Doug Martin wasn’t profiled in this column last week since he played on Thursday night, but he led the league in fantasy points after his dismantling of the Vikings defense for 135 yards rushing and 79 yards receiving to go along with two touchdowns. That came after a slow start to the season, even though he showed glimmers of his speed, power and cut on a dime ability in the first six games, it wasn’t until week eight that he broke out and that was supposed to be his breakout game, that is until yesterday.
Coming into Sunday’s game, the Oakland Raiders had allowed just 114 rushing yards over the last three games at a paltry 2.4 yards per carry. And for the season they were giving up a nice 3.7 yards per carry, that is until the Muscle Hamster got through with them. Now they are giving up 4.6 yards per carry on the year. That tectonic shift in yards given up per carry was due to one of the best rushing days by a rookie running back ever.
Martin had a total of 31 yards rushing against the Raiders at halftime and no touchdowns. One half later he had touchdown runs of 45, 67, 70 and 1 yards to go along with 251 yards. That puts his single day rushing tally at 10th all time, 3rd for a rookie, and first for a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. And the combination of 251 yards rushing and four touchdowns has only been done only once before by Mike Anderson, who had the exact same line. Oh, and that was the first time ever that anyone ever ran for three 40+ yard touchdowns in a game.
In the last two games for Mr. Martin has rushed 54 times for 386 yards and 5 touchdowns for 7.1 yards per carry while tacking on 7 receptions for 100 yards and 1 touchdown. Before those two games he was the 18th ranked fantasy running back and now he’s the number one fantasy back.
So does this mean he’s going to rip off multiple touchdowns and 200+ yard days from here on out? Of course not, but there’s nothing fluky about these performances. He has all the tools to break down fools.
Andrew Luck – If this weren’t a fantasy centric article, I probably would have thrown young Mr. Luck into the spotlight instead of Mr. Hamster. Luck broke Cam Newton’s rookie record of 432 yards passing in a game by throwing for 433 yards against Miami on Sunday. He now has 2,404 yards passing at the midway point, which extrapolates to 4,808 yards passing, which would also break the rookie record set by Newton, but by a little more than one yard. Newton’s record of 4,051 passing yards is looking ripe for the taking by Luck at this point. Luck now has four 300+ yard games just halfway through his rookie season, that ties him with Peyton Manning’s record of four his rookie season and there are eight games to go.
Adrian Peterson – While Doug “E. Fresh” Martin took a look at his single game rushing record, Peterson was also having himself a huge game. He rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns on just 17 carries against what was earlier in the season a dominant rush defense in Seattle. Peterson continues to amaze with his dominance after blowing his knee out on Christmas Day last season.
Eric Decker – Decker has become a touchdown machine. Even last season with Tim Tebow throwing his way, he found the end zone with uncanny ease. Against the Bengals he finished the game with eight receptions for 99 yards and two touchdowns. That’s five straight games with a touchdown and back-to-back games with two touchdowns. Let me get my calculator out, and . . . that makes seven touchdowns in his last five games.
Mikel Leshoure – Leshoure only had one touchdown in the previous five games, but he came up with three in the first half against the Jaguars on Sunday. He finished the game with 70 yards rushing, but wasn’t on the field in garbage time. LeShoure is a good back, but Joique Bell has been taking away some work along with receptions. This might be a good time to sell high.
Chris Johnson – After fumbling twice and not finding much running room for most of the game, Johnson took off for an 80-yard touchdown run, his fifth 80+ yard touchdown run for his career. This was the big play Chris Johnson we could count on in 2009. It was a little fluky and in garbage time, but not many backs can go 80 yards and take it to the house.
Matt Forte – With the Bears defense and special teams putting the smack down on the Titans early, Forte wasn’t needed all that much, but whenever he had the ball he had his way. He finished with 148 total yards and a touchdown on just 14 touches and could have much more if needed.
Carson Palmer – Doug Martin’s huge game was a nice impetus to get Carson Palmer to throw 61 times, which resulted in 39 completions for 414 yards, 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Which in turn results in a whole bunch of fantasy points for his owners. That puts Palmer as the 9th best fantasy quarterback on the season while averaging 294 yards per game. As long as the Raiders continue giving up points and playing weak defenses, which it looks like they will, he should remain a good fringe starter.
Arian Foster – While All Day and Muscle Hamster stole the spot light away; Arian Foster had a workman like 111 yards and a touchdown, upping his league-leading total to 11 touchdowns on the season. He has 22 touchdowns in his last 17 regular season games.
Isaac Redman – Redman’s 147 yards rushing and a touchdown mark the third straight 100+ yard rushing game by a Steelers’ running back. Redman is not an especially gifted running back, but he takes what’s given to him decisively, much like Jonathan Dwyer. This recent trend is nice for whoever is the Steelers’ running back next week against Kansas City.
Chicago Bears Defense – I don’t delve too often into the defensive side of the ball on here, but Jesus, Joseph and Mary, the Bears are dominating beyond anything I’ve seen before. Charles “Peanut” Tillman forced four fumbles against the Titans, which is a record for one game. Brian Urlacher’s interception return for a touchdown puts the Bears at seven defensive touchdowns on the season, just two from the record. They lead the league with 27 forced turnovers and are tied with Houston with 3.13 sacks per game. Their schedule does get tougher when Houston comes into Soldier field next Sunday night, but this has been a dominant first half of the season.