First year head coach Greg Schiano is looking to upgrade an offense that regressed mightily in 2011. The Bucs spent big bucks in the offseason to bring in free agent WR Vincent Jackson (San Diego) and LG Carl Nicks (New Orleans).
The ground game was also in need of an upgrade as Legarrette Blount’s off the field issues and diminishing production have him in the dog house. The Bucs run game ranked an abysmal 30th in the league last season (91 YPG). Let’s just hope that Blount took some offseason anger management classes as I’m sure he’ll want to deliver a knockout punch to another Boise State alum after Martin steals his starting job. Tampa traded back into the first round (31st overall) to nab Ray Rice clone Doug Martin and early indications are that the dual threat RB will be given an opportunity to win the starting job making him a potential solid RB2 especially in PPR leagues.
I would expect a 70-30 split in Martin’s favor to start the season with a very good chance that he sees the lion’s share of the workload in the 2nd half of the season. Martin is a true 3-down RB and his dynamic playmaking ability and pass catching prowess will be a welcomed addition for a Tampa offense that averaged just 18 PPG last season.
FakeTeams.com projects Martin fell into an ideal situation for fantasy success in his rookie season.
FantasyLeagueGM ranks Doug Martin as their #27 fantasy RB entering 2012.
Tampa Bay faces the 7th most favorable schedule for opposing Running Backs.
The Tampa Bay Times expects to see Legarrette Blount’s role diminish drastically as his lack of pass catching ability limits his upside.
FANTASY FOOTBALL SPIN:
ADP: 72 Overall / RB27
The Boise State running back (5’9, 220) has drawn comparisons to Ray Rice as he has a skill set that includes solid pass protection and receiving ability. Martin scored 47 total touchdowns during his Boise State career and amassed over 2,500 rushing yards the past two seasons with another 600 yards receiving.
After posting a 1,000 yard season in his rookie season in 2010 – Blount regressed in 2011 (averaged just 56 YPG) and concerns over his off the field behavior and lack of pass catching ability (only 20 catches over 2 seasons) greatly limits his upside.
New head coach is expected to install a run heavy approach and the offseason addition of LG Carl Nicks should solidify Tampa an above average run blocking O-line (have the most expensive O-line in the league with $168 million tied up in their starting 5).
Martin should see 15-18 carries a game while also adding 40-50 catches making him a solid RB2 in PPR leagues. Blount could still steal some goal line touches (although he struggled in the red zone in 2011) but Martin remains a solid pick in rounds 7-8 and case can be made for taking him a round or so earlier in dynasty leagues as the 23-year-old should emerge as Tampa’s starting RB of the future.