Fantasy Football: Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount…or is it Blount and Martin?

Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount…..or is it Blount and Martin?
Byron Lambert,

I love Doug Martin and I like LeGarrette Blount more than most. Since the draft, it has been widely assumed that Bucs rookie RB Doug Martin would quickly usurp the lead role in Tampa. The Bucs are expected to implement a heavy rushing attack under new head coach Greg Schiano, which has some fans pretty lathered up about Martin’s rookie fantasy potential. According to this recent report by Greg Rosenthal, not so quick.

We are high on Martin and still believe he belongs on the 1st team all-rookie squad . For me, it was love at first sight when I read Alex’s Senior Bowl Spotlight on Doug Martin prior to attending the week of practices in Mobile, AL.

As for Blount, some feel that at 247 lb. he runs into tackles and doesn’t generate power at the point of attack. He has to gain steam and isn’t a three down back. I am honest enough with myself to acknowledge I’ve seen these shortcomings manifest on several occasions, but I also think that it is a convenient “out” for frustrated fantasy owners. It has to be fair to admit that Blount has demonstrated some real flashes of rushing brilliance. At times he’s been a one man wrecking crew with big play ability (Marshawn “Earthquake” Lynch-ish at times). He has also shown some ability to catch the ball that he has never received any credit for. Blount may not have a ton of receptions on his stat sheet but if you watch the games you have seen him make some nice grabs.

For the benefit of the fantasy football universe, I decided to do a little homework to help reconcile our 2012 fantasy expectations for Martin and Blount. It’s probably my real estate background, but I started thinking “what other scenarios can I use as comps?” When comparing Doug Martin, many draftniks point to Ray Rice, another Greg Schiano disciple during his time at Rutgers. I’ve also heard the rumblings that Blount reminds fans of the “Tiptoe Burglar”, Brandon Jacobs. It struck me that these two players bring to mind two really nice and recent tandem RB situations that we can examine when setting expectations for Blount and Martin. Ahmad Bradshaw joining Brandon Jacobs in 2007, and Ray Rice joining Willis McGahee in 2008.

Both, Rice and Bradshaw have physical builds and running styles that act as reasonable equivalents to Martin. Ray Rice was drafted in the 2nd round while Bradshaw was a 7th round pick. By that measure alone, Rice is the best “comparable” since Doug Martin was a late 1st round talent. Ray-ray is a pretty lofty standard though. An Ahmad Bradshaw comparison seems a bit more reasonable when analyzing Doug Martin, while LeGarrette Blount’s talent as a runner likely falls somewhere between the 264 lb. Brandon Jacobs and the more talented, 235 lb. Willis McGahee. Interestingly enough, Jacobs and McGahee each totaled exactly 21 touchdowns during their first two years of their time splits. Both the Giants and the Ravens were committed to the run during these transitional periods, as Tampa is expected to be. Let’s take a look at how these two scenarios played out over time as Rice and Bradshaw came in to their respective timeshares as rookies and beyond, much like Doug Martin is this year.

Ray Rice

Rookie Season:
13 games played
140 offensive touches
727 offensive yards
0 offensive touchdowns
72.7 gross fantasy points (standard scoring non-ppr leagues)
5.59 gross fantasy points/game

Season 2:
16 games played
332 offensive touches
2,041 offensive yards
8 offensive touchdowns
252.1 gross fantasy points
15.76 gross fantasy points/game

Season 3:
16 games played
370 offensive touches
1,776 offensive yards
6 offensive touchdowns
213.6 gross fantasy points
13.35 gross fantasy points/game

Willis McGahee

Season 1 w/Rice (McGahee’s 2nd yr. w/ BAL):
13 games played
194 offensive touches
844 offensive yards
7 offensive touchdowns
126.4 gross fantasy points
9.72 gross fantasy points/game

Season 2 w/Rice:
16 games played
124 offensive touches
629 offensive yards
14 offensive touchdowns
146.9 gross fantasy points/game
9.18 gross fantasy points/game

Ahmad Bradshaw

Rookie Season:
12 games played
25 offensive touches
202 offensive yards
1 offensive touchdown
26.2 gross fantasy points
2.18 gross fantasy points/game

Season 2:
15 games played
72 offensive touches
397 offensive yards
2 offensive touchdowns
51.7 gross fantasy points
3.45 gross fantasy points/game

Season 3:
15 games played
184 offensive touches
985 offensive yards
7 offensive touchdowns
140.5 gross fantasy points
9.37 gross fantasy points/game

Brandon Jacobs

Season 1 w/Bradshaw (Jacobs 3rd yr. w/NYG):
11 games played
225 offensive touches
1183 offensive yards
6 offensive touchdowns
154.3 gross fantasy points
14.03 gross fantasy points/game

Season 2 w/Bradshaw:
13 games played
225 offensive touches
1125 offensive yards
15 offensive touchdowns
202.5 gross fantasy points
15.58 gross fantasy points/game

LaGarrette Blount

2010 Season:
13 games played
206 offensive touches
1021 offensive yards
6 offensive touchdowns
138.1 gross fantasy points
10.62 gross fantasy points/game

2011 Season:
14 games played
199 offensive touches
929 offensive yards
5 offensive touchdowns
122.9 gross fantasy points
8.79 gross fantasy points/game

Fantasy Analysis:

A quick look at the Rice and Bradshaw rookie seasons might scare the heck out of potential Doug Martin owners. I really like Martin, so I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt considering the monster second season that Ray Rice had. It’s always best to err on the side of caution though. After reviewing the numbers, I feel that Bradshaw’s 3rd season is the best comparable for predicting Martin’s rookie production. Those numbers feel realistic and would represent a very healthy rookie campaign for Martin. This puts Doug Martin’s 2012 fantasy expectations in the 10 point/game range.

The numbers Brandon Jacobs and Willis McGahee posted during the first couple of seasons of their timeshares are very respectable and very encouraging for LeGarrette Blount enthusiasts (insert joke here – there aren’t any). They each scored in the 10-15 point/game range. It was actually in year two of these respective timeshares that Jacobs and McGahee each had monstrous TD seasons. Being that Blount has a 2 yr. career average of 9.71 fantasy points/game and that Tampa is expected to have plenty of rushing attempts to go around this year, I am comfortable that he can continue to operate at that pace.

The addition of Vincent Jackson should open things up for both guys. I see Blount’s touchdown dependence affecting his consistency. Overall though, I have very similar fantasy expectations for Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount in 2012, at about 8-10 points/game. Both men should be thought of as high-end #3 fantasy backs. Obviously, if you are in a keeper or ppr league you should give the nod to Martin. In standard leagues, the decision between the two should come down to draft value. If you can draft one guy significantly later than the other, than that is who I prefer. If you feel that the draft position will be close, then I recommend the age old and time tested Rosterwatch tiebreaker doctrine of sickness. “It’s your team, so when in doubt GET SICK and draft the guy you get more excited about.”

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