There are many reasons why being an NFL running back is enjoyable. Mostly, getting paid to play football for a living and being at a marquee offensive position sounds like a lot of fun. Oh, and the money isn’t bad, and I’ve also heard speculation that attractive members of the opposite sex take kindly to large men with money. However, I cannot verify that with any journalistic integrity.
The only awful part is the horribly short shelf life which often results from the constant pounding. Unless they peak late in their careers (think Fred Jackson, who’s still been productive in his early 30′s), we begin to start counting down to the moment a running back will begin to sip lemonade in a rocking chair when he’s in his late 20′s.
It all feels so cruel, and it’s a process that’s accelerated when the running back in question is the motor of his offense for many years, and he therefore sustains a lot of punishment quickly due to his high volume touches. And thus we’ve arrived at Doug Martin, and the perhaps premature (he’s only entering his second season) yet still real reasons for concern about his workload, and the possibility of a slight fantasy tumble.
I tried to resist posting this, because eventually I’ll be given the keys to the Doug Martin fan bus, and I can only imagine a Martin fantasy fan bus would look something like this, just jammed to the tits with jubilant owners.
So yeah, go wild, because you can. Martin’s 251 rushing yards yesterday tied him for the 10th best single-game rushing performance of all time, and when we add that with his four rushing touchdowns and 21 receiving yards, the math leads to 51 fantasy points using standard scoring. How absurd is that? Absurd enough that he jumped from ninth to first in fantasy points among running backs. In one day.
The conclusion of Week 9′s Sunday afternoon slate of games featured Christian Ponder continuing to be an underwhelming mess, with only 63 passing yards during the Vikings’ loss to Seattle at a pace of just (wait for it) 2.9 yards per attempt. We also saw the appearance of the other Eli Manning, the one who’s wayward and a little frantic in the pocket as he completed just 41.6 percent of his passes. That’s significantly lower than his 61.0 percentage on the season, and it comes a week after he completed just 51.7 percent.
Those were hurtful numbers, both for Manning owners, and anyone who owns anyone on the Vikings’ offense not named Adrian Peterson (he was pretty good too with 182 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries) and wished to see them get the ball with some degree of regularity.
But the two most impressive and surprising developments came in the same game.
Whenever you’re contemplating a trade, it is crucial to check out the fantasy playoff matchups of your potential acquisitions. Fantasy playoff start dates vary from league-to-league (most leagues start in either Week 14 or 15), but they are an absolutely vital piece of information. I would rather have Donald Brown against the Saints defense than Arian Foster against the 49ers. That’s not to say I would trade Foster for Brown – but I wouldn’t want to neglect that information either.
Both of my recommendations this week have great fantasy playoff schedules. Doug Martin has dates with New Orleans and Atlanta, while Antonio Brown will be seeing San Diego, Cleveland, and Baltimore over the final five weeks.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to bounce back in a big way after a surprisingly porous 2011 season under former head coach Raheem Morris. The franchise is now going in a new direction with the leadership of Greg Schiano, who comes from the college ranks and is looking to establish a “Buccaneer way“.
In one of his first moves, Schiano called out running back LeGarrette Blount for his errant ways, which Morris never seemed to do. He also teamed up with general manager Mark Dominik to help acquire Boise State ball carrier Doug Martin by moving back into the first round, which immediately created a competition at the running back position.