Musical Backfield: Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones
First off, Charles was very good in his first stint as a lead back, rushing for 1,120 yards and scoring seven TDs, though he only spent half the season as the starter. He closed out last season with rushing performances of 143, 154, 102 and 259 yards, paving the way for the deserved hype he's been receiving this offseason.
But Thomas Jones was also very good last year, rushing for a career-high 1,402 yards and scoring 14 TDs in 2009, giving him 27 TDs in his final two seasons with the Jets. New York turned to Shonn Greene in the playoffs, and his performance was so good that the team decided to send Jones on his way.
Of the two, we know Charles will get all the work in the passing game. He's electric in the open field and caught 40 balls last season. Jones has normally been a solid receiver out of the backfield, but he had just 10 catches in 2009. On the flip side, Jones can be expected to handle the goal-line work (what little there may be in KC), as the team tries to reduce the wear-and-tear on Charles long-term.
The 31-year-old Jones (32 in August) has carried the ball at least 290 times in each of the last five seasons. Even though he'll only be counted on in a limited role, it wouldn't be surprising to see his age and workload finally catch up with him. Should that happen, Charles could be primed for another run like he had in the second half of last season, and wouldn't that just be spectacular for your fantasy playoffs?
Charles' stock is affected by the signing, but I'd only drop him about 10 picks in your rankings at this point. In my early, early top 25, I have Ronnie Brown and DeAngelo Williams, two other committee backs, at 14 and 17, with Chris Wells at 20. Charles should be just as good as these guys, and I'm looking at slotting him between Brown and Williams.
Jones' stock obviously takes a huge hit. I think he's only looking at 100-150 carries, projecting him with 500-700 yards and anywhere from 4-10 TDs. At 32 years old this season, I think you have to give his floor (500 yards, 4 TDs) more weight than his ceiling (700 yards, 10 TDs).
Shonn Greene enters my top 25 with the move, as he's an awesome talent running behind the best run-blocking line in football. The bold amongst you will snatch him up in the second round, and I think you'll be amply rewarded for the gamble.