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Counterpoint - Martin is the pick over Morris
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - On Thursday, my colleague, Jesse Pantuosco, wrote a piece explaining his reasons for selecting Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris over Tampa Bay Buccaneers tailback Doug Martin in this year's fantasy drafts.

His arguments were clearly stated and well thought out ... but wrong.

This is not to denigrate Morris' rookie season. He had an excellent year, rushing for 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns. He totaled 230 fantasy points - good enough for fifth among all backs.

But he's not a better fantasy option than Martin.

Here are the reasons Martin should be selected in front of Morris on draft day:

Although Morris rushed for more yards last season, it was Martin who finished with more total yards from scrimmage because he is a much better pass receiver.

Martin caught 49 balls for 472 yards and a score last season to go along with 1,454 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, finishing third in combined yards (1,926) behind only running back Adrian Peterson and wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

Meanwhile, Morris managed just 11 receptions for 77 yards in 16 games.

Martin was targeted 70 times while Morris just 16 times. This is a significant difference and it's important because it means Martin has value whether his team is ahead and trying to run out the clock or behind and going to the passing game.

If the Redskins fall behind, coach Mike Shanahan could pull Morris for a finally healthy Roy Helu (49 receptions in 2011).

Martin finished last season with 248 points, 18 more than Morris. He also had more touches than Morris by a 368-346 margin. And as my colleague pointed out, that was with Washington posting a winning record and running out the clock more often than the Bucs.

Then there is the Shanahan factor. No coach is more frustrating to fantasy owners than the Redskins head coach, whether it's releasing the health status of his players or changing game plans and/or running backs.

In 2011, Shanahan started four different running backs - Helu five times, Tim Hightower five times, Ryan Torain four times and Evan Royster twice. That wasn't a fluke. He used to do the same thing in Denver with the Broncos' backfield.

While it isn't likely to happen after Morris' performance in 2012, it has to be in the back of every fantasy owner's mind (except perhaps my colleague's - sorry, Jesse!).

Martin rushed for 794 yards in the first eight games and 660 yards in the last eight games, but he still averaged 110.8 yards from scrimmage in the second half of the season.

Meanwhile, the Bucs sent talented backup running back LeGarrette Blount to the New England Patriots, so there are very few other options in their backfield. As a three-down back, Martin should see at least 350-375 touches again this season.

According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, coach Greg Schiano said recently that, "Martin looks better physically this year and can improve his game to another level in his second year."

If true, he should once again be a top-three fantasy back and a better points producer than Morris.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.