- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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TAMPA, Fla. -- If you’re looking for help at running back on your fantasy football team, Tampa Bay rookie Mike James suddenly has a lot of value.
A sixth-round draft pick out of Miami, James is going to be Tampa Bay’s main ball carrier while Doug Martin deals with a shoulder injury. It remains to be seen exactly how long Martin will be out for, but it’s a safe bet James will get the start Thursday night against Carolina.
That means James will get a lot of carries. Coach Greg Schiano takes pride in being a run-first team and that’s not going to change. That means you can probably expect at least 20 touches by James, who also has some receiving skills out of the backfield.
“I think he understands our running game,’’ Schiano said. “He sees what the vision is and he tries to execute the play, and then I think his natural abilities take over. As I talked about early on, when we drafted him, he’s got really good one-cut ability as far as when things flash in front of his face, whether it be in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage. He’s got some quick feet and can make that first guy miss, which keeps you out of negative plays, and he seems to fall forward, which is an important thing.’’
Veteran Brian Leonard also will factor in, probably as the third-down back. But James will be the main running back.
James might not be as good as Martin. But he likely will get somewhere close to the same number of touches as Martin usually does.
That’s going to translate into some fantasy points.