Jameis Winston has been dealing with a shoulder injury that has caused him to underperform in recent weeks. The preseason darkhorse for MVP hasn’t performed quite like people thought he would to start this season. Through eight games in 2017, Winston has thrown for 1,920 yards, ten touchdowns and six interceptions, while leading his team to a sub par 2-6 record.
People thought he and the Bucs would be much better in 2017 but they haven’t lived up to the hype. Now Winston is sidelined for a couple of weeks to rehab his shoulder and the question remains, is Doug Martin a number one fantasy running back with Winston sidelined?
The case for Martin as a RB1
Doug Martin had a three-game suspension to start this NFL season. During the offseason, and leading into preseason, he looked like an absolute beast. He cut back on his fatty foods and increased his training to six days a week, cutting out body fat and becoming leaner and stronger. To start this season, Martin hasn’t found as much success as previous years.
Through five games in 2017, Martin has 73 rush attempts for 254 yards and two touchdowns. The Muscle Hamster has faced some tough defenses since his return to action going up against the Panthers and Bills, among others in three of his first five games. That may be a reason for some of his struggles, but don’t be hesitant to start him in upcoming weeks.
Since Winston initially went down with his shoulder injury, Doug Martin received 18 and 20 carries in back-to-back games respectively. This shows fantasy owners that Tampa Bay isn’t afraid to go with a ground and pound offense when their star quarterback is less than 100 percent. Excluding last game where the whole Bucs team got shut down by the Saints, Martin has found more success with more volume of carries.
Now in the next two games, Doug Martin and the Buccaneers offense goes up against the sub par New York Jets defense and the sub par Miami Dolphins defense where, if given more volume, he can find success for the Buccaneers and fantasy owners.
The case against Martin as a RB1
Now many people may be skeptical as putting Martin in as their number one running back when he hasn’t done much to prove he’s worthy of that. He’s only put together two good games since re-joining the league in week four and those games were against the two worst defenses he’s gone up against.
Against the New England Patriots and the Arizona Cardinals, Martin had 13 and 14 fantasy points respectively. As a matter of fact, both of his big games have come when he has found the end zone. He’s failed to do that in the last three weeks, which may be a main reason as to his fantasy struggles. That issue may not be resolved with the loss of Winston and Mike Evans this week against the Jets.
Another red flag during Martin’s 2017 season has been his sub par yards per attempt. So far he has put up a weak 3.5 yards per attempt, the second worst mark of his career. This may be because of the 27th ranked offensive line of the Buccaneers. The run game comes directly from the guys up front an if they can’t execute their blocks, Martin has no chance to succeed in the next coming weeks.
Saying Martin is going to regress with Winston out is unlikely, but I wouldn’t put him as a clear RB1. I would place Martin in the high end RB2 category with RB1 potential.
Feature Image courtesy of http://img.bleacherreport.net
“From Our Haus to Yours”