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Fantasy football: Bucs’ Doug Martin is type of rusher owners crave

Doug Martran for 95 yards against Panthers his debut. | J. Meric~Getty Images

Doug Martin ran for 95 yards against the Panthers in his debut. | J. Meric~Getty Images

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Broncos at Falcons: Matt Ryan is coming into his own. Peyton Manning is back in his element. This has the makings of a shootout.


Raiders at Dolphins: The only player worth starting and the only player worth watching is Darren McFadden.


Bengals WR A.J. Green: Browns top cornerback Joe Haden begins serving his suspension this week.

Panthers WR Steve Smith: In two games against the Saints last season, he averaged 18 yards per catch and scored in each game.

Vikings WR Percy Harvin: He had five runs and six catches Sunday. If he’s that involved against the Colts, look out.


Cardinals running backs: Neither Beanie Wells nor Ryan Williams has distinguished himself.

Lions RB Kevin Smith: The 49ers are not to be trifled with.

Chargers RB Ronnie Brown: Norv Turner gave him a quick hook as the lead back in place of Ryan Mathews. You do the same.



• WR Antonio Brown: 4 catches, 74 yards

• RB Steven Jackson: 21 rushes, 53 yards (4-31 receiving)

• WR Nate Washington: 2-53, TD


• RB Cedric Benson: 9-18

• QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: 195 yards,
3 TDs, 3 INTs

• RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 18-91, TD

Updated: October 14, 2012 1:32PM

Everyone is looking for a workhorse running back. Though there are fewer these days, they’re out there. A few who might have surprised fantasy owners showed themselves Sunday. The question is whether they’re capable — or will be allowed — to carry the load for the long haul.

Shonn Greene, Jets

Remember this guy blowing up defenders at Iowa? In three NFL seasons, all he’s done is blow up owners’ lineups. So don’t give too much thought to starting Greene next week against the Steelers. On Sunday, he rushed 27 times for 94 yards and a touchdown in a surprisingly lopsided victory against the Bills. Greene will have plenty of chances in the Jets’ run-first offense, but it won’t mean a lot if he’s averaging 3.5 yards per carry. Plus, Tim Tebow is looming. Greene still is worth a roster spot, but he’s best used as a No. 3 running back or flex play.

Doug Martin, Buccaneers

New Bucs coach Greg Schiano wants to pound the ball down the opposition’s throat, and he wants Martin to do it. The Bucs drafted the Boise State product with the second-to-last pick in the first round, and Schiano already has compared him to Ray Rice, whom Schiano coached at Rutgers. Martin had a Rice-like role Sunday, rushing 24 times for 95 yards and catching four passes for 23 yards. The only thing he didn’t do was score. LeGarrette Blount is still around, and he had three 100-yard games last season. But he isn’t nearly the complete package that Martin is. Figure him as a No. 2 running back with the chance to move up.

Alfred Morris, Redskins

If you’re familiar with Mike Shanahan, you know you can’t trust him when it comes to running backs. So take Morris’ 28 carries, 96 yards and two touchdowns with a grain of salt. The sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic earned Shanahan’s faith in the preseason, leading the team in rushing. But Roy Helu and Evan Royster aren’t going anywhere, and both are more adept receivers than Morris. Shanahan even couched his commitment to Morris by saying he’ll go with the hot hand when he has to. Last season, Helu had the hot hand from Week 12 to 14, and Royster had it in Weeks 16 and 17. Odds are each will get it again this season.

Stevan Ridley, Patriots

A Patriots running back carried at least 20 times only twice last season, so don’t go all-in on Ridley just yet. He carried 21 times for 125 yards and a touchdown Sunday, and that was with three new linemen. As promising as that is, the offense belongs to Tom Brady, and coach Bill Belichick is the best at mixing and matching personnel. Danny Woodhead will get his carries, and Shane Vereen figures to return at some point from a foot injury. Even if Ridley remains the Patriots’ lead runner, he won’t put up the yardage of other lead runners. The Pats have had just one 1,000-yard rusher since 2005. The touchdowns should come, though, so consider Ridley a No. 2 back.

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