Aug 8, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) warms up prior to the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football 2014: Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Rundown

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Once the elite backs and the sure-fire RB1′s are off the board in you fantasy draft, many fantasy owners turn their attention to looking for one thing–potential. That word definitely describes the Bucs backfield since there are options that have shown flashes of fantasy brilliance although each also comes with some risk factors attached.

The Bucs new coach Lovie Smith is known for conservative playcalling and getting his running backs plenty of opportunities to be fantasy stars.  It was under Smith that Matt Forte rose to prominence in Chicago, and there should be the same kind of opportunities in Smith’s Bucs’ offense.

The questions going into the season is who will get the touches out of the backfield for Tampa, how much of a timeshare will there be, and can any one back carry the load for the season and stay healthy.

Here are my takes at the Bucs RB options, where they rank in my top 80, and a quick forecast on what I expect from them from a fantasy football perspective this season:

12

Doug Martin

RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In his rookie year, Martin was the go to back and was a fantasy star which caused him to be over-drafted last season often going in the first half of the first round.  He struggled under a second straight heavy workload and suffered a shoulder injury in week 7 which knocked him out for the season.  Martin is expected to be healthy to start the season, but the Bucs appear ready to try and limit his touches keeping him closer to 15 a game than the 20+ he averaged under Greg Schiano.  Even if Martin gets fewer touches, he still sets up to be teh primary workhorse in a run-first offense.  I think he’s more of a RB2 this year, but could represent value if drafters are scared away by last year’s struggles.  
70

Mike James

RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

James is probably the first up to share carries after the injury to rookie Charles Sims (see below).  James and Bobby Rainey are battling for the second spot on the depth chart, and whoever emerges will probably get about 10 touches a game. I’d lean towards James, but wouldn’t take either until the closing rounds of very deep leagues.  At some point, either James or Rainey will be worth waiver wire consideration but since there isn’t a clear frontrunner it makes it hard to invest even a late round pick in either.  
71

Bobby Rainey

RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rainey showed some promise last season including a huge 163-yard game against the Falcons with three total touchdowns.  He had another 100+ yard game later, and will be worth considering off the wire if he secures the #2 spot.  If you need RB depth, look to the winner of this backup battle who should be available on the wire as the season gets underway. 
NR

Charles Sims

RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sims was getting some buzz as a third-down receiving back, but he injured his ankle in practice and will now miss about 12-14 weeks.  He no longer carries any value in most formats and doesn’t need to be drafted. 

 

 

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Tags: 2014 Fantasy Football Bobby Rainey Doug Martin Fantasy Football Preview Fantasy Football RB Mike James RB Rankings Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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