Early last week, I wrote an article about the Tampa backfield after Mike James was lost for the season with a broken ankle following Monday night's win over the Dolphins in Week 11. Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey were bound to make an impact. What either would do against the Falcons was unknown, although I at least wrote that "I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rainey wind up getting the most out of his touches." I just didn't know he'd touch the ball 32 times, 30 of those touches coming from carries.
Rainey's performance against the Falcons makes him THE must-have waiver wire pickup of the week.
The Falcons Defense in terms of fantasy points given up to backfields isn't all that great. They give up a little over 20 points a game to date. That's not very good. So the Bucs had that going for them. Leonard got the start. Something that was pretty easy to predict. Greg Schiano had said this backfield would end up being a timeshare, which I said was a bit laughable. Anything Schiano says should go in one ear and out the other. We saw that prediction fall apart when Rainey racked up 163 rushing yards and 3 total scores. Compare this to Leonard's 8 total touches for the entire game and a timeshare this was not.
Rainey has good qualities going his way. He doesn't dance around in the pocket. As soon as he takes the ball he hits the hole hard, which is a big reason why he carries a 4.7 yards per carry average so far in 2013. He doesn't mess around in the backfield. He also has good vision. The biggest asset he has, however, is he can pass block. No he isn't the greatest, but he also isn't bad enough to take off the field. That's a must for a running back who wants to play all three downs.
You either picked up Leonard, Rainey or both in your leagues just to cover yourself. I wound up getting Rainey in one league, but didn't play him. I like to play it safe when it comes to new guys. I'd rather see what they can do instead of playing them over guys I know CAN do something. Rainey has a tougher matchup against the Lions this week, but it's hard to resist putting him in as a flex option. Leonard could be named the starter again, but that won't mean much. Rainey is too good to keep off the field. He certainly won't carry the ball 30 times again. At 5'8, 205, his body just isn't built for that many carries a game. 20 carries might even be a stretch, but Rainey's average yards per touch is all I care about. 80-90 total yards and a score is fine with me. Keep the score if he catches 4-5 passes. That makes Rainey PPR gold.