Martin, 27, is coming off a huge bounce-back season in which he finished second in the NFL in rushing (1,402 yards) and in yards after contact. He also caught 32 passes for 271 yards and scored seven touchdowns (six rushing) to make his second Pro Bowl.
In 2015, Martin was the #5 RB in standard formats (#6 in PPR), so his decision to re-sign with the Bucs will keep his value high. He will enter the season as a fantasy RB1 and will likely be drafted in the first two rounds once his ADP catches up with the news of his signing. His return to Tampa is obviously bad news for Charles Sims, but Sims will remain a good value in the middle rounds, especially in PPR formats.
Related players: Doug Martin
Stroud also reported that the Bucs were optimistic that they'll be able to re-sign Doug Martin. Sims quietly finished as the #22 RB in standard formats and #17 in PPR leagues, catching at least three passes in 10 of 16 games. He also averaged 4.94 YPC on 107 carries, so he showed the ability to be effective as a runner as well. He's currently the 32nd running back off the board in early PPR drafts (i.e. MFL10s and MyFantasyLeague), so he's a good target in the 6th/7th round for those utilizing a "wait on RB" strategy.
Martin sits No. 2 in the NFL in rushing yards with 1,354 on 273 carries. With a big game Sunday versus the Carolina Panthers, Martin could leap Adrian Peterson to become the first Bucs player ever to lead the league in rushing. Sims is an underrated dual-threat back, compiling 1,001 yards from scrimmage (514 rushing, 487 receiving).
Martin, 26, is set to become a free agent this offseason, but the sides are already working on keeping the back in a Bucs jersey.
"We've already talked a little bit,'' general manager Jason Licht said, via the Tampa Tribune. "We will definitely be talking (more). We'd love to have Doug back.''
Last offseason, it looked like the Bucs might dump an ineffective Martin, but the 5-foot-9 pinballing runner bounced back in a big way, the story said. Martin has carried Tampa's offense for long stretches this season, taking some pressure off rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. This season was kind of an audition for Martin, who had struggled the past two seasons. But, Martin was getting positive reviews all the way back in the offseason.
Friday, October 2, 2015, 6:45pm
Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (knee, quadricep, questionable) returned to take limited reps Friday after missing practice Thursday and is questionable for Week 4. Martin injured his knee in Wednesday’s practice, but returned as expected on Friday. We expect him to play. If he’s out, Charles Sims would be a volume play versus the Panthers.
Thursday, October 1, 2015, 7:11pm
Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (knee, quadricep) was added to the injury report Thursday after missing practice. Martin injured his knee in Wednesday’s practice, but is expected to return on Friday. If he’s out, Charles Sims would be a volume play versus the Panthers.
Doug Martin is poised to break out. Martin looked strong in training camp, but defenders don’t take runners to the ground during camp practices, so it was difficult to fully evaluate his productivity. When the hits became live in the preseason, though, Martin continued to thrive. The running back picked up 118 yards on 20 carries in three games, averaging 5.9 yards per attempt. He also caught one pass for nine yards.
OC Dirk Koetter fought to keep Martin with the team during the offseason, and he still sits atop the team's depth chart after a very strong offseason. The offense should be improved with Jameis Winston under center and a better offensive line. Martin’s ADP has climbed into the 5th round, so he’s a solid RB2 target for owners who plan to draft three non-RBs in the first four rounds.
Lost in QB Jameis Winston's shadow is the play of running back Doug Martin in Monday night's preseason victory against Cincinnati. Martin had six carries for 59 yards (a 9.8-yard average), including 52 yards on an opening touchdown drive.
He looked more like the Martin who rushed for more than 1,400 yards as a rookie in 2012 than like the player who has struggled through injuries the past two seasons.
"First off, he's healthy and you know how much that means to a running back," coach Lovie Smith said Tuesday. "He's worked hard. He's looked good in training camp practices but you want to see him do it in a game. There were holes last night. But there was also a wall and he was stopped at the line of scrimmage a couple of times and he made something out of nothing a few times. He broke tackles and ran hard. Just a good game."
Martin's play in training camp has had the coaching staff talking and his performance against the Bengals only added to the excitement that he might be able to be the player he once was. Martin could also be inspired by his contract situation as the Bucs declined his 2016 option. There are plenty of backs behind Martin who have shown flashes at one time or another in Charles Sims, Bobby Rainey and Mike James.
He was given a new lease this year under offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and coach Lovie Smith has already bestowed upon him the starting gig.
Martin, who is leaner and quicker this camp, believes he can have a big season.
"The sky is the limit," Martin said, via ESPN.com. "We have a lot of potential going into this year with this team. We have a lot of weapons and a lot of guys with fire in them that want to be successful. I just can't wait to get out there with them."
The coaching staff reportedly loves Charles Sims, but OC Dirk Koetter fought to keep Martin with the team during the offseason, and he still sits atop the team's depth chart after a very strong offseason. The offense should be improved with Jameis Winston under center and a better offensive line up front. Martin is going in the 6th, so he's a good target for the “wait on RB” crowd.
While there's a lot of excitement in Tampa Bay about the future of No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston, who will presumably be counted on to carry the offense to new heights at some point, head coach Lovie Smith knows the Buccaneers will have to give him some help early in his career in the form of a strong running game.
"Definitely a key for us," Smith said, per the Tampa Bay Times. "We talked about being able to establish the run. Doug Martin will be the lead guy doing that, so it's very important that we open up some holes and let him do his thing."
Martin had an excellent rookie season himself back in 2012, rushing for 1,454 yards (4.6 per carry) and 11 touchdowns while adding 49 catches for 472 yards and another score. In doing so, he became just the third rookie ever to amass at least 1,400 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards, per Pro-Football-Reference.
This falls right in line with a story we had yesterday from a beat writer that said the Bucs need Martin to lead the way on the ground, and is the team's most talented back. Martin has yet to reach those same heights from his rookie season – or even come close – over the last two seasons, the story said. As we all know, injuries limited him to 17 games in 2013 and 2014 combined, during which he registered only 950 rushing yards (3.6 per carry), 130 receiving yards and three total touchdowns. Staying on the field will be key for Martin and anyone who takes a shot on him again for their fantasy team. The Bucs have plenty of potential behind Martin: Charles Sims, Bobby Rainey and Mike James.
After a spectacular rookie season, Bucs RB Doug Martin has turned in two seasons that have been plagued by injuries and an alarming lack of production. His career is at a crossroads. No longer a kid, the 26-year-old enters his fourth season and, frankly, the Bucs have no idea if the former first-round pick still has what it takes to be an effective back in this league. It's why they declined a fifth-year option on his contract.
Now the Bucs have little time to figure out Martin's future. Because as much as the focus seems to be around rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, the Bucs offense (and Winston's season) will be a lot more productive if the Bucs can move the ball on the ground.
"Definitely a key for us," Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. "We talked about being able to establish the run. Doug will be the lead guy doing that, so it's very important that we open up some holes and let him do his thing."
Martin hasn't come close to his rookie year performance, but you don't have to tell that to fantasy owners who keep taking a chance on him. By now many have likely jumped on board with some of the Bucs other backs like Bobby Rainey, Mike James and Charles Sims. But, the author feels none of them has the talent of Martin. Martin ranks way down our list at 32. It's possible Jameis Winston and the threat of a passing game can help out the Bucs running game, but right now it's tough to predict how many touches Martin will see a game. The story said Martin spent the offseason in California with a new workout routine that has lowered his weight and body fat and increased his stamina. Right around 220 pounds, Martin knows he is playing to, perhaps, stay with the Bucs and maybe even stay in the league.
Buccaneers RB Doug Martin had his best offseason in three years, and the upswing in his play could not have come at a better time. Charles Sims is good enough to start and he’ll push Martin hard for the bell-cow role. But the Bucs are probably better with Martin in the lead, Sims filling a third-down pass catcher’s role and Bobby Rainey backing up both.
The coaching staff reportedly loves Charles Sims, but OC Dirk Koetter fought to keep Martin with the team during the offseason, and he still sits atop the team's depth chart after a strong offseason. He's going in the 8th or 9th round, so he's a good target for those owners who are looking for potential starters in the later rounds.
“What you’re not seeing that makes me look a little slimmer is my body fat,” Martin said. “I got my body fat down by like four or five percent so I’m in great shape. I feel good and I’m ready to go.”
Martin could have a few new faces blocking for him after the Bucs’ selected tackle Donovan Smith and guard Ali Marpet in this year’s draft. Although the Bucs have only gone through non-contact OTA practices, he can already see improvement along the offensive line.
“They’re doing pretty good,” Martin said. “There’s more communication between the line. We’re more gelled than we were last year. I feel like it’s going to be a good season for us and the line’s doing a good job proving that… or (are) going to prove that.”
The coaching staff reportedly loves Charles Sims, but OC Dirk Koetter fought to keep Martin with the team during the offseason, and he still sits atop the team's depth chart. He's going in the 9th round, so he's a good target for those owners who are looking for potential starters in the later rounds.
Joe Kania of Buccaneers.com:
Last week it was Doug Martin that caught our eye. This week, a different running back stood out. While Martin and Charles Sims were used often in the screen game, Bobby Rainey ran a few of the deeper routes out of the backfield. Rainey, Martin and Sims are all battling to be the Bucs’ No. 1 running back, and Rainey’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield is helping his case.
Rainey was by far the best Bucs running back last season, averaging 4.3 YPC, while Martin (3.7 YPC) and Sims (2.8) struggled mightily. Rainey also led the backs in receptions with 33 for 315 yards and a touchdown. He hasn't been discussed much this preseason as the focus has been on Martin and Sims, but he's a player to have on speed dial if either player suffers an injury.
Doug Martin looked smooth during Thursday’s session, making sharp cuts and catching out of the backfield during one-on-one drills against linebackers. The Boise State product was practicing with first-team offense and, according to Lovie Smith, he’ll stay with that group.
“He’s on the first team like he has always been,” Smith said. “He’s one of our guys, he’s our running back. He’s showing up and he is getting good work. I think it is just as simple as that.”
The team is supposedly very high on Charles Sims, but it sounds as if it's time to pump the brakes a bit. Neither player is a great fantasy option, though with the additions that the Bucs made to the offensive line, the running game should be better in 2015.
Pat Yasinkas on the Buccaneers running back situation: The Bucs will have two position battles that I find especially compelling. First, there's running back. Doug Martin has been the starter the past three seasons. But he's coming off a disappointing season and the coaching staff and front office don't seem sold on a player they didn't draft. They did draft Charles Sims last year and the coaches are very high on him. Sims could end up beating out Martin.
Sims averaged 2.8 YPC on 66 carries last year but fared well in the passing game (19 catches for 190 yards). The best running back on the roster last year was Bobby Rainey, but no one seems to think he's a threat for a major role as long as Sims and Martin stay healthy.
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