Update: Doug Martin is officially inactive. Feel free to start Bobby Rainey if you have him: he should put up some big numbers against a soft Falcons defense.
Update: Ian Rapoport reported that Doug Martin will be out today, which means you can bench him and comfortably start Bobby Rainey.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a genuine running back controversy. Again. Doug Martin was bad in week one, though part of that was due to the offensive line, and he missed week two with a knee injury. And then Bobby Rainey got a chance to take over, and he immediately put up 144 yards on 22 carries -- a pretty impressive performance.
Of course, that performance came against the St. Louis Rams defense while Martin had to face that Carolina Panthers defense. That's a massive difference, but there's no denying that Rainey was more productive in that one game than Martin has been since his rookie season.
The Muscle Hamster appears to be healthy for tonight's game, which gives the Bucs and fantasy football owners a like a new conundrum: should they start Doug Martin? They've been publicly supportive of him as their starting running back,
In fantasy, I'd stay away from Doug Martin tonight. Not only is he questionable and recovering from a knee injury, but the Bucs like Bobby Rainey and they have reason to take some touches away from the Muscle Hamster even if he's fully healthy. Rainey played well and has certainly earned an extended look. He may be a little more explosive than Doug Martin, and displayed fewer deficiencies as a pass blocker (though he still had some).
And yet, I wouldn't trust Bobby Rainey either. Yes, he played well last week -- against a pretty poor run defense. Yes, he had two productive games last season -- against the Falcons and Bills, while being largely useless in the five other games he started. Rainey's an okay player who looked good last week, but it's hard to trust him week in, week out on an undetermined workload.
Of course, if Doug Martin isn't playing, you can safely start Rainey. He'll get the vast majority of the touches against a a weak run defense.
So: stay away from Doug Martin this week. And stay away from Bobby Rainey, too -- unless Doug Martin is out. Keep an eye on the inactives list -- we'll have that for you as soon it's out!
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