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Fantasy Football - Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Battle

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to score just 7 rushing touchdowns in 2014.  Josh McCown, their QB, scored 3 of them.  Doug Martin scored in Weeks 4 and 13, Bobby Rainey scored in Week 5 and Charles Sims scored in Week 17.  That's it.  Bobby Rainey was the only Bucs RB to rush for 100 yards (144, Week 2) before Doug Martin (108) joined the club in Week 17.  Rainey's Week 2 was the only time a Tampa Bay running back saw 20+ carries.  Even in the passing game, Rainey was the only RB to either catch 5+ passes and/or gain 50+ yards in a game and/or catch a touchdown. 

With all this talk about Rainey, why are we so focused on Sims?  Well for starters, HC Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht drafted Sims and inherited Martin/Rainey.  Sims averaged less than 3 yards per carry in his rookie season, but did catch 19 of his 27 targets for 190 yards.  With a rookie QB in Jameis Winston, having a RB who can catch the ball out of the backfield will be vital to their success.  Also, with solid receivers out wide in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, teams will have to prepare for the aerial attack, and either stack the box and force Winston to beat them, or protect the big play and open up some running lanes.

We Ranked Sims 33rd in our Fantasy Football RB Rankings

Martin is just two seasons removed from an 12 TD rookie campaign.  He finished just shy of 2,000 yards from scrimmage with 1454 rushing yards on 319 attempts and 472 receiving yards on 49 receptions (79 targets).  However, after a shoulder injury in his sophomore season limited him to just 6 games and a dud last year in 11 games, Martin has lost all his hype, despite being a 1st round draft pick. 

We Ranked Martin 36th in our Fantasy Football RB Rankings

Lovie Smith has always liked to used multiple RBs as a Head Coach, dating back to his days with the Chicago Bears.  Duos like Thomas Jones/Anthony Thomas, Jones/Cedric Benson, Benson/Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte/Chester Taylor, Forte/Marion Barber and Forte/Michael Bush.  Doug Martin may start the preseason as the starting RB on the team depth chart, but Sims is Lovie's guy.  Both running backs will be better served as weak flex options and BYE week filler, but Sims has the upside to become a low end RB2.

For all their struggles last year, PFF ranked Tampa's Run Blocking 10th in the NFL. 

That's where OC Dirk Koetter comes in.  This is the guy that created the fantasy monster MJD with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He spent the past 3 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, who were built to throw the football around.  The Bucs have elite weapons at WR, but in order for them to win with a rookie QB, they will have to establish the run game and use their backs in the pass attack.

As a group, Dirk Koetter's backfields have averaged 28.7 touches per game, which would have ranked 11th among all teams in 2014. And those touches have yielded 25.2 PPR FP/G, a mark that also would have ranked 11th last season. Koetter hasn't been shy about using his backs in the passing game, either. The 5.4 reception per game average among all backs in a Koetter-led offense would have been the 10th most catches by team running backs last year. -

Average Draft Position

Fantasy Football Tampa Bay Bucs RB ADP

I wouldn't even think about using a 7th round pick on Doug Martin, but I would absolutely spend an 11th round pick on Charles Sims.  FantasyPros experts prefer Martin (35th RB, 90rd overall) to Sims (42nd, 113th), but they rank them just 7 RBs apart. 

In order to draft Martin, over Sims, you would have to pass on nonRBs like Victor Cruz, Ryan Tannehill, Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon LaFell, Steve Smith, Charles Johnson Philip Rivers, Torrey Smith, Eric Decker, Owen Daniels, Breshad Perriman, Marques Colston, Anquan Boldin and Dwayne Allen

Sims is the safer option when it comes to fantasy football drafts.  Should Martin be skipped in favor of Chris Ivory, Tre Mason, Shane Vereen, Ryan Mathews, Devonta Freeman and Bishop Sankey and Duke Johnson, then yes you should feel comfortable drafting Martin. 
CBS owners love Sims the most, using the 89th overall pick to draft him while the FFC shows Martin the love with a 70th overall ADP.  Yahoo owners trust Martin the least at 116th, well actually they hate the Bucs backfield.  Sims is staying on draft boards until pick 189!

Sims was selected with the 2nd pick of the 9th round in our CBS ADP Mock Draft. Martin was selected 5 picks later.

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