Jamaal Charles

I need a new post to drop the semi-nude picture of Tom Brady down off the front page, so I thought I'd chime in on the Jamaal Charles re-signing. The Chiefs inked (if you're a sportswriter you're supposed to say 'inked' ...or sometimes 'locked-up' when it's a re-signing) the RB to a 5-year deal with $13 million guaranteed. Is Charles really a top back worth top money?

Yes, he is. (You're supposed to make readers wait to the end of the article for a wishy-washy non-answer, but I'll cut to the chase.) Charles' numbers are great, and the seem to be getting better each year. Currently in his 3rd year, Charles is averaging 5.8 YPC for his career and 6.0 YPC for 2010. (4.3 YPC is average for RBs.) How good is 5.8 YPC?  It's better than any 3-year span or any single year for LaDanian Tominson, Marshall Faulk, or even Erik Dickerson (not to be confused with the Bruce Dickinson, who could easily run for 5.8 YPC if he wanted.)

Are Charles' huge YPC numbers inflated by a handful of lucky long runs? Not really. Charles' career Success Rate (SR) is 45.1%, and in 2010 it's second in the league at 50.7%. He's succeeding behind an undistinguished KC offensive line. Running behind the same line in 2009, Larry Johnson's posted a 26.3% SR compared to Charles' 43.1%. This season, Thomas Jones had a 38.3% SR compared to Charles' 50.7%. And run SR is the stat most critical to a team's fortunes.

One possible reason for his high per-carry stats is that Charles is used relatively sparingly. He averages under 10 carries per game for his career, and 13 carries per game this season.

In his 43-game career (full career advanced stats), Charles posts a net 0.95 WPA and 44.0 EPA, which compares favorably to Adrian Peterson's 0.49 WPA and 22.9 EPA. Here is a career comparison (regular season only):


Peterson is certainly the better fantasy value, leading in TDs and total yards per season, but Charles may be the RB with the better real-world value.

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9 Responses to “Jamaal Charles”

  1. Borat says:

    So Jamaal Charles got an extension. So what. He can afford it. Most guys I know would give up their left nut for an extension!


    Thank you. Thank you very much. I'm here all week!

  2. foodmetaphors says:

    Come on, nothing about the Metrodome yet?

  3. foodmetaphors says:

    Oh, fine, I'll get it started. For those of you not following my Twitter (and honestly I wouldn't follow it myself),
    Metrodome roof collapses due to snow. Witnesses say it went down faster than Favre's Wranglers on new intern day.

  4. Carson Cistulli says:

    Don't worry, Brian: I have a post from Gisele's combine workout for next week's post.

  5. Borat says:

    We're in the 3rd quarter of the 1:00 P. M. games and still nothing on the metronome?

    Boy has this site slipped!

  6. johnnyjohnnywu says:

    Charles 417 for 2437 ; Peterson 1149 for 5613.

    When Charles attempts over 1000 rushes he will likely regress to the mean. When (if) Charles becomes the lead back like Peterson, and he is asked to carry the ball 20 times a game, I don't think he can keep up his 5.8 yards per carry.

    Case in point = Michael Turner. In his first 3 years of backing up LT in San Diego, his YPC was 5.2, 5.9, and 6.3. But when he became the lead back in Atlanta, his YPC dropped to 4.5, 4.9, and 4.3.

    I don't think it's fair to compare Charles to Peterson YET, because they have different roles. Peterson > Charles any day, until Charles can put up AP-like numbers as a #1 RB.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Who's to say he should become like AP and carry the rock 20+ times a game? Maybe he is better used in his current role, his higher WPA/G and EPA/P reflect this.

  8. Jared Doom says:

    Can't keep up the average with 20+ carries? Here's his YPC in games with 20+ carries, starting last season: 7.1, 6.2, 4.3, 10.4, 8.0, 7.9, 5.5.

    This guy is going to be a legend.

  9. Jared Doom says:

    Highest yard-per-carry average for players with 190+*. carries since 1990:

    *Yes, I chose that threshold because Charles has carries of 190 and 192 in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

    J. Charles 2010 6.1
    B. Sanders 1997 6.1
    J. Charles 2009 5.9
    B. Sanders 1994 5.7
    C. Johnson 2009 5.6
    A. Peterson 2007 5.6
    D. Williams 2008 5.5
    C. Portis 2003 5.5
    C. Portis 2002 5.5
    M. Faulk 1999 5.5
    R. Smith 1997 5.5

    It is absurd to give Thomas Jones as many touches as this guy.

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