Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Doug Martin have agreed to a five year $35 million deal. NFL Network’s Ian Rappoport reports the total exceeds $35 million which includes about $15 million in guaranteed money.
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Last night on the DLF Dynasty Podcast, Eric Hardter, special guest Bob Harris, and I all agreed Martin’s best landing spot was in Tampa. Obviously most dynasty owners would have liked to see the Dallas Cowboys sign the second leading rusher in the NFL in 2015, but some scenarios are only pipe dreams.
This time last year, many dynasty owners considered backfield mate, Charles Sims, the better asset; they couldn’t have been more wrong. When speculation arose the Buccaneers would field phone calls involving a possible trade for their 2012 first round pick, current head coach, Dirk Koetter, was hired as the offensive coordinator. Koetter immediately put those rumors to rest. “Dirk Koetter, once he started watching tape of all our players, he came away impressed with Doug” said general manager, Jason Licht. Then head coach, Lovie Smith, jumped on board immediately, saying “[Martin] is on the first team like he’s always been.”
The support Martin received from his coaching staff paid dividends. Not only did Martin go on to rush for over 1,400 yards, gain almost 1,700 yards from scrimmage and score seven total touchdowns, but he was efficient in doing so. The running back position is largely volume based when determining fantasy success. Martin was the overall RB4 with 288 carries, 39 less carries than the NFL leading rusher Adrian Peterson. In fact, Martin lead the league in yards per carry for any running back with 150 or more attempts.
The consensus dynasty rankings on DLF have Martin as the RB5 while his February ADP is RB8 (including being behind Ezekiel Elliot), going 45th overall. With the Jacksonville Jaguars signing Chris Ivory to split carries with TJ Yeldon, you can imagine Yeldon will no longer be drafted ahead of Martin as he was in February.
Despite having poor sophomore and third year campaigns, Martin actually has the fifth most rushing yards per game over the first four seasons of his career of any running back to rush for at least 3,800 yards over the last ten years. Martin shares the top five with Peterson, Chris Johnson, Arian Foster, and DeMarco Murray. The first three names on this list went on to find plenty of success in the league after their first four campaigns, and Murray will likely bounce back in Tennessee.
Many, such as myself, may view this as bad news for Sims. The backfield mate to Martin who spelled the newly paid star was actually the RB16 in PPR formats last year. Others, such as Tampa native and DLF’s own, Nathan Powell, view this as good news for Sims.
Doug Martin re-signing should have 0 impact on Charles Sims’ dynasty value. In fact, if anything it helps him.
— Nathan Powell (@NPowellFF) March 9, 2016
Sims does well in the areas that Martin doesn’t and will continue to play that role. Better for him than possible receiving back coming in
— Nathan Powell (@NPowellFF) March 9, 2016
One difference between the NFL we watch today and the one we grew up with is the formation of the running back committee. During the 2005 season, there were ten running backs to get over 300 carries and 24 to get over 200. In 2015, only one running back received 300 carries, while 15 toted the ball 200 times. In short, you don’t need to be the “starter” to be fantasy relevant. As Nathan points out, Sims succeeds in different ways than Martin. While Martin was on the field far more than Sims, he only caught 33 passes for 271 yards (8.2 ypr). Sims, on the other hand, caught 51 balls for 561 yards (11.0 ypr) and four touchdowns.
I don’t think anyone was counting on Sims to be their RB1 in a dynasty format. He was ranked as the consensus RB25 by the DLF team, and was selected 112 overall as the RB33 (including rookies) according to February ADP. He can be a strong top-24 running back in fantasy again if he continues to be utilized in the receiving game.
The signing of Martin should only boost the rapport between the Buccaneers’ 2014 and 2015 first round picks. Winston burst onto the scene in 2015 passing for the third most yards and fourth most touchdowns as a rookie in NFL history. His primary pass catcher, Evans, caught 12 touchdowns the year before, the fourth most touchdowns by a rookie in NFL history. This quarterback/wide receiver combination is one of the strongest young duos in the league. The thing every young quarterback needs, though, is a good running game. Martin provides just that. While Winston and Evans won’t be sky rocketing up rankings based on today’s news, it should give you a smile as owners of these two.
While owners of Sims may wanted to see Martin leave, and owners of Martin may have had high hopes for him to land in Dallas, this seems to be the best fit for everyone involved. We’ve seen in past years free agents move, and it kills their fantasy value. Mike Wallace was a bust in Miami. Julius Thomas has not produced his Denver-like levels in Jacksonville. While not a free agent move, Trent Richardson tripped over his own feet in Indianapolis. Sometimes the best fit is staying at home.
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