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Jamaal Charles' fantasy football value will ride high with heavy usage, for now

Chris Graythen - Getty Images

Jamaal Charles had 39 touches in week 3, and you can expect similar games to continue. We break down the fantasy implications.

Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles had 39 touches in week 3, a number of touches that no player has had more than since 2004, and it appears that's something that could continue this season according to head coach Romeo Crennel. Charles is the NFL's leading rusher this season with 323 yards and his 5.9 yards per carry is right in line with his 6.0 YPC career average, giving owners no concern over his missed 2011 season with injury. With Peyton Hillis injured this week, Charles could easily surpass 30 touches again and could be considered the top back in fantasy football.

Fantasy Take: You could argue that the Chiefs should take it easy with Charles and protect him for the long-term future, and that this strategy is selfish by Crennel and Bill Pioli. However, Charles was heavily protected in 2009 and 2010, then got hurt after 12 carries in 2011. Injuries happen whether you get one carry or one hundred, and for now fantasy owners should ride Charles just like the team is doing. I do think that a name you should consider a must-handcuff to Charles, is Shaun Draughn. He has 107 yards on 18 carries this year, and could be the go-to back if Charles did get hurt again.

For more fantasy info, check out the SB Nation Fantasy War Room 4-8:30 pm ET Monday through Friday and 8am to 1pm on Sunday. Check out SB Nation's own Fantasy Football game, Pick 6!

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