Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin finished his rookie season in 2012 as the No. 5 rusher in the NFL. He wasted no time in placing his name next to that of Ray Rice, Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson in conversations about the top running backs in the league.
This prompted me to do some research in terms of the historical production of running backs in their second year as a full-time feature back. My findings bode well for Buccaneer fans and fantasy football owners who have or will have Martin on their rosters.
Let me first say that there is no science whatsoever behind my numbers. I took a few stats that were known, averaged them out and came up with a prediction. My results are for entertainment and speculation purposes only and should not be used to make any decisions that could end up placing you in financial hardship.
What I did was looked at the increase or decrease in production of five other running backs in recent history from their first full year as a featured starter to their second. I used Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew and LaDainian Tomlinson as samples.
Peterson saw a 420 yard increase (31%) in total rushing yards from his first year to his second. Arian Foster, on the other hand, saw his rushing total decrease by 392 yards (24%). Rice and Jones-Drew also saw decreases, but not by as much as Foster. Rice went down by 119 yards (8%) while Jones-Drew went back 67 yards (4%). LaDainian Tomlinson had the biggest increase of any feature back in the 21st Century. His rushing production spiked 36% (446 yards).
I took all of those numbers and averaged them out. With LeGarrette Blount out of the picture, there is no reason to believe that Martin’s carries should decrease. With that, I then applied the average to Martin’s 2012 numbers.
The five sample backs yielded an average of a 6.2% increase in production from the first year to the second. When you apply that increase to Martin’s 2012 stats, you end up with an 87 yard increase for a total of 1541 yards.
Like I said, it’s nothing scientific, but it’s interesting to look at. Given recent history and how backs have performed from year to year, I don’t think it’s crazy to expect Martin to break 1500 yards, while I’d be surprised to see him fail to break 1400.
Anyway you look at it, barring injury, history says Doug Martin is a safe bet to continue the success of his rookie year into 2013.
BY J.P. SCOTT ON MAY 14, 2013