In fantasy football, volume equals value.
We've seen it time and time again—players who are less talented or don't have LeSean McCoy ankle-breaking skill sets are able to thrive in the fake game because they are in the right situation.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie running back Mike James hasn't yet got a chance to show off his skill set, but it doesn't matter. With Doug Martin officially out on Thursday night, and Brian Leonard and his career 3.7 YPC serving as the backup, James is in line for a heavy workload.
For that reason alone, you can feel safe about inserting him into your lineup.
James isn't the most explosive guy in the world. The 5'10", 223-pounder averaged just 4.4 yards per carry in four years at Miami and is at an unexciting 3.4 so far with the Bucs.
Moreover, Tampa Bay's opponent on Thursday night, the Carolina Panthers, have given up just 3.7 yards per carry (eighth in the NFL), 84.5 rushing yards per game (fourth) and two rushing touchdowns (second).
The addition of rookie Star Lotulelei at defensive tackle has seriously beefed up the Panthers D-line, while second-year stud Luke Kuechly is the league's fourth-ranked middle (or inside) linebacker against the run, per Pro Football Focus.
How many total yards will Mike James finish with on Thursday?
A rookie running back in his first-ever start on a short week behind an offensive line that has struggled against a stout run defense.
So, uh, yeah. It's not exactly an ideal play.
But, again, none of that is what matters. The volume is key here. In addition to excelling at making his players hate him, Greg Schiano excels at establishing the run. Doug Martin—even when the team was playing from behind and efficiency on the ground was scarce—averaged 23.2 carries per contest in the first five weeks of the season.
With rookie Mike Glennon still getting comfortable under center, James should be in line for somewhere in the range of 20 carries on Thursday.
Even in a bad matchup, he can turn that into 60 or 70 yards.
Moreover, he's strong—he'll get any goal-line carries—and he is a proficient pass-catcher out of the backfield—he caught 67 passes at Miami and will provide an extra boost in PPR leagues.
Scouts have compared Mike James to BenJarvus based on tenacity between tackles. However, much more versatile. Will be 18-20 tch RB ROS.— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) October 21, 2013
Plus, you know, there's always the added bonus of your opponent seeing your lineup and asking, "who?" And you responding with "Mike James!"
(You're probably better off if you didn't get that reference.)
If you get frustrated easily—read: If you get the urge to throw your TV through the window when one of your players struggles—you might not want to watch the game. It won't be pretty.
But at the end of the night, James will put up RB2 numbers.