Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin is expected to miss about three weeks with a hamstring injury. As a result, the Buccaneers other running backs will have their chance to shine. In particular, pass catching back Charles Sims will likely see a nice increase in playing time because of Martin’s absence. But will that expanded role be enough to warrant a start this week for your Fantasy football team, as Sims and the Bucs will be playing host to the tough-minded Los Angeles Rams defense.
Over the first two weeks, Sims has not exactly lit the world on fire. In week one he ran for all of nine yards while hauling in three catches for 32 yards and a touchdown on the road against the Falcons. Week two say Sims run a bit more, reaching 24 yards on the ground thanks to a team-high in carries with nine. He added on three catches for a total of four yards against the Arizona Cardinals. But this week as I mentioned, he will not have Doug Martin taking any snaps, which will surely increase his workload.
In the first two weeks, the team ran the ball 28 and 21 times respectively. As the lead back in week one, Martin took 18 of those carries. Last week, which saw Sims on top of the rushing attempts list for the team, saw the introduction of another back, in the form of Jacquizz Rodgers, who only ran the ball two times, but for team-high 29 yards, thanks to a 24-yard carry.
So it will be interesting to see how the workload is divided up this week, especially if Rodgers looks good. Just because Martin is out, does not guarantee Sims will get those 18 carries Martin did in week one. If you drafted Sims, though, you likely did so more for his pass catching. This is where Sims excels the most.
While the Rams defense limited Carlos Hyde in the passing game week one, they did allow him to rush for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Week two saw the Seahawks backs get mixed results. Christine Michael had a solid day on the ground, running for 60 yards on only 10 attempts. Thomas Rawls, who got hurt, was not so lucky, as he had negative seven yards on seven carries. In the passing game, however, both men brought in three passes each, for a grand total of 41 yards.
Now let’s factor in the fact that the Rams will be traveling East this week. The Rams looked pretty tremendous on defense last week at home. But remember week one on the road, against the 49ers who are supposed to be terrible? That game ended 28-0, with Hyde, the opposing running back, being the star of the show. So now the Rams are once again on the road, and in a different time zone. It may not seem like a lot, but this game could tell us a lot about the Rams on the road.
They have plenty of defensive talent, but both weeks showed some cracks in their armor. And given Sims should be seeing the majority of snaps of Rodgers, he is going to at least find a way to bring in those receptions. I will temper my expectations on the ground, but if he can turn one or two of those dump passes into nice gains, and Sims could be a decent flex option this week. In total, I’m thinking about 45 rushing yards, four receptions for another 50 yards, and if one of those goes right, a touchdown.
So if you are in a PPR league, Sims are worth a shot in the flex this week. He is not an absolute must start, but he is certainly worthy of the consideration. Do not just bench him because it is the Rams defense? A two-way player like Sims is going to find a way to put up points on weeks when you may not expect it, with the odds increasing when he steps up to a more prominent role.