AFC West: Players who can be game changers

Join us as TTR Game Changers takes a tour through all 32 teams, identifying one player from every squad that I believe has a great chance of being a game changer in 2012.  To see the full series click here.

Kansas City Chiefs – Knowing the challenge of knee injuries from first-hand experience, I am concerned for the Chiefs this fall.  A large part of their future rests on the surgically repaired knees of Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki.  Furthermore, we don’t know how they will handle the rigors of  the season.  Perhaps it is overly optimistic to believe Jamaal will retain his trademark explosiveness that has led to a career rushing average of 6.1 yards per carry, but I think that even in a rotational work-share type of role, that Jamaal Charles will once again terrorize opposing defense, starting in 2012.San Diego Chargers –  I think that for a long time A.J. Smith has been given too much credit, and perhaps kept his job for too long.  The talent erosion in San Diego over the last five years has been awful, and the personnel decisions in the draft and free agency have primarily backfired on a once loaded team.  The Chargers are a team with a mix of the oft-injured and aging players, that appear to be on the decline.  That is why I think it is amazing that Philip Rivers gets so little credit for what he continues to do with this team.  Yes we saw him struggle last year, but he helped this team make a strong push at the end of the season, it was just too little too late.  I expect this team to continue to struggle as the defense will still be their Achilles heal.  They will still struggle on offense too, but Rivers will  carry this team on his shoulders yet again as one of the lone bright spots in San Diego. Read more…

The most impressive running backs of the NFL Preseason

Chris Johnson Titans is having a good preseason

The 2012 NFL Preseason is now halfway complete. While you can’t trust everything you see in the preseason, there are things you can pick up on. Here are a few running backs that have impressed us so far and who’s fantasy football arrow is pointing up.

Chris Johnson

CJ?K looked like 2011 Chris Johnson the preseason opener, but looked rejuvenated last week. Johnson had a few nice runs and found the end zone twice finishing with 46 yards on 10 carries. Johnson has been receiving rave reviews from coaches and teammates all offseason long as his latest preseason performance should cement his status a rock-solid first round pick, who I would have no problem taking at #4 in fantasy football drafts.

Jamaal Charles

Charles was on my short list for players to watch this preseason after suffering a torn ACL early last season. While he has received limited touches so far, he’s looks like he still has some of the burst he showed  prior to his injury. He has yet to suffer any setbacks and even took a big hit to his surgically repaired knee. You can draft Charles with confidence now. Read more…

Jamaal Charles shruggs off hit to surgically repair knee

 

Jamaal Charles

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Eleven months after suffering a torn ACL, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was back on the field on Friday night, and when he took a hit to his surgically repaired knee, he easily brushed it off.

“I felt fresh. My body hasn’t taken any licks in 11 months, so I feel real good and ready to go,” Charles said after the game.

Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said after the game that he believes getting Charles a hit to the knee in live game action was a good step. Charles needs the confidence that he can take a shot and pop back up, and now he knows he can.

“For him to take that hit, I think that helped clear his mind with where he is with that injury,” Crennel said. “Until you get hit on it, you just don’t know. You’re always wondering about it.”  Read More…

What does Jamaal Charles have left for 2012?

Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs

A year after emerging as arguably the most explosive runner in the game, Chiefs tailback Jamaal Charles missed all but two contests in 2011 with a torn ACL. Based on the history of running backs coming off torn knee ligaments and reconstructive surgery, it’s fair to wonder what Charles might have left for 2012.

He’s optimistic.

“I feel good,” Charles told reporters on Wednesday, per the Kansas City Star. “I feel like I got my mojo back. I feel happy. I feel comfortable out there, and I’m ready to go. My legs feel fresh.” Charles added that he’s able to make cuts like normal on zone plays in the Chiefs’ revised running scheme.

Peyton Hillis, signed this offseason to become the thunder to Charles’ lightning, recently told Jim Trotter of SI.com that Charles still has what it takes to be a special NFL runner. Read more here…

Runningback backups you should have on your Fantasy roster

One need only look at the injury riddled year it was for running backs in 2011 to see how handcuffing a backup could save your season. Just look at the names of some of the backs that suffered an injury which in most cases required surgery:

Jamaal Charles-Chiefs- Torn left ACL

Adrian Peterson-Vikings- Torn left ACL; Meniscus Damage

Rashard Mendenhall-Steelers- Torn right ACL

Jahvid Best-Lions- Multiple concussions (missed 10 games in 2011)

Beanie Wells-Cardinals- Right knee surgery

Knowshon Moreno-Broncos- Torn right ACL

Mark Ingram-Saints- Turf toe; Knee injury (played in only 10 games in 2011)

Consider this; how many times does a QB get hit or sacked in a game? How many times does a wideout get tackled in a game? And then, how many times does a featured back get tackled in a game? Clearly the RB gets the most hits because he controls the ball longer and gets the most carries of anyone on the team. The QB, of course handles the ball on every play but he has protection from his linemen and does not hold  it for any length of time. So with this scenario it’s logical that the RB will suffer the most injuries of any player on the field. Read more here…

Jamaal Charles ready to punish everybody in his way

Jamaal Charles

Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles has sounded like the most motivated player in football this offseason. Like he has something to prove. “I’m hungry,” Charles said in May. “I want it this year.”

Charles hasn’t lost his edge as the spring winds down and turns into summer. Recovering from a torn left ACL, Charles guaranteed to the Kansas City Star Wednesday that he’ll be medically cleared for training camp.

“When they let that cape off me, I’m ready to go,” said Charles, who’s roughly nine months removed from the ligament tear. “I’m ready to put my cleats back on and punish everybody in my way.” Charles went so far as to suggest that he’s already game-ready. Read more here…

 

Fantasy Football value picks for the 2012 season

Jamaal CharlesToday we’re taking a look at eleven players who, I believe, are currently being undervalued in the marketplace. Should these following stock prices hold steady until August, I’m betting that you’ll find some excellent draft day value in a few of the names listed below.

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers: Since 2008, only Drew Brees has amassed more passing yards (19,553) than Philip Rivers (17,597). But a 20-interception campaign in 2011 that contributed to the San Diego signal-caller’s worst QB rating in five seasons will have many owners wondering if Rivers is capable of rolling up the stat lines necessary for a championship run. I’m willing to gamble that last season was more of a fluke than an emerging trend.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: Remember this guy? Charles wrecked his knee in Week 2 last season and was lost for the year, which will have his 2012 draft stock lower than a Jamaican in a limbo contest. Peyton Hillis was added to the depth chart and dual-threat back Dexter McCluster is entering his third NFL campaign, but you can’t afford to sleep on the guy who came 65 total yards short of hitting the magical 2,000-yard mark in 2011.