FANTASY PLAYS: Charles' injury leaves a big hole in lineups
Owning Jamaal Charles has generally been one of the few stress-free experiences in fantasy football. Now Kansas City's matchup-proof back is out with a season-ending knee injury, leaving a huge hole in fantasy lineups.
So where do Charles owners look for help? Backup Knile Davis had been the guy to step in capably when Charles missed time previously, but Charcandrick West - a former undrafted free agent out of Abilene Christian - appears to have overtaken Davis.
Kansas City AP sports writer Dave Skretta reported Monday that coach Andy Reid plans to split carries between West and Davis, though West got five carries and one reception compared to Davis' two carries after Charles' third-quarter injury, according to STATS.
As for receiver Jeremy Maclin and tight end Travis Kelce, they won't have the benefit of operating with defenders always casting a wary eye toward Charles in the backfield. Neither managed much after Charles was hurt, with Maclin getting a 23-yard catch on the Chiefs' final drive while Kelce unable to haul in any of his three targets afterward.
And if you have Alex Smith at quarterback in deeper leagues, expect a serious hit considering Charles had 21 catches this season.
OBSERVATIONS FROM WEEK 5
- Todd Gurley is as good as advertised. After tearing through Arizona's defense, the Rams' prized rookie ran for 159 yards on 30 carries against Green Bay. After a Week 6 bye, he gets a Browns run defense allowing 5 yards per carry.
- It hasn't been a kind year to some big-name receivers. Ben Roethlisberger's injury isn't helping Antonio Brown with the Steelers, Peyton Manning's struggles are hampering Demaryius Thomas with the Broncos and Calvin Johnson's quiet start is a small part of the Lions' 0-5 start. And don't forget Dez Bryant is still out with a foot injury.
- Whoa! A DeMarco Murray sighting in Philadelphia!
Hoping to tweak your lineup? Here are some possible waiver additions to consider:
- Cleveland's Josh McCown (7 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) has somehow racked up nearly 60 points in standard leagues in the past two games, but the coming matchups - Denver, at St. Louis and Arizona - aren't exactly inspiring.
- Jacksonville's Blake Bortles (25 percent owned in Yahoo) is averaging 19.03 points in standard leagues.
- West (0.3 percent owned in ESPN) and Davis (24 percent owned in ESPN) stand to benefit from Charles' absence in KC.
- Detroit's Theo Riddick (6 percent owned in Yahoo) has PPR value, especially if the Lions are going to keep playing from behind. He had 10 catches against Arizona.
- New Orleans' Willie Snead (44 percent owned in Yahoo) has become a favorite target for Drew Brees. He's had 24 targets in three games and is coming off a 141-yard effort, so get him if you still can.
- Cleveland's Gary Barnidge (51 percent owned in Yahoo) probably won't be available much longer. He's scored in three straight games and twice cracked 100 yards in that span.
LOOKING AHEAD TO THURSDAY
Julio Jones is battling a hamstring injury for Atlanta, but Devonta Freeman is running strong and putting up top-tier numbers at running back. As for the Saints, Brees found some production from both Snead and Brandin Cooks - who scored his first TD of the season last week - while Mark Ingram is still leading the Saints backfield.
Aaron Beard is an Associated Press sports writer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's in his 14th season of obsessing over lineup decisions in fantasy football. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the AP's NFL site at http://pro32.ap.org .