Doug Martin landed on the fantasy scene with a thunderous boom. In 2012—Martin’s rookie season—he was deemed fantasy gold. His ADP was early third round and was usually the 15th running back or so taken off the board. That was tremendous value for a guy who finished the season with 1,926 total yards and 12 total touchdowns.
And who could forget his 251-yard, four touchdown performance in Week 9 versus the Raiders?
Martin fell victim to the sophomore slump in 2013 and in the six games he suited up for, he averaged a dismal 3.59 yards per carry and scored a single touchdown. In Week 7, he tore his labrum and missed the remainder of the season. And to be clear, Martin's poor performance (slump) preceded the injury, not the other way around.
In 2014, new head coach Lovie Smith will likely use Martin as a two-down back and goal-line plunger while rotating rookie Charles Sims in on passing downs. That plan would’ve stole 49 receptions and 472 receiving yards from Martin during his 2012 campaign.
Martin isn’t expected to return to fantasy dominance this year. No matter how the analysts spin new offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford’s run-first mentality, Martin is still a running back coming off a shoulder surgery that sidelined him for the better part of last season.
And Martin declaring himself 100% healthy means little to me. As with all athletes who get injured, their 100% is typically lower than what it was prior to the injury. So Martin’s new 100% healthy is probably about 80% or of what his 100% used to be.
Martin’s current ADP at mid-second round is coming from the clicks of mice belonging to those who have remnants of 2012-fairy fantasy dust in their eyes. It would take both hands for me to click my mouse adding Martin to my fantasy team in the second round—not when guys like Zac Stacy and Giovani Bernard are still available.
Some blamed Josh Freeman for Martin’s pathetic 3.59 yards per carry last season. Others may point to the high level of deterioration the Bucs, as a unit, reached at an early point last season.
And in 2014, those same analysts won’t place blame at Martin’s feet, but will rather talk of how Josh McCown only had success in Chicago because of Marc Trestman. Prior to working with Trestman, McCown only had one season where he threw more touchdowns than interceptions (2004 – Arizona Cardinals – 11:10 TD/INT ratio).
He was also throwing to arguably the best wide receiver tandem in the NFL with the Bears. Certainly, Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans are no Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
Martin supporters will then speak of the team learning a new offense (Tampa is McCown’s 6th team) and the tribulations learning a new system brings to the success of a team. But they won’t blame Martin.
Martin was a rookie sensation who had a solid season in 2012. Even still, he failed to gain more than 70 yards in half of his 2012 games. His 4.6 yards per carry was infused by a few monstrous games that he didn’t see in 2013 and won’t in 2014. He simply won't have the same opportunity to do so under Tedford.
It's true that Tedford likes to run the ball, but he's a guy who likes to have a few guys churning out the rushing yards. If you listen closely to Tedford, you'll know that Martin isn't going to come close to his 319 rushing attempts from 2012.
The jig is up for Martin. At a second-round price, he’ll be on someone else’s roster this year.