The first time I really felt myself with regards to fantasy football was loudly zigging while everyone else was zagging on C.J. Anderson a few years ago. Hype and pro-rating out his game had the fantasy football community inexplicably putting the always-a-part-timer in their first rounds. This year, C.J. Anderson truthers again ignored that he will inevitably, until the heat death of the universe, end up splitting carries or getting hurt. I think Benjamin Franklin said something about death, taxes and C.J. Anderson. This week the Broncos take on the Kansas City Chiefs, but should you slot CJA into your fantasy football lineups?
First off, haters will tell you that C.J. Anderson is losing carries to both Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker. False. He did lose carries in one game to Charles against Buffalo They say a picture’s worth 1,000 words, so here are 2,000 words on the subject, looking at both times the Broncos played the Chargers this year:
As you can see, the mix to the left of CJA’s just-over-50% of carries gets messy, but Anderson’s chunk of it stays constant. This real core of the issue is the amount of offense varying, but mostly decreasing, weekly:
Note the run/pass split going in favor of pass, and the reduction of overall offense.
There’s one big issue about the pass offense increasing: Trevor Siemian sucks. He sucks really bad, and he’s getting to throw the ball more while the run offense part of that chart goes down, down, down. That drags down the total amount of offensive touches, as you can see above. That means that while C.J. Anderson isn’t necessarily ceding his percentage of carries, his overall carries are going down (that’s bad). It also means it’s harder for him to pass 100 yards rushing, a feat he’s done just once this season (that’s also bad).
This week he gets the Chiefs, who rank 20th in fantasy points to running backs per game, but they allow 0.7 fantasy points per touch. In fantasy terms, think of that as roughly seven yards per carry (it’s not, because of touchdowns, but work with me here). Mike Gillislee slapped the Chiefs across the face for three touchdowns week one built on total flukes and Le’Veon Bell had thirty-five touches for 191 yards. Let’s toss those out of the equation really quick as clear outliers. Their 0.7 goes down about 10%.
They had two massive blowout performances against them, but other than that, they’ve been even better than their ranking indicates. In fact, no running back has gotten double-digit fantasy points against them this year with fewer than fifteen touches. Since week one, only Lev Bell and his 35 touches passed 14 fantasy points against them.
Alright, had enough of the statistics and trends and blah blah blah? Here’s one from the gut: Jamaal Charles is out-touching C.J. Anderson this game. Call it instinct, call it game flow, call it narrative, call it insanity. Call it what you want, I don’t care. Charles will not only out-touch Anderson, he will outscore him. Why? The game is at Kansas City, and you know Vance Joseph is going to give Jamaal Charles every chance to show the Chiefs what they’re missing out on. Sit C.J. Anderson this week, it’ll be the Jamaal Charles show in the regressing Denver offense.