He followed his breakout season with another monster year in 2010, racking up 1,467 rushing yards (with 468 yards on 45 receptions) for eight scores. After missing almost all of last year (just 83 yards on 12 carries), can Charles return as a RB1 for fantasy owners?
The first test is during training camp, as he tests out the knee. Fortunately for Charles, his injury happened last September, so he will have had plenty of time for the knee to heel, contrary to say Adrian Peterson, who suffered his injury late last season.
Moreover, Charles, 25, has chalked up 499 career carries (for 3,027 yards and 12 touchdowns at 6.1 yards a pop) since being selected in the third round (73rd overall) by the Chiefs in 2008. These factors should increase his chances of a quicker recovery.
Once his knee checks out, Charles will face his next obstacle—sharing the backfield with Peyton Hillis. However, Charles will be the primary ball-carrier and he has experience sharing the load from his time with Thomas Jones.
The presence of Hillis also looks to help Charles from having more wear and tear. In addition, Hillis’ physical style could provide another bonus by softening defenses, potentially leading to more long runs for the 5-11, 199-pound Port Arthur, TX native.
Currently, Charles is ranked 12th among fantasy running backs in my eyes. Mock Draft Central has him the No. 13 RB to come off the board. I could envision him being placed a few notches higher, especially in PPR leagues. How he looks in training camp and in the preseason games will answer the question, but right now I do consider him a low-end RB1. What’s your take?