Fantasy Sports

2013 Fantasy Football Bust: Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin

Doug Martin

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What if I told you the top-five running back you will be drafting in your Fantasy Football League will rush for 759 yards and score seven times in his five best games? You would probably feel pretty confident in your pick, wouldn’t you?

Now, what if I tell you in his remaining 11 games you can expect a mere 660 yards and four scores? That confidence takes a significant dip, doesn’t it?

Such was the case with Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin in 2012. When you add the two previously mentioned totals, you see a season that reads 1454 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns, which is a monster rookie stat line. So much, in fact, that most preseason player rankings have Martin ranked in the top five, with many putting the “Muscle Hamster” in the top three.

But when you actually sit down and scour through the Martin stats, looking at each individual game, the numbers tell a different story. Consistency was an issue, and there were plenty games where Martin disappeared.

Something else to consider, during Fantasy Football playoffs in 2012, Martin started off with a bang, rushing for 128 yards and a score versus the Philadelphia Eagles. He then went on to rush for 16 yards versus a horrific New Orleans Saints defense, followed up by 62 yards versus the St. Louis Rams.

I don’t know about you, but regular season records don’t mean much in Fantasy Football if you make a quick exit in the playoffs. If your team relied on Martin down the stretch in 2012, you were probably more than a little disappointed. A top-five guy has absolutely got to produce in the playoffs.

Now, I understand the Bucs were on the bad end of several blowouts down the stretch in 2012, and Josh Freeman was generous to defenses with the football at a frustrating level. So, Martin’s absence in some games came with an explanation.

And by no means do I say Martin won’t put together solid numbers in 2013, because he will do that. He is part of a potentially explosive offense, and he is the primary workload back in Tampa Bay.

But will he be a top-three or top-four back in Fantasy Football in 2013?

Considering the numbers listed above and the recent history of inconsistency in top tier drafted fantasy running backs, I will be avoiding the situation. There is potential, I will not argue that. But statistics generally paint a detailed picture and are arguably the best baseline for determining success or failure. Martin’s stats scream inconsistency, a dirty word in Fantasy Football lingo.

Here is one final note. In the offseason, the Bucs addressed their defensive woes, which should have a positive impact on the Bucs offense, but there wasn’t enough change to expect significant differences on offense. Throwing the same effort at the same problem generally nets the same result 100 percent of the time. Martin is a solid Fantasy Football running back, but he is not worth the top-five pick you would have to spend for him.

Jim Heath is a Fantasy Football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jim_heath, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google