Written by Brian Denning
Last week Jamaal Charles scared the fantasy world after going down with a quad injury, missing the remainder of the game. As with all running back injuries, the rush was on to determine who I should steal off the waiver wire this week. Since then, any doubt about his status has subsided despite him not practicing today. In case Charles were to miss time, the Chiefs running game would be in the potentially safe hands of Knile Davis.
Who Is Knile Davis?
Knile Davis is a 6’0” tall 227 lb. back out of the University of Arkansas. During his career he rushed for 1,862 yards, 19 touchdowns and averaged 5.3 yards a carry. He was a 2010 SEC 1st Team selection, breaking out with 1,458 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns during his sophomore year. Last winter he elected to forgo his senior season and enter the draft. In April, he was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 96th pick.
Davis is a big bodied physical runner with a strong core. He can be classified as a north-south runner but also has shown this preseason that he can spin and hurdle. He has the weight and strength to get the extra yard, and should be a threat for goal line carries.
Davis struggles staying healthy and has a history of injuries going all the way back to his junior year of high school. In the NFL, where the players are a bigger and stronger than ever, injuries could be a problem for a physical running back like Davis. Davis also lacks game breaking speed and is not a home run threat but still has great power and burst in the open field. His pass blocking skills are still pretty raw but he has the strength and build to greatly improve it.
He was one of the top performers at the combine, propelling him upward in the draft. This preseason he got the attention of fantasy insiders everywhere after returning a kick 109 yards for a touchdown. This preseason he only had 59 yards on 24 carries (2.5 ypc). Do not let those numbers frighten you because despite his lackluster performance rushing he was able to display solid ball catching abilities with 9 catches for 57 yards. Beat reporters have stated that he looked good during practice, which is likely why he was able to pass veteran Shaun Draughns and 2nd year player Cyrus Gray on the depth chart.
Last Week’s Game
When Jamaal Charles went down, Davis rushed for 12 yards on 4 carries as well as having a reception for 5 yards. These numbers are too small of a sample size to really take anything from, but do prove that he is the backup running back and is the back to own if anything were to ever happen to Charles. Since this game, Jamaal Charles has not practiced this week yet but that is likely just a precaution and he is expected to start this weekend.
Current and Future Status of Knile Davis
Now I would never wish for a player to get injured but in fantasy football, good owners take full advantage of the fact that players get injured all the time and that using the waiver wire effectively is vital for making a championship run in your league. Now with that being said, Knile Davis is the backup running back in Kansas City and will be for the foreseeable future. Currently, he should get carries moving forward in an attempt to keep Charles healthy but is still not at all relevant in redraft leagues.
Last season Jamaal Charles had 285 carries for 1509 yards. These outstanding numbers not only show the ability of Charles but the skill of his offensive line, which was bolstered by top pick Eric Fisher. The shelf life of running backs in the league today are getting shorter and shorter, causing teams to create the dreaded “Running Back By Committee” as well as teams attempting to establish depth at the position due to the likelihood of starters sustaining injuries. Andy Reid and the Chiefs believe that Davis could be that emergency future and are looking to get him carries this year and polish his raw talent. If he improves and becomes the workhouse back the team wants him to become, he should have no problem becoming the fantasy relevant player we so desire as a dynasty owner. But remember patience is a virtue and it could be a season or two before he gets solid playing time.
Because of the dynamic nature of the league, we as dynasty owners are always looking for that future fantasy stud especially in the later rounds of our dynasty drafts. Knile Davis has an opportunity to learn from one of the best running backs in the game under one of its longest tenured head coaches. His combination of athleticism and strength could make Davis into a solid production running back in what looks to be an improved Kansas City Chiefs offence. The only “but if” is whether he can manage to last an entire season, something he has not been able to do since his breakout sophomore year of college.