Should You Worry About 50/50 Carries

By Zack Cimini

Days of split carries in the backfield have grown over the last five years. More teams have become cognizant of protecting not just their feature backs but backfield as a whole. Protecting the health and investment of one of their main positions has helped sustain teams, and prolong backs from unneeded wear and tear.  From a fantasy football standpoint unless you’ve seen it work, you become weary of how a team is going to run that percentage of carries. Usually someone takes a couple of ticks down because of it in the backfield. Whether it’s a loss of carries in the red zone or one back separating a bit from the other and boosting their percentage of carries.

Out in Kansas City there is a definite lingering outlook on how the carries will be split. You’ve got Jamaal Charles who was equally a Chris Johnson the second half of the season. Coming in to thwart his one man show for 2010 is Thomas Jones. The veteran that has somehow came to life as his career has evolved. As a Jet, Jones busted up fantasy running back rankings with two phenomenal seasons. Strong years of double digit touchdowns to go along with an average of 1,350 yards.

New York planned ahead and decided to draft Shonne Greene in 2009 to forgo resigning Jones in 2010. Saving the money to go on the side of youth could prove to be a great move. Kansas City though believes Jones still has solid years left in him, and will complement Charles.

Youth is the name of the game in the NFL, and Charles is the guy who has that. He has that home run threat speed to change a game on any play. Out of the backfield or slashing through holes, Charles is a factor back. Jones on the other hand never has been a scary open field runner. He was on a New York Jets team that had one of the best if not the best offensive lines in the NFL. The way he got his yards was similar to Edgerrin James. They came in chunks but you’ll never see runs of forty or fifty yards.

One thing that the Jets did do with Jones is up his carries. Since 2005, Jones has averaged just over 300 carries a season. Durability hasn’t been a question though as he has played in every game but one. At 32, you’d think he’d be on the downside of his career. What level he is at is the veteran stage, like Fred Taylor. He is going to have his games where he pops on the scene and has a big game, but for the most part he is going to be a short yardage workhorse.

Kansas City has Jones listed as their number one back, but does that really mean anything? No. Charles is rated consistently as a top ten fantasy back for specific reasons. He is going to be heavily involved in the Chiefs running game, and as the season trickles on he will start to separate from Jones in carries. It’s the natural pattern of how the NFL works. It happened to Jones just last season. As a Jet he was practically a lone force every week carrying the load. Until the playoffs came along and Greene’s play forced the Jets to say this is our guy now, not just after the season.

Will see how this plays out, but those worried on drafting Charles early don’t be. Dividends will pay off just like the waiver wire pickup he was last season.


You must be logged in to post a comment.