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Doug Martin – RB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3rd Year – 5’9”, 225 lbs
2013 Stats (6 Games) - Rushing: 127-456 Yards, 1 TD/Receiving: 12-66 Yards
Pluses – Doug Martin is the ideal NFL running back. He has the ideal size and build at 5’9” 220 lbs with plenty of strength and speed to spare. What I love about Martin is that he is the type of RB who is always falling forward. This allows him to rack up the extra yardage and the offense to move the chains. New head coach Lovie Smith believes in ball control and winning the field position battle. This centers around a strong running game and Martin will be at the heart of that. Despite the drafting of Charles Sims in the third round, Martin will be the Buccaneers bell cow this season. He’s a certifiable three down back who can handle goal line carries and catch the ball out of the backfield. Martin is an All-Pro RB that nobody is paying attention to heading into drafts this year.
Minuses – Anytime you have a running back coming off of a season ending injury there is plenty of cause for concern. But in Martin’s case the injury was a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Obviously this is much better than a torn ACL or anything involving his legs. In fact, his legs are quite rested after missing over half of the 2013 season. But, with a new coaching staff in place and an imposing threat such as Charles Sims there is cause for concern. Martin is going to have to prove himself to the new regime during training camp and potentially win the job all over again. The downside to Doug Martin is that he doesn’t have that ideal top end speed that coaches crave at the running back spot. The good news there is that neither does Charles Sims and thus it’ll be a competition of similar styles this summer. The biggest concern I have in Doug Martin is the drop in Yards Per Carry (YPC) last season. In 2012, Martin averaged 4.6 YPC while that number dropped a full yard to 3.6 YPC in 2013. While I credit some of that to a significant decrease in offensive line play, Martin also had a steep decline in yards after contact last year (5.2 in 2012, 2.9 in 2013).
Summary – Last season Doug Martin was a consensus top five overall pick in all fantasy football formats. This was completely justified considering he was coming off of a 1,926 total yards and 12 TD’s in 2012. Now he is barely registering as a third round selection coming off of an injury shortened sophomore season. I am not concerned about the torn labrum whatsoever. As long as he shows that he isn’t shying away from contact in the preseason he will be fine. Entering his third season Martin only has 446 rushing attempts which is a very light workload. As we learned in the Fantasy Alarm Fantasy Football Draft Guide, a RB that is 25 years old and younger with less than 600 career carries is considered at the peak of his career. I don’t expect Martin to produce at the level he did in his rookie campaign. The likely scenario is that his numbers fall well between his first two seasons. This would make him a very productive fantasy RB in 2014. The overall package that Martin offers here is difficult to pass up. If you can land him in the third round, as your RB2 that would be absolutely ideal.
Rushing: 15 Games, 291-1164 Yards, 7 TD’s
Receiving: 15 Games, 41-341 Yards, 2 TD’s