Doug Martin: Fantasy Owners Should Sell High on Breakout Buccaneers RB

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 04:  Doug Martin #22 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum on November 4, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Now that a few days have passed, let's all step back from the ledge and stop this talk about Doug Martin being the best running back in the NFL.

While the mass hysteria surrounding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie is deserved after he ran for 251 yards and four touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders in Week 9, let's just acknowledge what it was: A captivating performance that is in no way indicative of future stardom. 

In fact, for fantasy football owners, Martin's brilliance sets up a perfect sell-high situation.

Prisoners of the moment that we all are, it's not hard to understand why Martin owners are fawning over the rookie like 13-year-old girls at a One Direction concert and would be hesitant to make a deal. 

By all accounts, Martin's scintillating performance on Sunday was one of the greatest fantasy performances of all time. According to Grantland's Bill Barnwell, just three running backs have had a better fantasy day since the AFL/NFL merger than Martin in Week 9. 

Considering the small sample sizes involved, it's hard to make any concrete judgments about Martin. However, the evidence that we do have points to the Bucs running back as being far closer to mediocrity than super-stardom.

In Weeks 8 and 9, Martin combined for 486 total yards and six touchdowns. Breaking out my handy-dandy calculator tells me that means 46.8 percent of Martin's yardage value and 75 percent of his touchdown value have come in a two-week span.

For owners in straight-points leagues, that obviously doesn't matter.

However, for head-to-head leagues (which is the format a vast majority of owners play), Martin's two-week surge is great, but also comes after being inconsistent for much of the season's first half.

Coming into Week 8, Martin had yet to break the 100-yard rushing barrier or even score 20 fantasy points in a game. 

Looking into advanced metrics also shows some small chinks in Martin's armor. According to Football Outsiders' DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards over Replacement) statistic, Martin has been the sixth-best running back in football this season.

However, Martin also has a success rate on runs of just 48 percent, which ranks 17th at the position. 

What the latter statistic means is that much of Martin's DYAR value is based on his big-play ability, rather than consistent performance throughout the game. 

As almost any astute football analyst will tell you, big runs are fleeting and almost completely unpredictable. And considering the fact that Martin isn't the most explosive back in the league, it seems unlikely that he'll continue to break these huge runs for the duration of the season. 

We would also be remiss to ignore the fact that Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks is out for the season. It did not matter against the Raiders, but it's something that will hurt Martin's value against better defenses.

While all of this may seem like I'm driving the Martin hate bandwagon, that's simply not the case.

He's unquestionably an RB1 going forward—just a low-end one.

However, with a large portion of the fantasy football community thinking he's Eric Dickerson circa 1983, this week is the perfect opportunity to trade him. If some owner believes in Martin enough to give up a Calvin Johnson type of player, you jump on that opportunity and don't think twice.

Fantasy football is all about finding values where others cannot. With Martin's at an all-time high, do your due diligence and see if you can fleece a fellow owner before Sunday's slate of games.

If not, you may be stuck with a return to mediocrity from Martin over the season's second half.