There are not many things worse for Fantasy
Football than losing your top/elite/franchise RB
early on. Actually, what is worse is when you
lose that RB...and you do not have his viable
"handcuff" to fallback on.
When Arian Foster went down for some
of our clients, it was bad...but we had also
stockpiled Ben Tate with it, so a crisis
averted (so far). If Adrian Peterson went down,
I would feel "less-worse" with a talent like
Toby Gerhart to fallback on. The problem
with this Jamaal Charles injury...who the
heck is the viable "handcuff?"
Almost every one of our clients' Fantasy
Football teams, and our own privately owned
teams, are not reeling from the Fantasy Football
pain of the sad Jamaal Charles injury. We
absolutely love Charles the player, and we had
him projected as a top-5 Fantasy Football RB in
the preseason in 2010...when it wasn't as chic
of a projection. This year as the masses dove
into Charles preseason, we went the other way --
not on talent or superstition, etc...but based
on a dreadful schedule of opponents, especially
in the 2nd-half of 2011. All of that doesn't
matter now. Either you had Charles, and you are
scrambling...sifting through the KC RB
situation, looking through the haystack for the
needle. Or, you are a vulture...circling above
this KC RB situation looking for a possible
cheap waiver available RB, who could be a
main-line RB the rest of 2011.
The obvious choices, and the one's we
received the most questions on this week, are
Dexter McCluster and/or Thomas Jones.
Some also wondering if Le'Ron McClain can
have a 2009 rejuvenation. We believe in a door #
4 possibility, and have guided clients away from
both McCluster and Jones. We would like to
advance the possibility of the KC 5th string RB
(now 4th string) -- Jackie Battle.
No need to go scrambling to look up Jackie
Battle's bio, we're going to tell you all
about him. No need to pause in reading here, to
race to the add/drop page on your Fantasy
league...because this is anything but a sure
thing (actually it is semi-insane). However, let
us make the case against McCluster and
Jones...and for the long-shot potential of
If you take anything away from this...our #1
thesis on the KC RB situation, is to stay away
Just because an RB becomes the main RB,
doesn't mean there is an instant pay-day. How
many of you were burned by sudden feature RB
Cadillac Williams last week? However,
sometimes it works out like Willis McGahee
did last week.
Our April 2011 projection of the Chiefs
situation, still holds true today -- the KC
schedule is brutal for a Fantasy Football RB,
and the team/talent in general is overrated
coming off last season's division win (buoyed by
an incredibly easy 2010 schedule). Any Chiefs RB
is likely to struggle in this environment. The
Chiefs are falling apart faster than even we
thought would happen.
McCluster will not be the feature RB for the
KC Chiefs in 2011. I would almost guarantee it.
McCluster is not a 10-15+ carry RB in the
NFL. McCluster is, what he has been so far this
year -- a 5 +/- carry per game, and 5 +/-
targets per game player...and that isn't a bad
thing, it's just not a feature RB thing.
McCluster is 5'8 and 170 pounds...and that
physique translates into no possible way for him
to be a viable 15+ carry a game RB. What's just
as bad/worse for McCluster, is his fumble
problems. If you've been with us awhile, you've
heard this 100-times...so here's 101, Dexter
McCluster has one of the smallest hand
measurements we have ever recorded in our
Very small hands are likely to equal NFL
fumble problems...and McCluster has had fumble
issues going all the way back to college at Ole
Miss. McCluster lost a fumble on the 2011
opening-day kickoff, and he has lost 3 fumbles
in his last 3 games (going back to the 2010
playoff game). McCluster has recorded stats in
13 NFL Games in his career, and has fumbled 5
times...and has lost 4 of them. McCluster has
touched the ball, via carry or reception, 66
times in the NFL -- and he has 1 TD, a 31-yard
catch & run (a 2nd TD on a punt-return).
McCluster has 50 return attempts, and 66 touches
as an RB/WR...and has two TDs, and 4 lost
fumbles to show for it.
McCluster looks like he is moving in
fast-forward speed, like a water bug...but in
reality he measured slower at the NFL Combine.
Slower and smaller, not good for longevity in
the NFL...and McCluster missed several games
last year with injury.
McCluster will probably see a few more
carries over the upcoming weeks, and may pop one
in a game upcoming. However, he is not a viable
Jones is 33-years-old now, which in RB-years
is like 33,000 years. I acknowledge that somehow
Jones has consistently defied NFL logic -- and
has been successful/useful against all age
barriers for years...but the end is near.
In Jones's last 7 games, he has had 77
carries and has averaged only 2.5 yards per
carry with just 1 TD (3.6 FF PPG). Jones has not
produced 3.0+ yards per carry in any single game
in his last 7 games. Jones would be nice for 5
carries per game, but he is likely not going to
be a producer like the days of old...even if he
gets 15+ carries per game. We suspect he will
see 10+ carries in a game coming up, and may do
something initially...he may even score a TD and
send everyone into a tizzy next week, but the
view ahead for Jones is not a favorable one.
There is not a ton of upside here, just risk
with age and performance decline...and we pass
McClain is a true FB, not a RB. In 2009,
McClain ran for 902 yards and had 11 TDs as part
of a 3-headed monster RB attack for Baltimore
along with Ray Rice and Willis McGahee.
That year the Ravens were led by rookie QB
Joe Flacco, and the Ravens decided to go
with a ultra-conservative strategy of trying to
run and defend their way to the Super Bowl.
McClain was a beneficiary of the run-run-run
game plan. The following season, McClain ran for
a total of 180 yards and had 2 TDs. Last season,
McClain dropped to 85 yards rushing, and no TDs.
McClain moved to KC in the off-season, and has
had 4 carries in 2 games for 15 yards.
McClain is not a viable every-down RB. He is
a slower, pounding FB. If I had to bet on any RB
of the KC group from here on in, it might be
McClain -- he might see more carries than any of
them in trying to fill this Jamaal
Charles-vacuum. However, we are not moved by his
skill/upside to actually bet a Fantasy Football
roster spot on it.
There is, however, one RB on the Chiefs
roster that our computer has "had its eye
on"...and that KC RB is Jackie Battle.
The Jackie Battle
The Chiefs haven't made a move for another RB
yet, and the pickings are slim out there as it
is. You would think that the Chiefs "brass"
would see this season as "over". They are (0-2),
and they aren't a "good" (0-2)...and they just
lost their franchise player for the season. This
KC season is sadly over, almost before it began.
The Chiefs have hung onto Jackie Battle for
4, going on 5 seasons now. With Charles in
place, and the veteran Jones, mixed with the
scrappy McCluster, and then also picking up
McClain...you might think the Chiefs would have
moved on from Battle. However, he has stuck on
the roster for 4+ seasons.
If the workload goes to McCluster, he is
either going to fumble it away...or get hurt, or
both. If the workload goes to Jones...why? Do we
need to see more Thomas Jones in an (0-4)
or (0-5) going down in flames season? Maybe
McClain gets in, but where are you going with a
FB trying to be a front-line RB on a last
place/winless team? Then there is the RB on the
roster that seems to keep hanging on...a RB, who
led your team in rushing in the 2010 preseason.
I would not take all this time to set his
story up, if we didn't think that Battle might
potentially be a productive/good NFL RB. Let me
walk you through his background, and you can do
you decide if he is of interest or not
Who is Jackie Battle?
Battle was a former star RB at the University
of Houston from 2003-2006. As a Freshman in
2003, Battle was a backup RB...but led the team
with 9 rushing TDs. Flash-forward to his Senior
season in 2006, Battle rushed for 943 yards, 5.1
yards per carry, and 15 TDs...a University of
Houston single-season record. Battle ended his
career as the all-time rushing TD leader at
Houston (31 TDs).
Battle further caught attention after running
a 4.42 40-yard dash at his Pro-Day in 2007, with
a huge vertical leap, a nice bench press, and
off-the-chart's agility metrics. Keep in mind
that all these great physical skills were
contained within a huge 6'2, 235+ pound frame.
Battle's Pro-Day had the kind of measurements
that get unknown players rocketed into the NFL
Draft. Only, Battle wasn't drafted in 2007...was
it a red-flag behind the scenes, or a draft
oversight/mistake -- we don't know?
Battle was scooped up quickly by the Cowboys
as an Undrafted Free Agent in 2007. Battle did
well in the preseason, but got injured with a
high-ankle sprain late in camp...and was let-go.
The next part of the story does not happen often
to UDFA RBs...
Battle was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs
after being dropped by Dallas, and later that
season Battle played for the Chiefs...from
undrafted, to cut, to playing in the NFL. Not
only did Battle play, he scored a TD on his
first ever carry in the NFL...as well as posting
a Week-17 game with 13 carries for 44 yards.
Many drafted rookies won't see the field their
rookie season...Battle clawed his way into some
NFL playing time his rookie season as a UDFA.
Sadly, that 2007 late season attention was
the peak of Battle's workload in the NFL to
date. Since his 13-carry effort in Week-17 of
2007, Battle's next most carries in a
single-game is five. Battle led the Chiefs in
rushing in the 2010 preseason, but Jamaal
Charles became the RB future for the
Chiefs...along with help from newly acquired
veteran Thomas Jones. Battle had limited
playing time, and scored one TD in 20 total
carries last season.
Battle has off-the-charts athletics skills
(if the measurements are to be trusted),
measurements of an elite NFL RB. Battle also
produced well in college. All those great
attributes have meant nothing so far in the NFL.
Battle keeps making the Chiefs roster, but never
seeing much time. We wonder if a spiraling
downward Chiefs team might actually turn to
Battle at some point...just to see what will
happen. If he really is the RB that his
measurements show...he might actually surprise
Logic would dictate that if Battle was really
that good, he would have made it evident by
now...and that's absolutely sound thinking.
However, no one had really ever heard of an
undrafted RB from Coe College in 2003, who was a
star for the Sioux City Bandits in 2004-05, and
finally made it onto the NFL scene in 2008 at
age 28 -- that RB is also your current NFL
leading rusher...Buffalo's Fred Jackson.
I am not at all suggesting that Battle is the
next Fred Jackson, or the next anything. However, we
would like to advance that Jackie Battle
leaps out from our computer scouting analysis as a
RB to watch (and that's all we've done so far is
watch...nothing). Not only does Battle intrigue us
with his various measurables...the KC situation now
may provide an unusual window for him to finally get
a shot at proving once and for all, whether he is
just a good RB on paper, or a "player". We are
pointing this out as something to watch to see if it
develops...if we see Battle start to get into games
earlier and earlier, and produce in the next few
games...at least you will know he might be better
than the typical "no-name" RBs out there.
Select a position
from the tabs below
to see stats and scouting information for that respective