There has been plenty of speculation this offseason as to whether or not Jamaal Charles will be a legitimate No. 1 fantasy back this year with Thomas Jones in the lineup. Thomas Jones has had back-to-back 1,300 yard seasons, while Charles was perhaps the strongest running back in the final half of the 2009 season.
In the final eight games of last season, Charles ran for 968 yards and scored seven touchdowns. Not to mention that he has become one of the NFL's top big-play threats. I strongly believe that Jamaal will start this year right where he left off, and that TJ will be nothing but a shadow slowly creeping along but never catching up.
Charles is by far the more skilled running back in Kansas City. Thomas Jones is good for pounding the ball, and that's about it. Jones' rumble and tumble style of play isn't well suited for this Kansas City offense.
Without a strong passing game, KC will need to look for big plays on the ground, and only Chris Johnson may be better than Jamaal Charles at this. And with Matt Cassel's below-average arm, he is going to look for his safety option quite a bit. This is another upside to Charles. He can catch and run out of the backfield. Sure, Thomas Jones has decent hands, but he doesn't have the speed to outrun linebackers.
This preseason, Charles is averaging a very solid 6.9 yards per carry, while Jones is averaging only 3.1. Charles is also averaging 8.1 yards per catch, with Jones only averaging 3.6. Even with less playing time, Charles has proved that he wants it more, and that he is simply the better back.
No one can truly be sure how this Kansas City offense will shape up until the regular season begins. A time-share between the two backs certainly wouldn't make sense to me when you have one back who is so much more skilled and better suited for your offense.
In my opinion, if Kansas City ever wants to be a real threat to anyone they will need to put their offense on the shoulders of Jamaal Charles. If they do this Charles will without a doubt finish as a top-10 fantasy back with huge upside for the future.