Almost everyone has that old romantic flame who keeps reappearing in their lives. Maybe you had an initial attraction, then later parted ways, only to come back together later, then again experience a familiar disappointment that leads to another split.
Well, now that fantasy flame is back again. We just locked eyes from across the room with old fantasy crush Doug Martin. He initially captivated us with an incredible 2012 rookie season — 1,454 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, with another 472 receiving and another TD. We instantly fell in love with him, but then came the hard times.
He was a colossal disappointment in 2013 (just six games, 522 combined yards and one lonely TD). That constituted a we-need-to-talk crisis. Then he went and did it again in 2014 (558 total yards and just two TDs), after we warned him we would not put up with that type of behavior. That was it. We were through.
Then he pleaded with us to take him back in 2015, and he made a compelling case he was a changed man — 1,673 totals yards and seven combined touchdowns. So we took him back, restored our relationship by making him a part of our 2016 fantasy plans. And what did he do? The same bloody thing he did before — fewer than 500 total yards in either of the next two seasons and just three TDs in each. We should have known better.
We knew not to get involved again this year when he made his move to Oakland, where various fantasy careers have gone to die. Besides, he was playing behind Marshawn Lynch. The Raiders aren’t a very good team anyway, so his opportunities might be sparse even in the event of a Lynch injury because they often would be playing from behind.
Then fate stepped in, and Lynch went down with a groin injury. But we weren’t ready to take Martin back. And mostly, we were right. Since Lynch went down, Martin has averaged just 54 yards rushing over seven games. Jalen Richard absorbs most of the passing-down duties, so Martin has averaged fewer than two catches and 15 yards per game in that span. He has three TDs in those seven games, but still a ho-hum average of just 10.6 fantasy points per outing.
But there is something different about him. A glimmer in his eye? A better wardrobe? A more confident posture? Nope, it’s just the fact he is playing the Bengals. Like an average-looking person in a room full of ugly people, it makes Martin appear like a supermodel from our past.
How ugly is the Bengals’ defense? A running back has scored at least one rushing TD in every game against them since Week 5. They have allowed an average of 25.0 fantasy points to opposing lead RBs — and that doesn’t include Mark Ingram’s 25.2-point day, which trailed backfield mate Alvin Kamara (26.2).
Call it a one-week fantasy fling, but we’re gonna hook back up with Martin. There are no strings attached. This is strictly a one-week stand.
Each week Post fantasy Madman Drew Loftis and Roto Rage Jarad Wilk debate whom you should start:
Benjamin Watson vs. C.J. Uzomah
Drew: Watson — Has disappeared in recent weeks. But a sighting could be in the offing against what has been one of the worst defenses vs. opposing fantasy tight ends. Uzomah has been no great shakes himself, disappointing since taking over for the injured Tyler Eifert. And though the Raiders rank worse vs. tight ends than the Panthers, those numbers are inflated by big days from Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Eric Ebron. Those aren’t players we would compare to Uzomah.
Jarad: Uzomah — Watson has a whopping seven targets (and five receptions) … over his past five games in the high-powered Saints offense. Though Uzomah has not put up flashy yardage numbers, he has the 10th-most targets among tight ends (45) since Tyler Eifert went down in Week 4. Did I mention Watson has been targeted five times since Week 10 in an offense that has scored the second-most points in the league? Uzomah faces the Raiders, one of the worst defenses against the TE. Oakland has allowed 84 TE targets, good for 6.5 per game. They have allowed 961 yards (second-most in the NFL) to tight ends. They have also allowed nine TE touchdowns, or one every 9.3 targets. Did I mention Watson has just five targets since Week 10?
Last week: Jarad 17.4 (Austin Ekeler— 15-66, 1 TD rushing, 2-28 receiving), Drew 5.5 (Justin Jackson— 7-12 rushing, 2-23 receiving)
Season: Drew leads series, 8-6
Kirk Cousins QB, Vikings, vs. Dolphins
(FanDuel $7,800/DraftKings $6,200)
We understand reservations regarding Cousins after a collection of fantasy duds. But the Madman thinks this can be a get-right game against a vulnerable Dolphins defense. A good DFS pivot away from what will be a popular Dalvin Cook.
Derek Carr QB, Raiders, at Bengals
(FD $6,800/DK $5,400)
It has been a rough year for all things Raiders, but the Bengals defense is bad. So bad it rates worse than the Oakland offense.
Dion Lewis RB, Titans, at Giants
(FD $5,400/DK $4,600)
Everyone is going to be on Derrick Henry after his historic game, but don’t forget about Lewis. He has more combined touches and yards this season, and the Giants have given up some big games to pass-catching RBs.
Vernon Davis TE, Redskins, at Jaguars
(FD $5,300/DK $3,200)
Jordan Reed is listed as doubtful, and his absence would free up targets for Davis. Because the Jaguars are stronger at cornerback and the Redskins are weak at receiver, it should funnel targets his way, even if they’re coming from Josh Johnson.
Jameis Winston QB, Buccaneers, at Ravens
(FD $7,000/DK $5,600)
We know Winston can be erratic. Sometimes it is easy to spot those face-plant games ahead of time. In the rain and chilly temps Sunday on the road at one of the league’s toughest venues? Forecast: face-plant.
Aaron Jones RB, Packers, at Bears
(FD $7,500/DK $6,600)
The Bears have allowed zero rushing TDs by a running back to any team other than the Lions. This matchup inflames any residual pre-Mike McCarthy-firing distrust in the Packers’ running game.
Sony Michel RB, Patriots, at Steelers
(FD $6,700/DK $5,400)
The Pittsburgh run defense has been stout, outside of a brief disappearance in Weeks 11-12. With points expected, this looks more like a setting benefiting James White than Michel.
Kenny Golladay WR, Lions, at Bills
(FD $6,800/DK $5,400)
Matt Stafford has a back problem and has produced few fantasy points of late. And we have sketchy outlook on the Lions in general — outdoors, in the cold, vs. a stout defense looking for a second straight road win.
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