Should You Own Bobby Rainey or Charles Sims in Fantasy Football?
One of the major fantasy disappointments this season has unequivocally been Doug Martin. He's been awful behind a terrible offensive line while playing in an offensive scheme that lacks any sort of imagination. Any hope Martin and his owners had of a turnaround this year has been mired by poor performance and now another injury, this one to his ankle.
While Martin has struggled, Bobby Rainey has actually been solid given the state of the 2014 Buccaneers. For a moment, forget his depressing two-fumble performance against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3 that is still in the back of everyone's mind. Given the opportunity, and despite the whole offenses shortcomings, Rainey has played relatively well.
While Doug Martin’s future in Tampa is murky at best and the Bucs coaches are not committed to Bobby Rainey, the 24-year-old rookie from West Virginia, Charles Sims, steps near the forefront.
Now, what can we expect out of Rainey and Sims going forward? Is there any fantasy value left in either of these running backs or is the situation just too toxic for consistency?
Quick Review: Charles Sims’ Profile
Coming into the season, Charles Sims was expected to shoulder some of the workload on passing downs and possibly take some carries away from Doug Martin. Unfortunately, Sims was placed on IR designated to return back in mid-August after fracturing his ankle during practice. Now, he's now expected to see his first regular season action this week against the Falcons.
The fantasy community has been touting Charles Sims as a conditional “stash” option for a few weeks now, and for good reason. But, for those who may not be all that familiar with Sims as a prospect, I thought it may be a good idea to review Sims’ athletic profile before we judge the entirety of the situation.
The following is from PlayerProfiler.com. Some brief background: “Burst Score” indicates a player’s zero-inertia explosiveness (stop-and-start acceleration) and ability to catch the ball outside the body. “Athleticism Score” summarizes a player’s workout metrics and normalizes for size, in this case BMI. Percentiles are denoted in parenthesis.
|Name||Height||Weight||Age||40-yard||Vert Jump||Burst Score||Athleticism Score|
|Charles Sims||6'0"||214||24||4.48 (77th)||37 1/2 inches||126.8 (86th)||99.3 (43rd)|
Sims is obviously fast for his size and does well in short distances, but his Athleticism Score is bogged down by his poor Agility Score (11.46 score, 29th percentile). However, for relation, some have called Sims a “poor mans” DeMarco Murray and he drew a Matt Forte comparison in the preseason.
With Charles Sims’ profile in mind, how does he fit in to the Bucs' backfield? Should Bobby Rainey be getting more work regardless of Sims’ expected return?
As Rainey’s Net Expected Points (NEP) totals show, he has definitely been more efficient than his lackluster counterpart, Doug Martin.
|Name||Carries||Yards||YPC||TDs||Rush NEP||Per Rush||Success %|
Rainey has been a better asset in the passing game, too.
|Name||Rec.||Yards||TDs||Rec. NEP||Target NEP|
Now, both running backs haven’t been fantastic by any stretch of the imagination. But, as previously indicated, the Bucs have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. It’s always best to keep production relative - and in retrospect - Bobby Rainey has been the Buccaneers best running back this season.
With Martin out in Week 9, Bobby Rainey received 20 total touches against Cleveland. He carried the ball 19 times for 87 yards and caught one pass for 34-yard pass despite only seeing 4 measly carries in the second half. The Browns don’t have the best rush defense (15th in Adjusted Defensive Rush NEP) but, given opportunity and workload, Rainey produced again.
Any Hope for the Bucs' Backfield?
Is there seemingly a chance the entire Tampa Bay offense is just a fantasy value-sucking vortex this season? Possibly. But with Bobby Rainey actually giving Tampa signs of life in the running game, I think there are some signs for optimism.
Of course, Sims, the rookie, won’t come in and command 20 touches per game, but should be expected to be involved on passing downs and may provide the Bucs a much needed spark on offense. Moving forward, one should reasonably expect Bobby Rainey to be more involved while Doug Martin is probably going to be the odd running back out. Rainey and Sims will likely split work in some sort of two-headed fashion.
Right now, I think Rainey is more of the short-term add, but Sims clearly has a little more long-term upside, especially in PPR leagues if he’ll be the team's primary passing down back.
I wouldn’t hedge my bets that either one will be a fantasy starter come fantasy playoff time, but given the remaining bye weeks and just given the lack of any semblance of consistency after the top 18 or so backs, Rainey and Sims are both well worth an add in all leagues.