Doug Martin Fantasy Forecast

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Martin had tons of expectations entering the 2013 season, which by the end disappointed many. What does the 2014 season have in store for Martin?

A lot went down in Tampa Bay last season with a strict college-minded head coach, a rookie quarterback getting the nod, the Darrelle Revis saga, and their main offensive playmaker going down with a shoulder injury. Doug Martin was a first round draft pick in many leagues last year with fantasy owners having high hopes after a very successful rookie season. Unfortunately, Martin only played in seven games due to a season ending shoulder injury. This specific injury Martin suffered was a torn labrum in his right shoulder. While there was some hope last year after his injury that he would be able to come back, the Buccaneer organization decided to put him on the injured reserve. Martin underwent surgery in November and according to recent reports he will be ready for the off-season workouts starting in April. Even before his injury in week seven, Martin was having a lackluster start to the season. He was only averaging 3.6 YPC with one 100-yard game and one touchdown. That was a significant drop off from his rookie season where he averaged 4.5 YPC with twelve touchdowns. Martin just never seemed to get back on track to the success that he had a year prior.

Along with the issue of Martin having to recover and rehab his shoulder this off- season, he also had to learn a new playbook with the arrival of Lovie Smith. Lovie was hired as the teams new head coach after the firing of Greg Schiano. Lovie took the year off, after being let go by the Chicago Bears, and has found a new home in Tampa Bay. While fantasy football players know that the head coach is important, they also know to look at the offensive coordinator to see what type of scheme they will run. Lovie decided to go against the grain and hire someone who has zero NFL experience, Jeff Tedford. Tedford comes from the college ranks where he was the head coach of Cal. Lovie and Tedford have both came out and said they want to create a strong/power type run offense. This bodes well for the fact that Martin has handled the rock often while healthy. At the same time though the emergence of Mike James and Bobby Rainey will probably cut into some of Martin's carries as the year goes on. While Tedford admits that he wants to use Martin a lot, he also has stated he would like to have multiple backs in his system in Tampa. Tedford speaks from experience in regards to this as he coached Marshawn Lynch, Shane Vereen, Jahvid Best, and Justin Forsett at Cal. Going into last year Martin was one of the few running backs that seemed to be a three-down back. Those types of running backs seem to be non-existent anymore, but Martin still will get his fair load of carries this year.

When looking into drafting Doug Martin this summer you should take note of a few things:

-Doug Martin will no doubt have to share some of his carries with Mike James and Bobby Rainey. Both will be back and will play some type of roll in the offense. Both James and Rainey showed some life in their limited playing time last year.

2103 Tampa Bay Rushing Statistics

Player

GP

RSH

Yards

YPC

TD

Doug Martin

7

127

456

3.6

1

Mike James

9

60

295

4.9

0

Bobby Rainey

10

137

532

3.9

5


Looking at those stats, it shows that anyone can run behind the Tampa Bay offensive line and do something with the ball. This will provide more faith to the Martin owners this season knowing that the Tampa Bay offensive line is solid. They will continue to become one of the better offensive lines in football with Carl Nicks returning from injury this season.

-Another thing to keep in mind is that the Buccaneers starting quarterback is still in limbo. Lovie Smith praised Mike Glennon when he took over, but did not name him the starting quarterback. Then Smith added another name into the mix with the signing of Josh McCown. Therefore, regardless of whom the quarterback is Doug Martin will have to be heavily relied upon during the season if they have any chance of consistently scoring points.

-Even though Doug Martin suffered a season-ending injury last year it was a fluke injury where he landed awkwardly on his shoulder. Through his four years at college at Boise State he never missed any significant time due to injuries. Therefore you should not put any real stock into people saying he is "injury-prone" because the facts just do not back that up.

Doug Martin had a solid rookie year then followed it up with a lackluster performance. This year some fantasy owners will be uncertain with what to do with Martin and when to draft him. There is no doubt that Martin will slide down a few spots and maybe rounds this summer so the value is there if you can get him in the right spot. Though Doug Martin may not be the "workhorse" you imagined him to be last season, it is probably better for his health that he gets fewer carries this year. As we saw in his rookie year, he can have a dynamite game during any part of the season at the same time he will produce some weak games as well. His injured shoulder should be a none issue come training camp, but it is something to monitor, as you get closer to your fantasy drafts.

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