Fantasy football owners faced a lot of season-ending injuries to their lineups throughout the 2013 season. Many quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers fell to the injury bug. One of the biggest injuries for owners was the shoulder injury to Tampa Bay Buccaneers rusher Doug Martin.
Martin was drafted in most leagues as a top-five running back and the seventh player overall. He was playing like it as well. Martin scored 34 points in the first three games, including 144 yards against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2. His numbers began to decline some in the following weeks, scoring just 19 points in the next three games.
Then, he suffered from a shoulder injury. He sat out in Weeks 8 and 9 and many thought he would return in Week 10, including Head Coach Greg Schiano. A couple of weeks passed and the announcement was made; Martin was placed on season-ending IR.
He was the second of two top-five backs to be out for the rest of the season. The first being Arian Foster. I talked about Foster’s value for next season. I feel a little more optimistic about Martin in 2014. The shoulder injury won’t affect Martin’s rushing ability as much as Foster’s back will.
Martin had a great rookie season, playing in all 16 games. He rushed 319 times for 1,454 yards and 10 touchdowns. Things were looking good before the injury. Luckily for Martin and fantasy owners, he doesn’t have a long history of injuries.
Entering his third season, Martin’s value is still high. The Bucs have a new head coach in Lovie Smith, who used Matt Forte very well. There are at least 10 running backs ahead of Martin, but he could easily fall into the 12-15 range as a No. 2 running back. Drafting Jamaal Charles and Martin is a very likely scenario for most owners and many would be okay with a one-two punch like that.