It was only several series of a preseason game in which we saw him play against the Green Bay Packers, but Jamaal Charles is back! Or is he?
No longer is Jamaal Charles a Kansas City Chief. That backfield now belongs to the rookie stud, Kareem Hunt, who in his NFL debut against the New England Patriots fumbled on his first carry, then roared back to roll up 246 total yards and three touchdowns.
However, we’re here to talk about Jamaal Charles, the once heralded speedster that was a first round fantasy pick for several years before sitting out last season. Even prior to last season, Charles started to become the guy that never quite gave us a full 16-games, yet we put up with him because he could drop a quick 20 fantasy points in a flash.
What do we now make of this masked man in a Denver Broncos uniform? At the moment, Charles is deemed as a backup to C.J. Anderson while Devontae Booker remains sidelined with an injured wrist. Perhaps it’s the perfect opportunity for Charles to show us what he has left in the tank.
During preseason, Charles looked good, albeit not fully in game shape. Against the Packers, he stiffed several defenders with key blocks, ran for tough yards, caught balls out of the backfield, showed good speed, good patience, and made a running cut on his once-injured knee that added some clarity to his health situation. Speaking of the running cut, it wasn’t sharp, and on replay almost looked like Charles was looking to protect his knee with his hand or grab it before he went down. However, coming off of an injury, it seems only natural for a player to have some jitters before getting back into the flow of the game. Overall, Charles looked like he’s still got something in the tank.
The question now is can Jamaal Charles help your fantasy team? The short answer is yes. The main reason being that Charles went undrafted in many leagues and can easily be picked up off the waiver wire for next to nothing. We’re not proclaiming that Charles will immediately pass Anderson on the depth chart, replace Booker completely as the backup, or even last more than half the season. What we are hoping for is that the Broncos use him correctly. Say, on third down screen passes where he can cut upfield or lineup as a wideout to work the underneath route.
At this point, we wouldn’t consider Jamaal Charles as an every down back just yet. He may never be that again. What we both hope and need for him to be is a nice RB2 / Flex that costs us nothing and gives us more than we expected. We need him to be Danny Woodhead or better, with speed. If you drafted Charles as a last minute flier, then great! If he’s still sitting on your waiver wire, then analyze your roster and take a gamble if you can afford to. Jamaal Charles could be a sneaky good comeback player for your team.