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Harris On Fantasy Football: Is Doug Martin For Real?

By Adam Harris-

(CBS) After "The Muscle Hampster's" amazing four touchdown performance this past Sunday, there are many questions on new fantasy stud Doug Martin. Here are my answers:

Where does Doug Martin rank among fantasy running backs?

Points wise, Martin is currently the best fantasy running back in the NFL, but I still rank him in the respectable seven-eight-nine grouping among fantasy backs. In Weeks 1-4, Martin scored a total of 35 fantasy points in non ppr leagues. That is a unimpressive average of just over eight points per week. The last four weeks, Martin has put up a remarkable 117 fantasy points, averaging just over 29 points per game.

However, Martin has not been challenged during his recent surge against Kansas City (22nd vs run), New Orleans (32nd vs run), Minnesota (18th vs run), and Oakland (21st vs run). When Martin struggled the first four weeks, he didn't face that much better competition in Carolina (20th vs run), New York Giants (19th vs run), Dallas (15th vs run) and Washington (9th vs run). I do not mean to dismiss the fact that Martin had one of the best fantasy days in the history of running backs on Sunday, or that he had an amazing break out game in Minnesota two weeks ago. All I wish to do here is open a Martin owner's fantasy eyes to the fact that "The Muscle Hampster's" value has peaked like crazy, but the only way to sell Martin is to get better fantasy back for him. Martin is a 12-14 point per week running back, and that keeps him outside of my current top six fantasy running back list. I would put, in order, Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Marshawn Lynch,Trent Richardson and LeSean McCoy ahead of Martin. I feel that right now, and packaged with the right players, Martin could be used as an upgrade for one of the backs listed above, but it is not necessary. Martin is a second tier back right now, but has some potential moving forward.

Will Martin keep this, or something like this, up?

Believe it or not, Martin's schedule is not that tough as the year pushes on. After this week's tough match up against the fourth ranked San Diego Chargers' run defense, Martin travels to Carolina (20th vs run) in Week 11, hosts Atlanta (24th vs run) in Week 12, visits Denver (12th vs run) in Week 13, hosts Philadelphia (16th vs run) in Week 14, travels to New Orleans (32nd vs run) for Week 15 and hosts St. Louis (13th vs run) in championship Week 16. Notice the playoff schedule is very favorable, especially Week 15 against the NFL's worst run defense. Martin seems to rely on the big play, and every team remaining on his schedule, besides San Diego, has given up at least one 40 plus yard gain on the ground. In fact, Week 15 opponent New Orleans has given up four, Week 12 opponent Atlanta has given up three and playoff Week 14 opponent Philadelphia has given up two. A high reward back like Martin could propel a team into championship Week 16, but do not sell the farm to acquire him.

Is Doug Martin a keeper?

Depending on who else is on your team, Martin should be considered a top ten keeper in any league. This is not as much of a slam dunk as some people might think, however, but if you are in a half ppr, 12 team league where keepers do not affect your draft picks Martin looks good. I would still keep quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Robert Griffin III, and Drew Brees ahead of Martin. Running backs Arian Foster, Trent Richardson, and Ray Rice are also automatic keepers ahead of Martin. After that, Martin falls in the middle of a group consisting of quarterbacks Tom Brady and Matt Ryan, running backs Marshawn Lynch and LeSean McCoy, and wide receivers AJ Green and even Calvin Johnson. Martin is going to be the main back moving forward for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but at 5'9" and 215 pounds, Martin proposes an injury risk and he could fall to the sophomore slump next year. Teams will scheme for him and his production will not be that of a player that should carry a fantasy team week in and week out, so hopefully you have one of the keepers mentioned before Martin.

Should I sell high on Doug Martin?

If I had Doug Martin, I would not sell unless I am getting something very valuable. Martin is a starting running back, and must be treated as rare as he is. Consistency is hard to come by in the running back world, and I think Doug Martin has already gone through his ups and downs and is finally going to settle on 12-15 points per week. He has the potential to blow up in few games based on matchups this year, and that is just fine for me as a fantasy owner. Here's a trade example that might be proposed. Doug Martin and Tony Romo for Aaron Rodgers and "bum RB." In this instance, I would choose "The Muscle Hampster" every time.

At what lengths should I go to try to acquire Doug Martin?

If you need a running back, Doug Martin might be out of reach at this moment. Begin trade talks with Martin's owner this week, and wait for his very mediocre game this Sunday against the San Diego Chargers fourth ranked run defense. Martin should be targeted as a second running back in a trade. He is not ready to carry the main back load of a winning fantasy team, but he will in the near future.

Follow Adam on Twitter (@AHarris670) and ask Fantasy Football questions. Also, tune into 670 The Score and Friday nights at midnight to listen to the Friday Fantasy Nerd Herd Hour with Joe Ostrowski until 1am.

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