Mike James' Updated Fantasy Value After Week 9

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2013

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 03: Running back Mike James #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs with the ball during the first quarter of the game at CenturyLink Field on November 3, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

It's time for Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie running back Mike James to be owned in all fantasy leagues.

Last week in his first NFL start with Doug Martin out of the picture, James rushed 10 times for 39 yards and was targeted five times in the passing game against a tough Carolina defense. 

Owners surely did not start James in that scenario, and they likely did not in Week 9 against an elite Seattle defense on the road.

Their loss.

James rumbled for 158 yards on 28 carries with a 5.6 yards per carry average against the stellar front, and the rookie even added a touchdown pass to his productive fantasy day:

Of course, James only went 1-of-1 throwing the ball, so fantasy owners expecting consistent production there should steer clear (we're joking—sort of).

James is a flex option at best, but touches are a fantasy owner's best friend. Through two games, James has seen enough in that regard to warrant a start.

The extreme exception is a Week 13 date with the Carolina Panthers, but outside of that, the schedule the rest of the way is very kind to James as the Buccaneers face one team ranked in the top 14 against the run.

As long as James remains the starter for these opportunities, which is likely given the increased trust the coaching staff has already shown the rookie, he'll have mostly favorable matchups the rest of the way.

With Martin's status in doubt, James is now a must-own in all leagues. As much as it hurts to say his performance against Seattle is an anomaly—it probably is—he remains a matchup-based play only until he can prove consistent on a week-to-week basis.