Fantasy Football Dark Horse Sleeper: Brian Leonard

By Bill Pivetz

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers can’t seem to catch a break. Josh Freeman struggled in the first couple of games, which prompted the team to release him and start Mike Glennon. Then, franchise running back Doug Martin hurt his shoulder and is now out for the year. They thought they’d found a nice replacement in Mike James, but that didn’t last long.

On the first drive of Monday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, James fractured his ankle. He looked good with 41 rushing yards on just five carries and was well on his way to another 100-yard game. It was later reported that James will be out for the rest of the season as well.

Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey took turns in the backfield. Without the Bucs adding a player from free agency, Leonard and Rainey will man the backfield for the time being. Of the two, Rainey was the more explosive back with eight carries for 45 yards. He also scored from one yard out. Leonard had 20 carries for 57 yards, but he had two catches for 16 yards.

Neither is an exciting pickup for fantasy owners, and are flex options at best. However, Leonard is a little more attractive in PPR leagues. As the next name on the depth chart, this is Leonard’s job. How much time is split between the two is to be determined, but keep in mind that Rainey’s been released from two teams already this year.

With the Atlanta Falcons’21st-ranked defense against the run coming to Tampa, Leonard is a good option in deep leagues. The offensive line troubles that plagued Martin and this team earlier seemed to have disappeared when James entered the scene. Fantasy owners are hoping that the trend continues for Leonard.

Bill Pivetz is a fantasy football writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Piv1127.

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