Perhaps the most well-rounded back in the Draft, Martin is oft-criticized for his lack of height (5’9″), but the reality is that his height:weight ratio will serve him well in the NFL. Short and stocky, the speedy Martin (4.47 40) is a shifty runner and a highly competent receiver. Perhaps most importantly, he’s a solid blocker, which means he should be able to stay on the field in virtually all game situations.
In Tampa, Martin will be a terrific fit. The Bucs invested heavily in the offense this offseason, adding Vincent Jackson to the receiving corps. And though Josh Freeman slipped a bit in 2011, there’s good reason to expect that he’ll rebound nicely in 2012. With the addition of Jackson to the passing attack, Martin should get a bit more space to run. And with Martin offering a triple-threat (running, receiving, blocking), the Bucs’ offense is much more well-balanced.
From a fantasy perspective, the big concern is LaGarrett Blount. Blount’s productivity – like Freeman’s – went down a bit in 2011, but he has still managed to run for 1,788 yards (4.6 YPA) and 11 TDs in his first two seasons. With him on the roster, it’s unlikely that Martin will be a bell-cow back for the Bucs. And if he only gets 60-70% of the snaps, his short-term fantasy value will be diminished while his dynasty value will go up (less wear and tear = greater durability).
Look for Martin to offer additional value in PPR leagues. And even with Blount retaining a somewhat prominent role, Martin could still approach 1,400-1,500 combined yards from scrimmage (rushing plus receiving) and a handful of TDs. In other words, a very serviceable fantasy option in today’s RBBC NFL, but not a difference-making RB1 (and particularly not in non-PPR leagues).