Doug Martin hates being called "Muscle Hamster". In fact he'd prefer to be called "Dougernaut, Muscle and Hustle or just Doug". I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and call him Doug. However what I won't put aside is my thoughts on Doug's fantasy value.
Evaluating Doug Martin as a top fantasy running back honestly scares me to death. I mean he was one of the four or five first rounders who burned fantasy owners in 2013. And we can't forget that he's coming off of shoulder surgery after being shut down for much of 2013. Did I mention that's not even the worst of it?
First let me take a moment to say that I think expecting someone to play poorly because they dissapointed in 2013 is ludicrous. I actually expect great production from a few of last years first rounders, I just don't think Doug Martin will be worthy of his price on draft day.
In 2013 Doug Martin was a consensus first round pick, going inside the top 4 of most drafts. He had a phenomenal rookie season where he scored 12 times and combined for over 1,900 yards on the ground and in the air. Sure, you could argue that many of his fantasy points came in one or two games in 2013, however he still outperformed his owners expectations in 2012.
If we jump ahead to 2014, Doug Martin is a year removed from shoulder surgery and poor production in his first six games of 2013, which is why he's falling into the second round of many mock drafts. To be honest, I don't want Doug Martin there, I want him to slide much further before I'm comfortable taking him.
I believe the shoulder injury is mainly just talk by fantasy football pros. To be honest, I would be much more concerned with a lower body injury. His explosiveness should still be in tact following shoulder surgery.
There's a New Sheriff in Town
The biggest issue I see is the new offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay. With a new head coach comes a new staff, with a new staff comes a new system, with a new system old allegiances get thrown out the window. Doug Martin is now a carryover from the last regime, with a ton of talent behind him.
Look at what Mike James did in 2013 before getting hurt. He's just one example of the talent that is just itching for a starting job, or at least a shot at the lions share of the carries. Not to mention that the new offensive coordinator, Jeff Tedford, recently said that he doesn't "believe that one back can carry the load. It's just too physical."
So let's recap very quickly. Martin is coming off an injury, to a team with a new coaching staff, with an offensive coordinator who would prefer to see a RBBC. As a fantasy football fan and player, I think I speak for everyone when I say we hate RBBC's. They're the death of fantasy value most times.
Do I believe it becomes a true RBBC in Tampa? No. I think Martin still keeps the lions share of the carries, at least early in the season. However if he doesn't perform like they expect they'll throw someone else in there. Even if he keeps the starting job you have to expect him to get less carries than he did in 2012, which was 319. These other backs will tear away a bunch between them, leaving Martin with a ton less fantasy value.
My Beliefs About Doug Martin's Fantasy Value
At the end of the day, it's possible that I'm overreacting to the new offensive coordinator in Tampa. It's possible that all of the other negatives to Doug Martin aren't all they're cracked up to be. However I'll avoid taking him in round 2 and the first half of round 3. He can be a solid #2 fantasy back, not a #1.
Keep that in mind as you approach your fantasy football drafts. You'll be glad you did.