Tampa Bay Buccaneers sophomore running back Doug Martin ran the ball 27 times for 45 yards in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Martin has only found the end zone once during his first 4 games of the season and fantasy owners are starting to panic. However, let’s take a further look into Martin’s struggles in the early part of the season. Even though the “Muscle Hamster” has struggled, he is still a must start in any format.
The Arizona Cardinals rank 2nd in the NFL in run defense allowing 75 yards per game. Facing a rookie quarterback, the Cardinals used their secondary to stop big plays in the passing game and focused on stopping the run. This partly explains his problems on Sunday, but the good news is that the Bucs gave Martin the rock 27 times which shows that the coaches want him to have as many opportunities to help the team win.
The defenses that Martin has faced this year have been excellent against the run. For example, New England is 12th overall in rush defense the Saints rush defense is 19th and the New York Jets are 5th. Those are some tough teams to run against which computes to low fantasy scores for Martin owners.
Fantasy owners are handcuffed right now because Martin’s trade value is low. Yet the Tampa Bay Bucs have a good match up coming up in week 6 when they face the Philadelphia Eagles who are ranked 24th overall against the run. If Martin goes off against the Eagles, that would be the best time to try and trade him. After the game against the Eagles, things get ugly again with matchups against Atlanta, Carolina and Seattle.