Aug 7, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws a pass to running back Jamaal Charles (25) against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football 2014: Kansas City Chiefs RB Rundown

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Last year the Chiefs offense bounced back in a big way from a rough few years and became the third-highest scoring team in the league averaging 27.88 points per game just behind the Patriots and Broncos.  Unlike Denver and New England, the Chiefs don’t have an elite-level quarterback, but instead found ways to the endzone via defensive scoring, special teams work, and a rushing offense that was fourth in the league in yards per rush and produced the top-scoring running back in fantasy football.

Jamaal Charles was the highest scoring back in the NFL and is definitely in the elite tier, but the Chiefs offense is varied enough to produce a couple of realistic fantasy producers. Coach Andy Reid’s offense typically relies on a timeshare in the backfield and utilizes the back as a receiving option as well which opens up some potential fantasy chances for Charles’ backups as well.

Remember that last year, Dexter McCluster earned some fantasy attention as a running back/receiver hybrid and his touches will have to go to someone now that he’s in Tennessee. Alex Smith likes to use the backs as a safety valve, so whoever earns the third-down role could be worth a look especially in PPR leagues.

Here’s a rundown of the Chiefs’ running back options and their fantasy outlook:

2

Jamaal Charles

RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Even without playing in week 17, Charles was the top fantasy running back. He is a workhorse who has gotten over 320 touches in each of the last two seasons.  The Chiefs aren’t expected to back off feeding him the ball early and often throughout the season, and Coach Reid has said he’s comfortable with him reaching that number again.  Charles is definitely an elite-level back and should be one of your top picks in any format.  I would give the edge to the Eagles LeSean McCoy as the overall #1, but Charles is right behind him.  The only reason I have McCoy ahead of Charles is that I like the Eagles offense a bit more overall than the Chiefs. 
59

Knile Davis

RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Davis is a great handcuff for Charles owners and would pick up a huge workload if Charles went down.  He probably won’t take enough work from Charles to be fantasy relevant barring an injury, but it’s important to know who’s next up in the run-heavy KC attack.  There have been rumblings from training camp that Kansas City has experimented with having both backs in the backfield at the same time, but Davis’ value won’t be consistent enough to count on unless Charles is limited for some reason. 
NR

De'Anthony Thomas

RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Anthony is the running back most likely to fill in the Dexter McCluster flex role in the Chiefs offense, but he has limited upside especially early in the season.  He may play out of the slot which could make him an interesting option down the road especially in PPR leagues, and he definitely has big play ability which he’s already flashed this preseason.  Taking a flier on Thomas out of the gate is only for people in the deepest of leagues, but monitor how KC utilized him to see if there is value as the season progresses.

This post is part of a series detailing the backfield situation for each NFL team from a fantasy football perspective. Check out my top 80 rankings where the ranking numbers used above were taken from and click here for an overview of all the entries in this series.

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Tags: 2014 Fantasy Football De'Anthony Thomas Fantasy Football Preview Fantasy Football RB Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs Knile Davis RB Rankings RB Rundown

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