Brian Leonard vs. Mike James: Fantasy Value After Doug Martin's Injury

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIOctober 20, 2013

Oct 13, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Mike James (25) runs with the ball as Philadelphia Eagles free safety Earl Wolff (28) and inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans (59) tackle during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-20. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin left his team's Week 7 contest against the Atlanta Falcons with an apparent shoulder injury. Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that the "Muscle Hamster" is questionable to return.

Reserve Mike James has received carries following Martin's injury, though both he and Brian Leonard would likely be in line for carries should Martin miss any significant amount of time. Owners of Martin should look to pick up James immediately while keeping an eye on the future production of Leonard.

Even those who don't own Martin should look to pick up James. It's always smart to own the featured back for a team—even if that running back isn't the most dynamic.

By the end of the third quarter, James had already carried the ball 10 times for 24 yards. While the 2.4 yards-per-carry average isn't great, the 10 touches are encouraging. He also had one catch for eight yards.

James should have the bigger impact in the immediate future. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL draft by the Bucs, but his rookie season has yet to show any signs of production. Prior to Sunday's action, he had touched the ball just four times (three carries and one reception) for a grand total of 14 yards from scrimmage.   

That being said, he has the tools to be successful. More importantly, he could now have the opportunity.

He has the potential to make an impact for fantasy owners right away given how many carries he'll receive in Martin's absence. Monitor the situation closely moving forward, but for now, James is the superior option while Leonard is watch-list worthy.