Martin will be cheap in fantasy drafts
but will need Lynch to falter in order to reach fantasy relevance.
The quintessential fantasy football Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde over
his first four years in the NFL, Doug Martin confused many a fantasy
owner with two sub-500 yard performances sandwiched between two
seasons as a top-three fantasy running back. But after averaging
2.9 yards per carry in his final two disappointing seasons with
the Bucs, perhaps the real Doug Martin has emerged as he looks to
revive his floundering career in 2018.
After fleecing Mark Davis and the Raiders for a ridiculous 10-year,
$100 million contract this offseason, Jon Gruden is once again
a head coach in the NFL after taking a hiatus in the Monday Night
Football booth on ESPN. Gruden is a throwback to another era of
run-first, ground and pound football, and has gone on record stating
that the analytic revolution is not for him. It doesn’t
mean that Gruden will not throw the ball with quarterback Derek Carr, and wide receivers Jordy Nelson (it will be odd seining
him in silver and black) and Amari Cooper, but he will lean heavily
on the ground game with a stable full of running backs at his
Although there will be more than a few carries to be distributed
in the Oakland backfield, Martin will compete with fellow veteran
and incumbent starter Marshawn Lynch for early-down carries, and
young, versatile backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard in
the passing game. At age 31, Lynch garnered 207 of the team total
370 carries, posting 891 yards and seven rushing touchdowns. Richard
and Washington combined for just 428 rushing yards, 453 receiving
yards, and five total touchdowns.
At this point in the season, we have no idea how Chucky and offensive
coordinator Greg Olson will use their collection of backs. We
also do not know if all four backs will be on the active roster
when they open the 2018 regular season. One thing we do know is
that Martin possesses the skill set to have a significant fantasy
impact as evident by his 2012 and 2015 seasons, making him a worth-while
flyer later in fantasy drafts as a stash and see.
A path to fantasy relevance could be in the receiving game, as
Martin flashed an ability to catch 49 passes for nearly 500 yards
in his first season after getting selected as a first-round pick
out of Boise State. Although he has managed just 23 receptions
for 116 yards since 2015, that skill set could help him jump Richard
and Washington as the primary receiving back.
Fantasy owners who drafted Martin in 2013 and 2016 know full
well of the pain that comes with using a high pick on a player
who is a volatile fantasy asset. There is nothing more frustrating
than using substantial draft capital on a player who burns your
roster with a sub-three yard-per-carry average and off-field issues.
Fortunately, Martin will require very little draft equity this
summer and is an attractive wait and see player to stash on your
bench. If he continues his recent trend of mediocre play and is
apparently not worthy of a bench spot, he can be easily dropped
with little recourse. If Lynch gets hurt or does not perform,
Martin could be a late round steal and a viable low-end No.2 running
back with a ton of upside.