Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team Outlook
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Buccaneers Offense Outlook
Tampa would love to run the ball better to take the pressure off their young, restructured defense. Unfortunately, game score will lead to a ton of passing attempts. In 2018, the Bucs ran the ball 38.4 percent of the time while ranking fourth in the NFL in passing attempts (625).
Fair Evaluation: Only a backend QB2 until he improves his decision making in the red zone.
Heading into his fifth season in the NFL, Winston lost the feel of a franchise quarterback. Last Tampa threw the ball a ton, but Jameis was outshined too many times by veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Over his previous 22 starts, he has 6-16 record while gaining 7.9 yards per pass attempt. In his nine starts, Winston passed for over 300 yards in five contest while producing only two games with more than two TDs. He averaged 38 passes in his starts. His season started with ten Ints and only six TDs over his first 148 pass attempts.
Tampa lacks pass-catching talent at RB, and they lost two of their top four WRs (Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson) in the offseason. They need a healthy season from a developing TE O.J. Howard. Jameis lacks a WR3 of value while expecting his top two WRs to be productive. I only see about 4,000 passing yards with a chance at 27 to 30 TDs. I like Bruce Arians as a head coach, which may lead to more upside than I’m willing to project in late June.
(From Twitter: Jameis Winston might be a perfect fit for Bruce Arians’ vertical passing attack. Winston is the only QB to average 10+ air yards per pass attempt since 2016. Just behind him on the list? Arians’ QB in Arizona, Carson Palmer.)
Other Options: Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Griffin, Nick Fitzgerald
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Fair Evaluation: Jones is only an RB3 with a low ceiling and questions with his value in the passing game. With 250 touches, Ronald should gain between 1,000 and 1,100 yards with a chance at six to eight TDs.
His rookie season ended up being a disaster. After being inactive over the first three games due to weakness in his play over the summer, Tampa gave him a chance off the bench in Week 4, but he gained only 28 combined yards with one catch. Over his next three contests, Ronald gained only 48 yards with one TD and five catches on 14 touches before injuring his hamstring.
Over three seasons at USC, Jones gained 4,242 combined yards with 42 TDs and 32 catches. His best success came in his junior season in 2017 when he gained 1,737 yards with 20 TDs and 14 catches on 275 touches. Ronald added more bulk in 2017, and it helped his explosiveness in the trenches. He runs with patience and quickness, but his move to the second level of the defense can be explosive when he able to get full strides with his legs. Jones offers subtle cuts and shoulder fakes to create separation in the open field. His appears to stall in short areas when he doesn’t have the space to open up his stride.
I like his vision and his ability to hit the gas when Ronald sees daylight. He showed hands catching ability, which gives him a chance to be much better than in the passing games at the next level. His ability to pass protect will help him on third downs.
Jones’ Fantasy Outlook
As much as like his upside, I have to take in the weakness of the Bucs’ offensive line. Jones will be the top RB on Tampa in 2019, but he will struggle in games vs. defense with strength against the run and a plus defensive line. The change in coaching staff gives him a much cleaner opportunity while already receiving positive reports in the early OTAs. Last year Tampa’s RBs gained 1,530 combined yards with nine TDs and 68 catches on 372 touches.
Fair Evaluation: Only a backup player for me while restraining to roster him on any team even with a favorable price point. His lack of explosiveness shines brightly in his career NFL resume (3.8 yards per rush).
Tampa gave Barber plenty of chances in 2018, which showed why he doesn’t deserve a starting job in the NFL. He gained 871 yards on 234 carries with five rushing TDs, but his lack of success per carry (3.7) is the glowing signal to push him to a backup role in 2019. Peyton caught 20 of his 29 targets for 92 yards and a TD, but again, he lacked success in big plays (4.6 yards per catch). He made 16 starts last year, leading to 254 touches.
(Update 7/2: A recent report from The Athletic’s Greg Auman said that Barber is “certainly likely” to finish with more yards than Ronald Jones.)
Other Options: Andre Ellington, Dare Ogunbowale, Bruce Anderson
Fair Evaluation: The downgrade at WR in Tampa this year should lead to an uptick in targets for Big Mike, but I expect regression his yards per catch. His floor should be 90 catches for 1,300 yards with a chance at double-digit TDs.
The best part about the success of Evans in 2018 was his growth in his catch rate (62.3), which may be more a result of Ryan Fitzpatrick than Jameis Winston. Last year he only had two more targets than 2017 (136), but Mike finished with 88.30 more Fantasy points in PPR leagues. In each of his five years in the NFL, Evan gained over 1,000 yards while averaging 79 catches per season. He’s scored 40 TDs in his 77 career games. In 2019, he set career highs in receiving yards (1,524) and yards per catch (17.7).
Last year he had eight games with over 100 yards receiving and ten games with six catches or more. Over the last eight games of the year, Evans averaged only 7.5 targets per game.
From Twitter: Mike Evans has had five straight seasons of 1000+ yards to start his career. His QBs have been: Josh McCown, Mike Glennon, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jameis Winston. He’s the same age as Kenny Golladay.
Fair Evaluation: Godwin should receive 120+ targets leading to 75+ catches for 1,100+ yards and value in TDs, which make him a WR2 in PPR leagues in 2019.
Over his first two years in the NFL, Godwin only had seven starts in 32 games. He played well in his rookie season (34/525/1) off the bench with growth in 2018 (59/842/7). Last year Chris averaged almost six targets per game with six games of value (5/56/1, 5/74/1, 6/56/1, 7/103, 5/101/1, and 6/114/2). Godwin did struggle in six games (2/32, 2/40, 1/13, 0/0, and 3/39). Tampa started him over the last five games, which led to 15 catches for 267 yards and three TDs on 34 targets.
Over his last two seasons at Penn State, Godwin caught 128 passes for 2,083 yards and 16 TDs. His game will add an exciting dynamic to Tampa’s passing attack. Chris has the speed to beat a defense deep while showing a willingness to work the middle of the field. His first step and release will be challenged against press coverage, but he does have enough quickness and route running ability to create separation over the short areas of the field. His hands are an edge, and he will catch many jump balls.
Last year the Bucs’ WRs caught 263 passes with 4,014 yards and 24 TDs on 416 targets.
Fair Evaluation: Player to follow this summer as he may emerge as the WR3 option for Tampa in 2019.
Watson had an impressive career at Penn where Watson improved in every season. He brings size (6’3” and 225 lbs.) to the wide receiver position while flashing better than expected speed (4.40) on his pro day. His game played well in college due to his TE type frame, but his initial quickness may lead to a tighter passing window in the pros. His route running and hands project well, but Justin needs to add more to his base foundation skill set. He works hard with the smarts to address his weakness. His next step is proving he can beat better players in the NFL. In his rookie season, Justin only had one catch for five yards on three targets.
Fair Evaluation: Only a deep threat while being a tough Fantasy ride.
At this point in his career, Perriman will go down as a bust. The Ravens drafted him in the first round in 2015. After a respectable rookie campaign (33/499/3) even with a short catch rate (50 percent), Breshad only has 26 catches for 417 yards and two TDs on 60 targets in 2017 and 2018. Tampa would like him to fill some of the lost void created by DeSean Jackson moving to the Eagles.
Other Options: Bobo Wilson, K.J. Brent, Anthony Johnson, DaMarkus Lodge, Cortrelle Simpson
Fair Evaluation: I don’t like his injury path, but I can’t help but love his upside. With 16 games played, O.J. will catch 70+ balls for 1,000+ yards and score double-digit TDs.
Even with short targets (4.8 per game) over his ten games played in 2018, Howard was well on his way to a productive season at TE. O.J. finished with seven games with double-digit Fantasy points in PPR leagues (3/96/1, 6/72, 4/62/1, 5/67, 4/68/1, 4/53/2, and 5/78) thanks to his big play (16.6 yards per catch) and scoring ability (five TDs). Over 24 games in his career, Howard scored 11 TDs with strength in his catch rate (69.0). His season ended in Week 11 due to a broken right ankle that didn’t require surgery.
In 2017, his season ended late in December with an injury to the same ankle. Earlier in the year, O.J. also left a game early with a knee issue. Last year the TEs in Tampa caught 73 passes for 911 yards and 11 TDs on 105 targets, which was well below their success in 2017 (84/1124/13 on 124 targets). This year the TE position will be the third option in the passing game for the Bucs with Howard scheduled to be the most reward.
Fair Evaluation: A viable handcuff for O.J. Howard and I wouldn’t rule out a rebound in value if the WR3 and WR4 in the Bucs offense don’t emerge.
After two nice seasons (57/660/8 and 48/591/6), Brate looked like a lost soul in 2018 even with a starting role late in the season. He caught 30 of his 49 targets for 289 yards and six TDs. His catch rate (61.2) regressed for the third straight year while also setting a career low in yards per catch (9.6). Cameron failed to catch over three passes in any game, and he never reached the 40-yard mark in receiving yards.
Other Options: Antony Auclair, Jordan Leggett, Tanner Hudson, Donnie Ernsberger
Fair Evaluation: May surprise with playable value at times if he has success early in the year from long range.
Over two seasons at Utah, Gay made all 95 of his extra points with 56 of his 65 field goals (86.2 percent) crossing the uprights. His leg offers length and accuracy for a team that needs someone to stabilize the position. In 2018, Tampa scored 49 TDs while creating 27 field goal chances. I don’t expect the Bucs to run the ball well in the red zone, which helps the overall field goal chances in 2019. Matt should win the job, but a rookie kicker is tough to trust in the Fantasy market.
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