When Andy Reid was announced as the new Kansas City Chiefs head coach (stop with the bad jokes already), my first thought was, “How will this affect Jamaal Charles’ value?”
During Andy Reid’s tenure in Philly, you couldn’t put a number on the tweets that mentioned his use of LeSean McCoy (or lack thereof). McCoy’s fantasy owners seemed to enjoy (suffer through) one common thought: “What the hell is Reid thinking?”
I’m a former McCoy owner. I, too, felt neglected. There have been many a shower cry performed in the Scott household because of the lack of compassion Andy Reid seemed to have shown toward the fantasy community from week to week. Did he not realize McCoy was a first-round selection for us fantasy nerds? Maybe he didn’t read my column earlier that week which predicted McCoy as a top fantasy play? Whatever the case may be, when the game clock hit zero, fantasy owners were always left feeling…unsatisfied.
So when Reid was named the new HC in KC, what did I think about JC? Could Reid be worse to us fantasy owners than Crennel and Dabol were this year? I tend to think Charles gets a bumpup in value, and not just a slight one either. Let me explain..
Andy Reid isn’t as bad to us as you all would like to believe. In fact, he’s been one of the most consistent coaches in terms of feeding his stud runner for the past three years; even when Brian Westbrook was at his best. It was only a year ago when McCoy totaled 1,600-plus yards with 20 scores. That was good for the top spot in fake football for running backs.
I feel like I’ve let this article get away from me here. This is about Charles and Reid, not McCoy and Reid. Right, so as I was saying…
Why was it frustrating to be a Jamaal Charles owner this year? Well, it might have to do with the fact he saw less than 15 touches in 6 of his 16 games. Despite having the 7th largest workload for a running back this year (in terms of carries), it was the Charles’ owners who always felt “jipped” when the games were over. If you take away the two games in which the fantasy Gods struck down common sense into Crennel’s cranium when he fed Charles 33 and 31 times, JC ends up with a mere 15.8 carries/game as opposed to 17.8 carries/game (15th among RB carries). Was this by design because of the ACL injury Charles was coming off of from the previous season? Was it because they truly didn’t realize just how good Charles is? Or, perhaps, they really thought Peyton Hillis was good enough to spell Charles for series at a time? Whatever it was, it’s all over now. And Charles’ knee is intact and looking good for 2013.
I just purchased the “Premium Stats” package over at ProFootballFocus.com and decided to try a little number crunching. It’s something I usually try to stay away from, leaving it to more intelligent folk. Here’s what I found:
In the past three seasons, McCoy’s numbers looked like the following (I took the averages of the 12 games he played in ’12 to get an idea of what his totals might have been for a full 16 season):
2010: 219 carries, 1,126 yards, 7 TDs | 82 rec, 613 yards, 2 TDs
2011: 273 carries, 1,309 yards, 17 TDs | 48 rec, 315 yards, 3 TDs
2012: 267 carries, 1,120 yards, 3 TDs | 72 rec, 482 yards, 4 TDs
If you take those three seasons and average them out, you get a back with a stat line that looks top-tier: 320 total touches, 1653 yards, 12 TDs. I’d also like to note that McCoy averaged 4.7 yards per carry during those three seasons.
Looking at Charles, I had to discount his 2011 season due to the knee injury he suffered during the second game of the season. In 2009, he didn’t start receiving double digit carries until Week 10 because Thomas Jones was the elite back in KC (obviously). But we’ll use those stats for nonetheless:
2009: 190 carries, 1,120 yards, 7 TDs | 40 rec, 297 yards, 1 TD
2010: 240 carries, 1,548 yards, 6 TDs | 46 rec, 483 yards, 3 TDs
2012: 285 carries, 1,518 yards, 5 TDs | 35 rec, 236 yards, 1 TD
Taking the averages of the three seasons gives us a back that looks a little like this: 278 touches, 1,734 yards, 8 TDs. Charles averaged an insane 5.9 yards per carry over these seasons, or 1.2 yards per carry more than McCoy.
So despite the outrage concerning Jamaal’s carries among us fantasy dorks, he actually received the largest workload of his career in 2012. And that’s coming off a major knee surgery. But what I saw, especially in 2012, was the lack of getting him the ball in space. Something else that jumps out is the lack of production in the passing game. JC played 70% of the team’s offensive snaps just once in 2012, often being spelled on third down for Hillis or Shaun Draughn (brilliant). Something Andy Reid is really good at? Getting his playmakers the ball in space and leaving said playmaker in the game when a 1st down is needed.
I know, it seems like rocket science or a foreign language.
Based on what Reid has done with his “lead” back in the past 3 seasons, and given these stats, I think we can come to the conclusion that Charles will be just fine. We just saw a worse case scenario (in a healthy season) for him with the atrocious quarterback play and lack of creativity on offense. If Reid brings anything to the table, it’s ingenuity. Given Dwayne Bowe might not be back and the rest of the WR corps in flux, Reid will need to find ways to get Charles 300-plus touches in 2013 because he won’t and can’t rely on whoever is going to quarterback the 2013 season (I still think Matt Flynn gets traded there, for the record).
I’m all aboard the Charles’ train in 2013, and won’t hesitate to draft him top-6 in fantasy. He’s more than capable of putting up 2,000 yards in an Andy Reid offense. And, oh by the way, he’s still only 25. Jamaal Charles has his best seasons just around the corner.