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Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, and a Rigorous Accounting of the Kansas City Offense

jamaalcharles

In the course of writing about Chip Kelly’s potential influence on the Philadelphia offense, I built up some data about Reid’s offensive tendencies. I put some of that to use in this article about Alex Smith’s prospects under Reid. This article will look at the potential impact Reid could have on Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles.

Throughout, I’ll be looking at a four year window (2009-2012) for stats and projections, and assuming a PPR fantasy scoring format. I’ll also round my calculations down, to keep the projections on the conservative side. I’ll spare you an in depth analysis of the Kansas City offense during this time frame (it stunk on ice). But while Philly’s offense wasn’t great last year either, in general Andy Reid’s teams perform quite well. A quick snapshot: here’s how the Chiefs and Eagles ranked in yards over the past four seasons.

Team

2009

2010

2011

2012

Eagles

5

3

8

29

Chiefs

23

14

21

22

 

So right off the bat, there’s reason for optimism. Let’s dig deeper. This table compares the Chiefs’ and Eagles’ average seasonal tendencies.

Ave/Year

Rush Att

Pass Att

Run %

Pass %

Total Plays

Chiefs

495.25

496.5

0.50

0.50

1029.5

Eagles

418.75

571.5

.43

.57

1032

 

As expected, the Eagles passed a lot more than the Chiefs. Since Andy Reid’s Offensive Coordinator in Kansas City was one of his offensive coaches in Philadelphia, I’ll assume that the Chief’s offense in 2013 will resemble the Eagles offense in terms of number and distribution of plays. Let’s see what that looks like for the Chiefs’ skill players.

Dwayne Bowe

Here’s how passes were distributed amongst the Eagles’ top three receivers under Reid. Note that “receiver” doesn’t necessarily mean “wide receiver”. It could be a RB or TE as well.

Eagles Receiver 1

Eagles Receiver 2

Eagles Receiver 3

21%

18%

16%

Assuming the Chiefs will attempt 571 passes, and Alex Smith will complete them at a 60% rate (as he’s done the past four seasons), I get a total of 342 completed passes. If they’re distributed as they were in Philly, it looks like this.

Receiver 1

Receiver 2

Receiver 3

72 receptions

62 receptions

55 receptions

I think it’s safe to assume that Dwayne Bowe will be the Chief’s primary receiver. Over the past four years he’s averaged 22.8% of all Chiefs receptions. That’s a bit above the Eagles’ top receiver’s rate. I could argue that Bowe will outperform the projected percentage (he is a bigger, more prototypical WR1 than Jeremy Maclin or DeSean Jackson, the Eagles leading receivers over the past 4 years). But I’ll stick with the formula and plug Dwayne Bowe in for 72 receptions. Over the past 4 years Bowe has averaged 14.33 yards/reception, while the Eagles leading receiver has averaged 14.53 yards/reception. I’ll use the average to project Bowe at 14.44 yards/reception this year. Over the same time frame, Bowe’s TD/reception rate is 0.104 and the Eagles’ top receiver averaged 0.117. Split the difference and say Bowe’s TD/reception rate this year will be 0.111. Plug it all in the calculator and Bowe’s projection looks like this.

Player

Receptions

Yards

TDs

FP (PPR)

FP/G

D. Bowe

72

1040

8

224

14

If you plug those numbers into our WR Cheat Sheet App, it makes Bowe the number eleven WR in PPR formats. Very good, and as the 16th drafted WR this year, it offers a bit of upside: if he does garner his career average 22.8% of team receptions, he’d end up with 77 receptions for 1125 yards and 8 TDs. That works out to 237 fantasy points, almost a point/game more than my conservative estimate. Either way, this projection meshes with the work Davis Mattek did in his wonderfully titled piece on Dwayne Bowe. He projected a mid-to-high range of about 12-17 PPR fantasy points/game for Bowe. My projection here (14-15 points/game) fits nicely within his projection.

 Other Chiefs’ Receivers

I don’t know who the Chiefs’ 2nd leading receiver will be, but just for fun, I plugged the expected number of receptions, along with their averaged career yards/reception and TD/reception into this table to see what value might be had if one of these players becomes the Chiefs 2nd leading receiver. Over the past 4 seasons, the Chief’s second leading receivers have been Steve Breaston, Dexter McCluster, Tony Moeaki, and Jamaal Charles. Their receiving totals are averaged in the bottom row of this table. Whoever becomes the Chiefs second-leading receiver this year should be a lot more productive than in previous years.

Player

If 2nd leading receiver

Fantasy Points

2012 Rank

Jonathan Baldwin

62 rec, 883 yards, 4 TD

174.3

WR32

Donnie Avery

62 rec, 843 yards, 5 TD

176.3

WR32

Tony Moeaki

62 rec, 837 yards, 4 TD

169.7

TE8

Anthony Fasano

62 rec, 806 yards, 6 TD

178.6

TE8

Average Projection

62 rec, 842 yards, 4.75 TD

174.7

—-

09-12 Chiefs’ Average Receiver 2

50 rec, 522 yards, 2 TD

114.3

—-

Jamaal Charles, Projection the First

As I said, I’m not sure who the Chiefs’ second or third-leading receivers will be this year, but there’s a really good chance that one of them is Jamaal Charles. He’s a similar player to LeSean McCoy, and McCoy finished as the Eagles’ 5th (twice), 1st, and 3rd leading receiver over the past four seasons. I’ll take the projection for the Chief’s second and third leading receivers and split the difference and credit Jamaal Charles with 58 receptions for 2013. Over the past four seasons, McCoy averaged 7.2 yards/reception and Charles averaged 8.1. Split the difference and say Charles will average 7.65 yards/reception. McCoy’s TD/reception rate is .036; Charles’ is .056. Splitting the difference yields .046. Plug it all in and here’s the receiving only projection for Jamaal Charles.

Player

Receptions

Yards

TDs

FP

FP/G

J. Charles

58

443

2

114.3

7.1

That’s a solid projection. Now to project Charles’ rushing stats for 2013. Under Andy Reid, the Eagles leading RB (i.e. LeSean McCoy) got 60.6% of the team’s non-QB rushing attempts. In his last three healthy seasons, Charles received only 51.6% of the Chiefs rushing attempts. We’ll split the difference to be conservative, and give Charles 56.1% of the Chief’s 2013 rushing attempts. From the top of this article, you can see that I’m projecting 418 or so rushing attempts for the Chiefs this year. Figure 30 for Alex Smith (his career average rushing attempts/season) and 388 are available for RBs. At 56.1%, Charles gets 218 carries. Excluding 2011 Charles has averaged 257 attempts/season, so that’s a big drop off. But as you’ll see, that turns out to be okay. Averaging Charles’ (5.8) and McCoy’s (4.6) yards/attempt yields 5.2, and their average TD/attempt rate is .029. With those inputs, here’s his rushing projection.

Player

Attempts

Yards

TDs

FP

FP/G

J. Charles

218

1133

6

149.3

9.33

 

Here’s Charles’ combined rushing and receiving projection.

Player

Receptions

Rec Yds

Rush Yds

TDs

FP (PPR)

FP/G

J. Charles

58

443

1133

8

263.6

16.48

 

That’s over 2 points/game more than our RB Sim App projects, and would have placed Charles 6th overall in 2012 PPR leagues.

Jamaal Charles, Part Deux

But here’s something else to consider. (H/T to @fantasydouche for pointing this out on twitter). If Charles gets 218 rushing attempts and 58 receptions, that’s a total of 276 touches. Here’s how that usage would look compared to the previous healthy years of Charles’ career.

Season

Total Touches

2008

94

2009

230

2010

275

2012

320

Average

229.75

2013 Projection

276

We can see that 276 touches would be the second most of Charles’ career. It averages out to 17.25 touches/game. Historically, Charles has averaged 14.4 touches/game for 12.97 fantasy points/game, but when getting 17 or more touches/game, he averages 20.62 fantasy points/game. Whoa.

How likely is it that Charles will really average 17+ touches/game? In Reid’s offense, McCoy has averaged 18.2 touches/game over the past four years. And Shady’s touches/game (standard deviation 6.4) have been more consistent than Charles’ (standard deviation 8.6). We should have no doubt about Reid’s desire to use a back like Charles often, and consistently. Keeping Charles’ projection at 17 touches/game (less than the 18.2 McCoy received) puts him on a pace for almost 330 fantasy points, or within a point/game of Adrian Peterson’s 2012 season. If he gets the 18+ touches/game that Reid is accustomed to giving McCoy? Watch out.

So now I’ve got two projections for Charles: one based on rushes and receptions and their corresponding yards and TDs per, and one based on points/touch and average touches/game. I’d consider these projections to form the upper and lower bounds of his likely production. Then we can average them for a mid-level projection as well.

Jamaal Charles

Projected Fantasy Points/Game

Projected FP/Season

2012 Rank

Low

16.48

263.6

6th

Med

18.55

296.8

4th

High

20.62

329.92

2nd

 

As with my projection for Dwayne Bowe, this projection for Jamaal Charles meshes with some earlier Rotoviz work, namely this great piece by Jacob Myers, where he projected a range of 16.97 to 21.27 fantasy points/game for Charles. I always find it reassuring when projections created using slightly different methodologies produce similar results; hopefully you do too.

What Does it All Mean?

Everything presented in this article meshes with my earlier piece on Alex Smith. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to assume that the offense Reid plans to run in Kansas City will be similar to the one he ran in Philadelphia. Simply applying those usage rates and average production rates for the KC/Philly players produces an eye popping projection for Jamaal Charles. It also seems fair to predict that Bowe should be a very solid WR2 with a shot at low-end WR1 production. Alex Smith just needs to complete passes at his four year average rate in order to bring this to fruition, and in turn benefit himself. Smith remains a strong fantasy sleeper. And in deeper PPR leagues, whomever emerges as the Chiefs 2nd or 3rd leading receiver should also have some value, either as a WR3 or even a TE1.

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