Holdouts and Fantasy Football go together like sweet-smelling roses and monster trucks -- they don't.
Jamaal Charles is reportedly planning to hold out of training camp until he lands a contract in line with what his numbers have been. While it's certainly understandable that Charles wants to be paid more than guys he's outperformed like Reggie Bush and Ray Rice, it's frustrating that he didn't make his intentions known long before camp. Had he, the Chiefs might have offered him a new deal to his liking and we wouldn't be in this mess.
Here's why it's a problem: Though I don't have the exact research to back this up right now, the majority of players who hold out of training camp tend to struggle in the ensuing season. Guys like Chris Johnson, Steven Jackson, Vincent Jackson and even Larry Johnson with the Chiefs held out of camp (and much of the season in Jackson's case) and then returned only to produce weaker-than-expected stats. Emmitt Smith is pretty much the only player who held out and then played to expectations.
Bottom line: Players need their time to get ready for the season, and when they don't have it they'll be unprepared and it could lead to injury or shoddy play. That's the concern with Charles at this point.
So how much time does Charles realistically need to get his body and mind aligned and in game mode? Only he could tell you, but we'd guess he'd need a month before Week 1. That would mean him reporting by Aug. 7, the day of the team's first preseason game against the Bengals. If he's not back by a few days after that game -- call it Aug. 10 -- we'll start to get nervous about his chances to repeat as an elite Fantasy running back.
In the interim, anyone who takes Charles with a top pick has to make room on the roster for his backup, Knile Davis. If Charles takes his holdout seriously, this speedster has a real chance to be a difference maker in Fantasy. Davis suddenly shapes up as a Round 10 option rather than the 12th-round price tag I gave him in my recent running back tiers & strategies story.