This team-based fantasy analysis, focusing on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, aims to identify players who are primed for opportunities in the top-scoring offenses around the league. It also serves as an assessment of each offense and its prospects heading into next season. The stats used for this research are based on a half-PPR scoring format. Redraft rankings are listed for each player in parentheses (not that I like using parentheses).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: No. 6 fantasy offense in 2018 (3rd in passing, 25th in rushing)
The Bucs had one of the most dynamic passing games in the league last year despite cycling through starting quarterbacks. That won’t be an issue in 2019, as Ryan Fitzpatrick has taken his talents to South Beach and the new regime in Tampa seems committed to Jameis Winston as their franchise signal-caller. And honestly, who better to get the most out of the big gunslinger than Bruce Arians? He’s worked wonders with Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and Carson Palmer throughout his career, and this may be his greatest challenge yet.
Jameis Winston has made several mistakes on and off the field that are unbecoming of a franchise quarterback. On the field, it’s been turnovers that have routinely plagued Winston. From a fantasy perspective, turnovers aren’t the worst thing in the world. They count as only -2 fantasy points and help contribute to more shootouts. The Bucs threw 26 interceptions as a team last year (most in the league) and had the third-best fantasy passing offense. Winston is unlikely to dramatically improve his decision-making five years into his career, but he doesn’t have to. Arians has thrived with aggressive quarterbacks in the past and he can live with some of the accompanying mistakes. Winston (QB8) is tailormade for fantasy football and he’s an absolute steal at his current ADP (QB16).
Winston also benefits from all the talented receiving options he has at his disposal, led by big-bodied receiver Mike Evans. Evans has the speed to get downfield and the size to dominate on jump balls, which makes him an elite pass-catcher all over the field. He posted career-highs in receiving yards and catch% last year, further cementing his role as an unstoppable possession receiver. Evans (WR8) is an elite fantasy option, but he has plenty of competition for targets in the dynamic Bucs passing game.
Chris Godwin has been the subject of endless hype this offseason, and for good reason. He’s stepping into a ton of high-value targets with DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries now removed from the offense. Arians said so himself, proclaiming that the third-year receiver could catch close to 100 balls next year. Godwin (WR21) has the talent, opportunity, and athletic ability to succeed, which makes him an intriguing breakout candidate.
The only question surrounding the Bucs passing game is whether there may be too many mouths to feed. O.J. Howard showed elite downfield receiving ability last year, making him another potential breakout candidate in Tampa Bay. He led all tight ends with 16.6 yards/reception last year despite primarily playing with the TE-averse Ryan Fitzpatrick. Winston is much more friendly to the position, showing a propensity to target tight ends often in the red zone (Cameron Brate, we miss you). Howard (TE4) has taken over the starting job in Tampa Bay, and he’s well-positioned to finish the breakout season he started last year.
The Bucs running game is so unremarkable, I nearly forgot to mention it here. Peyton Barber won the starting gig last year over 2nd-round pick, and huge fantasy disappointment, Ronald Jones. The new Bucs coaching staff has been talking up both running backs this offseason, but Jones is the better investment. We saw Barber’s ceiling last year and it was the RB27. Jones, meanwhile, has tons of untapped potential and it’s important to remember he’s only 21 years old. One bad season under Dirk Koetter should not leave his career forever-tainted. Jones (RB34) has a lot of work to do to maximize his talent, but at least he has RB2-potential in this offense.