During the previous two years, Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis carved out a small fantasy football niche for himself while filling in for an injured Jamaal Charles. This time around, he has some competition, as Charcandrick West has so far shouldered the load on the ground following the departure of the Pro Bowl running back to a knee injury.
With a little over nine minutes left in the Chiefs’ Week 5 matchup with the Chicago Bears, West has run for 27 yards on five carries. He also has one reception for five yards.
Judging by how Charles’ injury happened, Kansas City may be forced to rely on West and Davis for some time. He hurt his right knee after attempting a cut and fell to the turf without contact, which is rarely a good sign. The Chiefs announced shortly thereafter he’d be out for the remainder of the game.
As a result, numerous fantasy owners—especially those who have Charles on their roster—are quickly rushing to the waiver wire in order to grab Davis.
If you haven’t yet added Davis, then you may want to hold off on doing so for two reasons.
For one, he hasn’t been all that effective when he has played. Over his career, he’s averaging 3.4 yards a carry. Outside of his big three-week stretch last year when he ran for 318 yards, the figure falls to 2.9 yards a carry.
Chase Stuart of Football Perspective has never been sold on Davis as an NFL-caliber running back:
As if past performance isn’t enough to give you pause about adding Davis, he may not even be the first guy in line to replace Charles in the event he misses major time. ESPN.com’s Adam Teicher reported this past Monday that West is gaining more favor with the coaching staff.
He quoted Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who seemed to imply West has supplanted Davis in the backfield: “We like what Charcandrick has been doing. We also like Knile. On certain situations, we like to use them all. In those situations, we chose to go with Charcandrick. We haven’t lost any confidence in Knile. You saw some of the things we were doing with him, and we think Charcandrick does a pretty good job with those things.”
West doesn’t have a strong NFL resume just yet. He played in six games last year after being an undrafted rookie out of Abilene Christian. His only real action in the league came last week, when he rushed for 17 yards on five carries in a defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Regardless, all signs point to the 24-year-old getting the majority of touches in Charles’ absence.
He who hesitates is often lost in fantasy football. Prudence is rarely rewarded when considering whether or not to make a midseason tweak to your team.
In this case, however, being patient may pay big dividends. If you took the time to truly analyze the situation, you’d find West is a stronger fantasy candidate than Davis and arguably boasts more value going forward.
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