Doug Martin is a rare thing: a productive running back, scheduled to be his team's lead runner with no real competition for that position. Oh, sure, he'll have to give up some carries to Charles Sims and his other backups, but given that he got an insane 319 carries as a rookie, lowering his workload won't be all that big of a problem.
Jeff Tedford's history as an offensive coordinator suggests that Martin will get around 290 carries. That might be a little less if Charles Sims, Bobby Rainey and Mike James have a great preseason. Or it might be a little more if the Bucs feel they can't trust those players. But 290 carries would have ranked Doug Martin third last year.
Despite that, Martin is coming off the board as just the thirteenth running back on average in fantasy drafts. It's okay to be a little skeptical, but that's just absurd. Yes, Martin will see fewer receptions and fewer carries, but he should still be one of the most productive running backs in the NFL. Don't worry about his injury: the (healed) torn labrum shouldn't affect his ability to produce on the ground whatsoever.
One thing that will affect his production is the fact that he dropped a significant amount of body fat, looks faster and leaner in training camp and should be in better shape than he was last year. Significant competition should push him to improve his game as well.
The Muscle Hamster should get back to form this year after an off season. He's closer to the running back appeared to be in 2012 than the running back he was in 2013. With a renewed emphasis on the running game and a versatile offense, he's poised to jump back to the top of the fantasy world. And the ability to grab him as late as the third round in drafts should make him easily one of the biggest bargains in fantasy football.
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