Evaluating Doug Martin's Fantasy Value After Breakout Game vs. Vikings

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIOctober 26, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 25:  Doug Martin #22 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers outruns Harrison Smith #22 of the Minnesota Vikings for a gain at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on October 25, 2012 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans may have raised eyebrows at GM Mark Dominik's decision to take running back Doug Martin in the first round of this year's draft, particularly at such a volatile position. If you play fantasy football, you might have been questioning the sanity of a friend who drafted Martin high considering the possible timeshare with LeGarrette Blount.

That is, until Thursday night's 36-17 road win over the Minnesota Vikings, when the former Boise State star had his official NFL and fantasy football coming-out party.

And was it ever impressive: 25 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown to go along with three catches for 79 yards and a score. The night was highlighted by a beautiful 64-yard touchdown reception.

Suddenly head coach Greg Schiano's comparison of Martin to Ray Rice doesn't seem so far-fetched.

That screen pass shows the explosiveness Martin has. He may not have run a 4.3 40-yard dash ahead of the NFL draft, but Martin's game speed certainly looks more than adequate. His 5'9", 215-pound frame gives him a low center of gravity and enough power to make him difficult to bring down.

Martin has vaulted from a borderline dependable No. 2 running back option to a possible No. 1 with his breakout game at the Metrodome.

Who knows what to make of Bucs QB Josh Freeman? His inconsistency and resulting sporadic production from receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams may already make Martin the most reliable Buccaneer in fantasy.

Schiano's philosophy is to be a predominantly run-based team, which is what the Bucs are working towards. Considering the fact that Martin got 32 total touches, it seems that is already being instilled into Tampa's offense.

NFL Network's Rich Eisen tweeted out an interesting statistic with regard to the increased workload for the rookie back:

Doug Martin's 32 touches tonight is most by a Buc since Earnest Graham had 36 in 2007

— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) October 26, 2012

Stephen F. Holder of the Tampa Bay Times also quoted Schiano on Tuesday as reiterating the plan on offense, which sounded rather prodigious in light of how well Martin just played.

Schiano's desired schematics could be viewed as a "backward" offensive philosophy as Holder implies in his headline, but it certainly seemed to work against what was a stout Vikings run defense.

Considering the obvious receiving ability Martin brings to the table, as well as his unique style of running, he has to be considered a hot fantasy football commodity. He has to be a lock for Week 9 at Oakland, since the Raiders allow the 27th-most points in the league.

Sometimes being a prisoner of the moment can be dangerous, and in this age of society, it's nearly impossible to avoid most of the time. But Martin is going to be a fantasy staple for the remainder of the season, and for years to come.

You name it: keeper leagues, PPR leagues or any other type of fantasy league—Martin is worth acquiring at all costs.