Commentary

Quick Reads: Charles is MVP-worthy

In spite of a platoon, the Kansas City running back is performing at historic levels.

Updated: December 20, 2010, 7:02 PM ET
By Bill Barnwell | Football Outsiders
Jamaal CharlesDilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesCharles is caught up in an inexplicable time share with fellow Chief Thomas Jones.

It's been a good 10 days for Jamaal Charles. On Dec. 11, Charles signed a five-year, $32.5 million contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs that guarantees him $13 million. On Sunday, Charles busted off the longest run of the weekend, an 80-yard scamper that helped seal a crucial 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

And today, he's hit another milestone with our two major metrics: According to DYAR (our player valuation metric, explained in depth here), Charles is the best running back in football this season. While DVOA (explained more here) has suggested that he's been the best per-play back in the NFL for a fair amount of the season, his performance against the Rams pushed him ahead of Arian Foster as the overall leader in rushing DYAR.

He won't be getting any bonuses for finishing in that spot, but you don't need advanced metrics to realize what a great season he's having. Charles is now averaging 6.4 yards per carry, something that no other back has done with 200 or more carries in a season. Barry Sanders? Eric Dickerson? Adrian Peterson? Charles is doing more on a per-carry basis than any of them ever did. His 36.0 percent DVOA would also rank as the best performance by a back in a single season since 1993, the beginning of the DVOA Era.

Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) is a staff writer for Grantland.