I really wanted to put this player higher up in drafts this year but just couldn’t place him over any of the previous three because of the uncertainty with the amount of touches he will receive. Despite that, I am still very high on Jamaal Charles this year and am hopeful that he can break loose of the ball and chain that is Thomas Jones.
The only thing that I see holding Charles back is the seemingly ageless Thomas Jones because he certainly isn’t lacking in any kind of ability. Charles finished last season averaging 6.38 yards per carry which is the highest ever among running backs with at least 200 carries in a season. In the only 3 games he was given over 20 carries he ran for a total of 466 yards at an even higher per carry average of 7.17. He also finished second in the league in rushing with 1,467 on only 230 carries. To put that into perspective, rushing leader Arian Foster took 327 attempts to get his 1616 yards. The only thing that Charles hasn’t been able to run free from is Thomas Jones.
Jones carried the ball 245 times last year for 896 yards. Not only was he given more overall carries but 33 of those were also of the most valuable kind to fantasy owners in redzone carries. Charles was only given 24. None of that seems right to me and it would be criminal for it to happen again this year. The process of aging should help ensure that it doesn’t.
Jones is now entering his age 33 season and eventually all running backs do break down. Only 6 players in NFL history have rushed the ball over 200 times after turning 33. He has also amassed the fourth most rushing attempts over the last 10 years with only LaDainian Tomlinson, Edgerrin James, and Jamal Lewis having more. Tomlinson has been delegated as the third down back with the Jets while both Lewis and James are retired. Jones is getting closer and closer to joining James and Lewis in retirement but at the moment still remains the biggest obstacle holding back Charles from achieving a whole other level.