Doug Martin, running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was a player I was avoiding like the plague in the top five picks of last year's fantasy football drafts. So naturally, after a sophomore season that was a huge disappointment, mainly due to injury, I'm looking to own him in more than one league in 2014.
Martin a solid RB1
A rookie season in which he had 11 touchdowns and 1,454 rushing yards meant he was bound for regression in his follow-up performance. A season-ending shoulder injury held him to just six games, 456 yards and one TD last year. If he hadn't been injured, though, he still likely wouldn't have returned top-five value as a RB.
There are many reasons why I like Martin way more than I did in 2013 as an RB1, and I can get him at the tail end of the first round or later, in some instances. First of all, the nature of his injury (torn labrum in shoulder) doesn't scare me off nearly as much as an ailment to his lower half would. Plus, he was already medically cleared for workouts back in March.
Martin, 25, is one of a dwindling number of backs that we know for sure will be a bell-cow runner for his squad, when healthy, of course. New head coach Lovie Smith and his staff have already committed to Martin. Behind him sit Mike James and Bobby Rainey, who both filled in nicely for Martin last year. But neither is cut out for lead-back duties and won't threaten Martin's number of touches.
Tampa's offense improved around Martin this offseason. They added vet QB Josh McCown and two rooks that could make a serious impact in their first seasons - Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That should make Vincent Jackson more productive, too.
Chances are that most of your league mates have soured on the idea of using Martin as their RB1 this year, but you shouldn't if you pick somewhere near the end of the first round in a standard 12-team league. The same goes for Arian Foster (back), who is coming off a more serious injury. I think there is some real profit potential for both.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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