The C4C crystal ball has established a pretty good track record over the past few weeks. It gave us the successful predictions of Tom Brady’s immediate resurgence, Tim Wright’s breakout, Storm Johnson’s relevance, and Zach Mettenberger’s timetable for being named the starter. We’ve reached a point in the season where unless there’s a significant injury, crystal ball predictions are hard to come by because teams have long settled into their personnel decisions and depth charts. With Buffalo’s injuries to both CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson, the obvious hot adds this week are Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon… but if you missed the boat, I’ve looked deep into the crystal ball to pull out a consolation prize who could potentially become extremely useful. Enter: Rookie Charles Sims of the Buccaneers. The Bucs are a mess right now. Heading into this season, many thought they were in for a turnaround season, but some ugly early season losses and a difficult pre-bye schedule has them spiraling out of control. They made the mistake of going after Josh McCown when they already had a better option on their roster in Mike Glennon. They’ve also stayed committed to Doug Martin as their running back even though he’s proven himself ineffective. He rushed for a paltry 3.6 yards per carry last year, and that number is down to a ridiculously horrible 2.9 this year. Making matters worse, they’ve been playing from behind often and he’s severely lacking as a pass protector. Bobby Rainey has shown flashes, but he’s clearly not an every down, every week back. If Rainey is available, he’s worth a roster spot in the short term because he’s clearly their best running option at the moment, but the smart money speculative add is Charles Sims. Sims’ 6’0 215 pound frame is more prototypical than the 5’9 Martin or 5’8 Rainey, and his excellent pass catching skills prompted the Bucs to draft him 69th overall. However, Sims isn’t just a pass catching back. In his 4 college years between Houston and West Virgina, he averaged a robust 5.9 yards per carry. He’s a guy whose rushing yardage totals won’t initially blow you away, especially if the Bucs continue to mix in Rainey and Martin behind that suspect offensive line, but he’s a versatile back capable of racking up combined yards from scrimmage between his rushing touches and receptions out of the backfield. Let’s take a look at his impressive college resume:
His yardage totals in rushing or receiving don’t jump off the screen at you, but when you combine it into total yardage, his seasons average out to 12 games, 1400 total yards, and 13 TDs. That’s almost 120 yards from scrimmage per game between his rushing and receiving yards. He also has a couple 200 yard rushing games to his credit. Suddenly he has your attention, huh? Well, before you rush right out to pick him up before finishing this article, keep in mind that he comes with a couple caveats:
Caveat #1: He’s coming off a pretty significant injury. He tore a ligament in his ankle and has been on the IR with a designation to return. Ligaments are tricky. They make you think they’re strong and healthy again, and then one mild wrong twist and suddenly they’re giving out like a wet noodle. So he’s not only a re-injury risk, but the Bucs may ease him into action slowly until he can prove the ankle will hold up for him.
Caveat #2: He hasn’t even practiced yet. He’s targeting next week to return to the week 9 practice field, so he may not even be ready for game action until week 10 or 11. (See *Edit at end of article)
So basically, you’ve got yourself a guy who might not even see the field for 2 to 3 more weeks, and who also may be eased in slowly when he does. However, with his intriguing versatility, if you have an extra roster spot and you’re willing to make a speculative add… you may find yourself with a very useful running back down the stretch and during the playoffs. By the time he hits the field, the Bucs will be so far into the toilet that they’ll have no reason not to see what they have in him. If he can prove his ankle is healthy, he could very well take the reigns and never look back. A few years back I made a speculative add in a keeper league of a similar running back because I liked his yards per rush averages and pass catching ability. That running back? Jamaal Charles. He went on to become arguably the best all around running back in the league and help carry me to multiple titles, so whenever I see a chance to look deep into the crystal ball and catch lightning in a bottle, I jump all over it. Sims comes with some obvious risks and skepticism, but he has the potential to become a consistent yards from scrimmage producer between his rushing and receiving ability.
Side Note: Another speculative add worth taking a shot on if he’s available in your league is Ray Rice. His suspension appeal hearing is set for the first week in November, and he could be reinstated and signed by any team in mid-November. Numerous teams, including the entire AFC East, could use his services and may be willing to take a chance on him.
*Edit 10/23: This article was submitted at 7am yesterday (Wednesday) morning. Later that day, Sims returned to the practice field, so there’s a good possibility that he could play as soon as week 9.