The news of Jamaal Charles holding out is troubling because I fully support him as the No. 1 overall player in all leagues. He's the top running back coming into the season, but the longer he's out the worse it will be.
Prior to the holdout, some Fantasy owners were concerned about Charles losing three offensive linemen from last year with Branden Albert, Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah leaving as free agents. But coach Andy Reid has a strong track record with running backs, and Charles is an elite talent who can do it all as a running back and receiver out of the backfield.
He was the No. 1 running back last year with 259 carries for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns and 70 catches for 693 yards and seven touchdowns. The rushing touchdowns, catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns were all career highs.
Reid, going back to his days with the Eagles, now has coached a running back to seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons, eight 1,500-total yard seasons, 10 seasons with at least 50 catches and six seasons with at least 10 total touchdowns. Charles, hopefully, will make those numbers rise in 2014.
But the longer Charles is out during training camp, the less likely it is he'll stay at No. 1 in my rankings. I'd have no hesitation moving LeSean McCoy up to the top spot.
McCoy was a step behind Charles last year as the No. 2 Fantasy running back when he led the NFL in rushing with 314 carries for 1,607 yards and nine touchdowns and 52 catches for 539 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the NFL in carries, and he should again be around 300-plus carries in Chip Kelly's offense.
Sure, McCoy will lose catches with the addition of Darren Sproles, but McCoy still has has at least 52 catches in three of the past four years, with 500-plus receiving yards in two of those campaigns. He's a candidate for 2,000 total yards, and he's No. 2 behind Charles right now coming into the season.
Some Fantasy owners might argue Matt Forte or Adrian Peterson should be No. 1 if Charles is out, but it's only McCoy for me. Now, if Charles is a holdout and McCoy were to get injured ... let's just hope all is well with the top two picks.