NFL Injuries

Ware Oh Ware Has My Running Back Gone?

Photographer: William Purnell/Icon

The Kansas City Chiefs began the season thinking almost certain Hall of Famer Jamaal Charles would take the majority of the snaps in their backfield. He was coming back from an injury, but he was looking and feeling good, and he was going to be able to return to his legendary effectiveness as one of the greatest running backs of this generation.

But he didn’t.

Because he couldn’t.

Jamaal Charles carried the ball 12 times for 40 yards. He also caught 2 passes for 14 yards. That was his 2016 season. His knee never quite healed correctly, and he needed a second surgery, so the Chiefs were forced to place him on Injured Reserve. They hope he will be able to return for Week 17 and the playoffs, but that seems like a longshot and is irrelevant for fantasy players.

In his place, Spencer Ware has emerged as one of the top fantasy options at running back. For the 2016 season, Ware has carried the ball 102 times for 511 yards (5.0 ypc) and caught 17 passes for 313 yards (18.4 ypr!). He has scored two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. In short: Spencer Ware has been playing like Jamaal Charles.

Much like Jamaal Charles, however, Spencer Ware also suffered an injury. Ware’s was quite different, though, as he suffered a concussion in Week 8. He had to leave that game early and was unable to be cleared for Week 9. He is practicing in advance of Week 10, but is still questionable to play. Charcandrick West started and led the backfield in Ware’s place, but he did absolutely nothing to inspire confidence in him. This is good news for Ware, who will almost certainly return to a featured role as soon as he’s healthy.

As of Thursday morning, Ware has officially passed the league’s concussion protocol and is a locked-in RB1 for Week 10 despite a tough matchup against the Carolina Panthers defense.

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