Charcandrick West vs. Knile Davis: Who to Own as the Chiefs RB

Fantasy Football

The Kansas City Chiefs have prided themselves on being a run first team for quite awhile. Between Jamaal Charles’ breakout in 2009 to last year’s “No WR catching a touchdown,” statistics, Kansas City has won games on the ground and with short passes. When Alex Smith was acquired in 2013, the now Andy Reid run Chiefs set themselves on the path of running, game managing, and defense to win. This past week, Jamaal Charles went down with a torn ACL in his right knee. The death bells are ringing for the Chiefs as they try to replace him and not radically change their offense or gameplan. For fantasy purposes, there could be a big payoff to finding the Chiefs next RB, but the direction isn’t clear. During fantasy drafts, it seemed Knile Davis (the Chiefs 3rd round pick in 2013,) was the logical Charles handcuff. But, the preseason saw undrafted 2nd year back Charcandrick West emerge as a viable runner and muddy the waters of who will put up those big fantasy points.

Charcandrick West was recruited as a RB out of high school and went to Louisiana Tech despite being recruited by Arkansas. LA Tech moved him to CB, but he ultimately would transfer to Abilene Christian to play the RB position. He had a solid senior year, but West did not put up eye-popping stats or flash on the field to get drafted. The Chiefs signed him to the practice squad for a year. This season, West got the call to the main roster after a tremendous preseason. West ran for nearly 5 yards a carry during the preseason and showed some electric outside moves (reminiscent of a young Jamaal Charles). West earned his way onto the team and was earning more snaps than Knile Davis while Jamaal Charles was the starter.

Knile Davis has looked like the heir apparent to Jamaal Charles though he has a very different running style. He has averaged 3.5 yards per carry over his career and has had 11 career touchdowns coming into the season. Davis has played second fiddle to West as Jamaal Charles back-up, but his natural talent is obvious. He has a great size and speed combination at 227 pounds and has more experience than West. Though Davis has that talent and production, he hasn’t shown he can be the man and carry a whole load.

Ultimately, it is likely to be a split, but Charcandrick West seems to be the preferred back by the Chiefs coaching staff. First, West fits the offense and how the offense has operated more than Knile Davis. West has a running style similar to Jamaal Charles and is the better receiver which is very much required in Reid’s system. Second, West has played more snaps than Davis this season at 13% of the Chiefs RB snaps vs. Davis’ 8.9% through the first five weeks. This includes last week where West played 31% of the Chiefs offensive snaps vs. Davis’ 7 %. That huge difference makes West the main target, though he could get pulled at the goal line and in scoring situations.

Ultimately, it is a situation that COULD be fruitful, but probably will leave you frustrated and disappointed. West may get carries and catches but no TDs while Knile Davis’ work will be heavily inconsistent. A good strategy if you have one of the Chiefs RBs on your roster if to trade them for another RB who is underperforming (David Johnson, Matt Jones, and Ameer Abdullah come to mind,) or for another position of need while the hype is high. If you want to roster one, West is my ultimately suggestion, especially in PPR leagues.


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