan Grant ahead of Charles, but once they’re off the board and I’m staring at guys like LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Knowshon Moreno, Chris Wells and Jahvid Best, Charles is looking awfully good.

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