Doug Martin: Realistic Fantasy Expectations for Rest of Season for Bucs RB

Ryan DavenportContributor IOctober 28, 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

Everyone who criticized the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for taking Doug Martin with the 31st pick in the 2012 NFL draft should be biting their tongues.

That's because Martin broke out on Thursday night, ran rampant all over the Vikings and displayed a stunning amount of versatility in the process.

The rookie back out of Boise State rushed for 135 yards and hauled in another three passes for 79 yards in the Bucs' Week 8 matchup against Minnesota, effectively announcing his arrival as Tampa Bay's go-to guy in the backfield.

But from a fantasy perspective, even after such an extraordinary breakout performance, what can we expect from Martin the rest of the way?

Well, in four of Martin's first seven games, he's picked up over 100 all-purpose yards, which tells us that the guy can put up offensive numbers regardless of how he acquires possession of the ball. 

In addition, all four of Martin's touchdowns (including receiving scores) have come against quality opponents, such as the Saints, Giants and Vikings. This is encouraging considering the Bucs have a number of tough contests on the schedule, including road games against Atlanta, Denver and New Orleans.

According to ESPN's fantasy spin, this is merely the beginning for Martin:

LeGarrette Blount saw eight touches, most of which were in the mop up duty. Martin was a one man wrecking machine carving up the normally stout Vikings' run defense as a runner and as a receiver while hitting pay dirt twice. Since their Week 5 bye, the Bucs have shown a greater commitment to Martin's workhorse abilities with each passing game. That shouldn't change much on a long week with the Raider up next.

Though Thursday's game represented his first 100-yard rushing performance of his young career, Martin has consistently demonstrated an ability to pick up reasonably big yardage, and that won't change, so he should be considered a must-start back from here on out.

Martin isn't an elite back just yet, but he should be good for at least 70-80 yards rushing and around 100 all-purpose yards week in and week out, and as Thursday night's game showed us, he'll only get better as time goes on.