Early on reports about the injury to Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin were confusing. While early X-rays were negative, but an MRI today revealed that Martin has a torn labrum. Even if Martin opted for surgery immediately the recovery and rehab time will most likely end his season for fantasy purposes.
When Martin went down this opened the door for rookie running back Mike James to step in and contribute 45 yards on 14 carries. This brought James’ total for the season to 17 rushes for 57 yards and no touchdowns.
So is Mike James worth spending your first waiver wire pick on?
James was the Buccaneers sixth round choice in the 2013 NFL Draft out of the University of Miami. At 5-foot-10 223 pounds he’s got the size to run between the tackles. He put up a 4.5 time in the 40-yard dash, giving him enough speed to be a capable runner at the NFL level, but he’s rarely going to sweep to the outside and streak one to the house.
James has little competition from the fellow backfield mates Brian Leonard and Jeff Demps. Considering the Buccaneers are 0-6 they have little to lose by handing the reigns of the running game over to James to see what he and rookie Mike Glennon can do to try to resurrect the season.
It’s deep enough in the fantasy season that the free agent talent pool has been picked pretty clean. If you’re a Doug Martin owner who just had the floor drop out or for some other reason you’re a desperate for a low to mid-range No. 3 back, I’d put in for him. At the end of the day James is still a back with a shot at a solo job for many weeks to come. That in and of itself is a rare thing in today’s NFL.
Eric Beuning is a Fantasy Football writer for RantSports.com.