Fantasy or Reality: Expectations for Pierre Thomas and Jamaal Charles

While Darren Sproles is out for the next few weeks, it is safe to rely on Pierre Thomas.

 Fantasy. Darren Sproles is statistically the best receiving running back in the NFL. In part because he is a great receiver out of the backfield, but mostly because Drew Brees loves throwing the check down pass to his running backs. As the only remaining running back with a history of catching passes, Pierre Thomas should see increased production right? I’m sorry Pierre Thomas owners, but the answer is no. Even though Chris Ivory has caught a whopping two passes in his entire career, he was the main benefactor on Monday night in the absence of Darren Sproles.

In the Saints victory over the Eagles, Pierre Thomas had a pretty good game. He averaged 7.3 yards per carry and 13 yards per reception. However, he only ran the ball six times for a total of 44 yards and he only caught the ball twice for a total of 26 yards. Given Pierre’s encouraging averages, it would be easy to be fooled into thinking that the Saints will give him an increased work load in the coming games. Don’t be fooled by this. Throughout Thomas’ entire career he has come into games and done well, but because the Saints love to use a bevy of running backs he has never been able to consistently put up points. Furthermore, if the Saints game plan this week was any indication going forward, you can expect Thomas to continue to get too few carries and receptions to be a valuable fantasy player.

With Sproles out, Thomas is still sharing time with Ingram and Ivory.

Jamaal Charles is not a must start running back.

Reality. Jamaal Charles is one of the most explosive running backs in the NFL. With speed that rivals Chris Johnson, Charles has the potential to go to the end zone every time he touches the ball. Unfortunately, Jamaal Charles is a member of the Kansas City Chiefs who appear to be caught in a downward spiral of disappointment. Despite the Chiefs having the third best rushing offense in the NFL (running the ball and playing good defense wins championships right?), over the past three games Jamaal Charles has averaged 28 yards rushing and 13 yards receiving.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone should be sitting Jamaal Charles. However, I do think that those with multiple quality running backs should avoid starting Charles. Especially, when Charles is in an unfavorable situation against a good defense. For those with less desirable running backs and Jamaal Charles on their roster, I would still suggest that you start Charles in hopes his production picks back up.

The Chiefs would probably be better off if they instituted a “raise your hand if you want the ball” policy for the rest of the year.
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