Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles went down early in Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions with a knee injury. As he was stretching to try and get a first down, his knee buckled underneath him and he was forced to leave the field on a cart.
Though we are awaiting official word, it had the look of an injury that will keep Charles out for quite some time. If you play fantasy football and drafted Charles, there’s a good chance you used a first round pick on the explosive running back. The question you find yourself asking now is: what now?
Before you do anything, pick up veteran Thomas Jones. He only averaged 3.7 yards per carry last season but is going to be the primary back in an offense built to run the ball.
If you are in a league that awards points per reception, Dexter McCluster is also a strong option. Every league is different, but Yahoo!, for example, lists McCluster as both a running back and wide receiver. That sort of versatility, not to mention his increased workload, make him worth a roster spot.
Any one that plays in a deeper league could take a flier on Le’Ron McClain. If Jones proves unable to carry the load, the former Raven could emerge as an interesting fantasy option. In 2008, McClain had 902 yards and 10 touchdowns on 232 carries.
If Charles is indeed out for the season, there’s little chance that the Chiefs will find their way to the playoffs. With the right moves, there’s no reason your fantasy team has to have the same fate.