Four Downs: Jamaal Charles is baaaaack 

September, 23, 2012
The ol' saying goes that fantasy football owners shouldn't sit their studs, but it was hard to tell a week ago who Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles really was. After all, it's one thing to struggle, as Charles did in gaining three yards on six attempts in Week 2 against the Buffalo Bills. It's quite another to do so at least in some part due to left knee pain, especially when the player had ACL surgery on that knee about one calendar year prior. My concern on Charles, which led to more of a flex ranking than starter trust for me in Week 3 (the staff ranked him 21st at running back), was based on health and the threat of shared touches.

Well, we can all forget about health, sharing and performance issues now, as Charles exploded for 233 yards on 33 carries Sunday, including an electric 91-yard touchdown jaunt in the third quarter. Yes, the New Orleans Saints have been brutal defensively, and an injury to colleague Peyton Hillis opened the door for those extra touches, but Charles looked fast, spectacular and certainly healthy, adding to his bounty with six receptions for 55 yards. Concerns? Those owners who benched him can't get him back into Week 4 lineups fast enough.

The immediate impact of Charles' 34-point effort in standard leagues is that the player chosen fourth overall in 2011 drafts is worthy of a top-10 ranking again. The headline on last Tuesday's end-of-season rankings blog entry centered on Charles and Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson leaving my top-10 running backs, but one of them is heading right back in the top 10, and it's certainly not Johnson.