Charles, a fifth-year veteran out of Texas, is one of the most explosive playmakers in football, but faced a significant amount of doubt heading into this season. He rushed for well over 1,000 yards in both 2009 and 2010, averaging an incredible 6.4 yards per carry two years ago.
This made him a popular pick in 2011, but he appeared in just two games before tearing his ACL and missing the rest of the season. This year, fantasy owners have had to evaluate how effective he can be while coming off that injury.
There have been highs and lows for Charles this season, and before making a decision to trade for him or send him away, fantasy owners must decide how productive they believe the Chief’s RB will be going forward.
Here is everything you need to know about Charles’ trade value.
Why You Should Keep Him
Charles flashed his incredible potential against the New Orleans Saints earlier this season when he gained 233 yards on 33 carries and scored on a 91-yard touchdown run.
This is the type of big-play potential Charles brings to the field every game. He has not been all that consistent this season, but has gained 80 yards or more in four of his eight contests.
He has had two games in which he's received more than 30 carries and has easily surpassed the 100-yard mark in both contests. When he is given opportunities, he is productive.
These high points prove that last season’s injury is not hampering him. Charles is suffering from playing on an inconsistent offense, but that talent is still there, as is the chance for a monster fantasy performance in any week.
Why You Should Trade Him
Fantasy football owners often ask of the players on their roster, “What have you done for me lately?” The only answer Charles can give to that question right now is, “Not much.”
From Week 4 through Week 6, Charles received 81 carries and gained 461 yards while scoring two rushing touchdowns. He also caught a pass for a score. In hindsight, the time to trade him would have been after this run.
In the past three games, he has received just 29 carries for 83 yards and did not find the end zone once. This massive drop-off has even caused Sports Illustrated’s David Sabino to bring up a budding conspiracy theory that suggests the Chiefs are saving Charles for future seasons in which they actually have a shot at the playoffs.
In all likelihood, the frequency in which the Chiefs have had to play while facing double-digit deficits is a more reasonable explanation for his lack of carries, but this does not change the result. He is on a downward trend, and fantasy owners may have to ditch him before his value drops any further.
What You Should Get For Him
Despite his recent woes, Charles still has the 15th most fantasy points of any running back in ESPN leagues.
If you can get a player who has scored a similar amount of points like Reggie Bush or Michael Turner, this would be an excellent trade. Both of these players are on teams that will actually play with a lead at times this season, unlike the Chiefs, which should allow more opportunities for their running backs.
Those who are frustrated with Charles to the point of benching him would be wise to explore trades for injured running backs who may return in a few weeks like Maurice Jones-Drew or DeMarco Murray. Turning Charles, and possibly one other player, into one of these RBs would certainly boost a roster while heading into the playoffs.
Ultimately, trading Charles away is unlikely to bring back anything much better than a borderline starter or a risky player like Murray or Jones-Drew.