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Fantasy Football: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team Preview: Bets, Best Ball, Sleepers, Busts

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Ben Rasa is back to give out his FREE NFL Picks against the spread, & discuss some NFL Odds and NFL lines heading into Week 3.

With ESPN and Yahoo NFL Fantasy Football leagues starting shortly, and Best Ball leagues already going, our goal is to get you prepped early for your upcoming NFL fantasy drafts with our team previews that feature a look into key positional additions and departures, breakdowns, and possible sleepers. As well we’ve got our early season NFL DFS hot takes to get you ready for Week 1.

Awesemo’s Season Long NFL Fantasy Football projections and rankings are OUT! And they are customizable and can be used as ESPN Fantasy Football Rankings or Yahoo Fantasy Football Rankings for whichever host site you use for your league.

You can find them right HERE.

We’ll be releasing four team previews per week, starting June 25 and going through August 16, beginning with the AFC East.

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Last day’s preview:

New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Fantasy Football Preview

  1. Overview
  2. Key Fantasy Departures: Targets
  3. Offensive additions
  4. Best Ball ADP
  5. Positional breakdowns: QB, WR, RB, TE, O-line
  6. Preseason players to watch
  7. Early season NFL DFS Picks
  8. Nolan’s Best Ball Advice
  9. Betting guide
  10. NFL Fantasy players to target
  11. Biggest question mark
  12. Fantasy football sleepers
  13. Awesemo’s fantasy football rankings
  14. News and updates: check back throughout the next two months
  15. Final thoughts

Fantasy Football Overview

Under Todd Monken’s air raid, this Tampa Bay finished as the #1 passing offense in the NFL last year with 5,125 yards and 8.6 yards per attempt. Monken and most of the Bucs coaching staff is gone, replaced by well-respected former Arizona Cardinals boss Bruce Arians. Under Arians and new OC Byron Leftwich this team will still be pass-happy, but probably not close to the level we saw last season. Arian’s passing offenses are notoriously good, and haven’t finished outside the top half in the league since 2009, but they also only have on top-10 finish over that span.

With this offense set up pretty well, the Bucs turned their attention to the defensive side of the ball during the draft, grabbing five defenders with their first five picks. Devin White will step into a starting LB role, and if one of the DBs they drafted can step in, this defense should be improved, especially with the addition of Ndamukong Suh clogging those running lanes.

Pass rate: 6th (63%)

Run rate: 27th (37%)

Pace: 7th (27 seconds per play)

Key Fantasy Departures: Targets

  • DeSean Jackson: 72
  • Adam Humphries: 103

Offensive additions

  • none

Best Ball ADP

  • 19) Mike Evens (WR7)
  • 42) Chris Godwin (WR18)
  • 49) O.J. Howard (TE4)
  • 103) Jameis Winston (QB13)
  • 104) Ronald Jones (RB39)
  • 116) Peyton Barber (RB45)
  • 224) Cameron Brate (TE30)
  • 251) Breshad Perriman (WR108)

Quarterback

Famous Jameis Winston returns for his fifth year option year as the unquestioned starter in Tampa Bay. His first four have been a mixed bag, filled with, erratic, interception-filled play that’s led to benchings and concerns over unrealized potential. During that span, Winston season highs are a modest 28 TDs and 4,100 passing yards. Outside of the picks, Winston’s other greatest weakness is his deep ball accuracy, when he ranked 21st out of 24 qualifiers in deep ball passer rating and 23rd in adjusted completion percentage last year.

But there’s reason for optimism. Awesemo’s projections have Winston ranked as his second highest projected quarterback in the NFL this season. That might sound outlandish, but when you look a little closer, it isn’t. In the the eight games Winston started and finished last season, he averaged 26.1 fantasy points, which was the 4th highest mark in the NFL. Of course, the good news is that you don’t have to take him at that ADP, but reaching a round early is a fine idea.

Wide Receivers

There are a lot of quality targets up for grabs in this offense, with slot receiver Adam Humphries off to Tennessee and DeSean Jackson back in Philadelphia. There are 1,500 yards available between those two, and someone in this core is getting a portion of them, even if they do pass less this season. That should mean a huge boost for Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard and a more concentrated offense, easier to stack for NFL DFS purposes.

Mike Evans posted another elite fantasy season last year, with an 86-1524-8 line and the 12th highest PFF receiving grade in the league. Believe it or not, he’s still just 25-years-old, so there may still be improvement coming. Last year Evans set career highs in every offensive category except TDs, and finished as the WR6.

Adam Humphries 472 snaps in the slot will likely be replaced by a committee, with Chris Godwin leading the way. Godwin is the fantasy football tout darling of the 2019 offseason, and for good reason. Bruce Arians is on record as saying Godwin will spend more time in the slot and could be a “100 catch guy” this season and that he’ll “never come off the field.” The problem is that he’s being drafted as a middle of the pack WR in the same range as players like Robert Woods — who doubled Godwin’s offensive totals last year. Godwin could easily move into that borderline WR1-2 range, but at his ADP, you’re not getting much of a discount.

If you want a Best Ball deep sleeper, Breshad Perriman is a decent last round flier. The Ravens and Browns castoff has always had the physical measurables, he’s just never put it together. There isn’t much competition on this team right now for snaps in 3WR sets, should he should be the defacto receiver. He’s an ersatz replacement for DeSean Jackson, with a little more size and a little less speed. Perriman averaged 21.3 yards per reception last season.

 Running Back

Word around the NFL as that Ronald Jones came into last season with a FIGJAM attitude. That must have been a humbling experience, because Jones barely touched the ball last year, started zero games and didn’t dress for seven. He as the youngest RB in the NFL last year though, so perhaps a year of seasoning will lead to increased maturity. Jones has reportedly looked good in camp and is given a chance to win the starting job. Peyton Barber is currently listed as the starter, but this could very well end up as a time share. At this point, Barber is the safer bet, and Jones has the higher upside.

Dare Ogunbowale may carve out a role as a third down back. He’s been a preseason standout.

Tight End

How many Fantasy Football Sleepers can one team have? OJ Howard the consensus choice for the most likely TE to break into the elite group at the top. Recurring foot and ankle injuries have limited his playing time over the past two seasons. He finished with 53-794-6 line in 2018, which would have placed him fourth overall in TE scoring over a full season.

Cameron Brate is also going to get some time in 2TE sets and has historically been Winston’s favorite target of the two. He’s more of weekly DFS flier than anything though, unless Howard misses any action.

Offensive line

Trending: Neutral

Run Blocking Rate: 28th

Pass Blocking rate: 22nd

This line returns four of five starters in 2019, including LG Ali Marpet, who ranked as PFF’s 10th graded overall guard last season. That’s not neccesarily a goo thing. Center Ryan Jensen had a tough first year in Tampa, allowing 25 pressures while committing 11 penalties, while both Donovan Smith and Demar Dotson finished in the bottom third of qualified tackles. They didn’t add anyone, so improvement will have to come from within. PFF has them ranked as the 24th best unit this season.

Preseason players to watch

  • The running back battle between Barber and Jones. Though it might not be all that telling.
  • Breshad Perriman: is anyone challenging him for the third wide receiver role?

Early season NFL DFS Picks

  • There’s a possible shootout on the horizon against the 49ers in Week 1. That game total is at 50 and I’d guess it’s going to go up. I will be stacking both sides of this one, especially with this newly concentrated Tampa offense.

Nolan’s Best Ball Advice

  • I’m trusting Awesemo’s projections, and the small sample size we had with Winston last year in games he started and finished, and taking him around or two early.
  • Godwin and Howard are fine picks at their current ADP, but their upside is baked into their price.
  • I’ve been grabbing a lot of Ronald Jones, on the off chance he takes the next step and holds down the starter role. Starting to regret that a bit, but he’s still an upside RB that should be at least in a time share as a worst case scenario.

2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview

Best Bets: 2019 O/U Win Total – 6.5 (Over -105, Under -125)

There is some promise surrounding every NFC South team … and then there is the Bucs. Its not an especially great time to be Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, as the team is in flux and the leash on Jameis’ long term future with the club is incredibly short. This should make them a team to keep an eye on for a lot of reasons, but they still have a ton of fantasy relevance as this offense led the league in passing in 2018.

Ben’s Favorite Player to Target

Chris Godwin  – WR

Ryan Fitzpatrick has departed so this is Jameis’ team for the immediate future and that stability at QB can only help. Add in that Godwin should get a ton more work with DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries both moving on and we have a guy who is ready to breakout. OJ Howard and Mike Evans will keeps defenses honest, but Godwin’s volume is secure in an offense that should still be throwing the ball all over with Arians as the coach. He gets a boost in PPR leagues, but is viable in all formats and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him finish as a top 20 WR this year in fantasy.

Biggest Fantasy Football Question

What do we make of Tampa’s running back situation?

Ronald Jones had a god awful rookie season, but maybe the coaching change and a year experience will get him back on track. So far the reports out of camp have been positive and that means him and Peyton Barber both should be involved each and every week. Both guys carry some risk, but at the ADP they are coming off the board I think either of them are intriguing stashes in the late rounds as they possibly could become the lead back on this roster. The ability to catch passes will bolster the floor with a guy like Jones, and although the career got off to a miserable start he still has plenty of opportunities to show why the Bucs were high on him coming into the year.

Fantasy Football Sleeper

Jameis Winston – QB

The Bucs don’t have a true sleeper that I see as most of the production will be coming from the main weapons and I’m not sure that a guy like Anthony Johnson gets enough time or has a role in this offense right off the bat. Winston has had his problems in the league and he’s on shaky ground, but there is no doubting he has some mega upside when he is on the field. In 2 QB leagues he certainly has value and in Best Ball he’s worth a flyer as that upside and having to keep up with the NFC South firepower should have the Bucs airing it out often. The downside of Winston is significant, but the opportunity cost justifies taking a shot with a guy that has shown talent isn’t the issue and he can win some games when things are rolling.

Awesemo’s Season Long Rankings

Awesemo’s Season Long NFL Fantasy Football projections and rankings are OUT! And they are customizable and can be used as ESPN Fantasy Football Rankings or Yahoo Fantasy Football Rankings for whichever host site you use for your league.

You can find them right HERE.

Updates

Updates posted throughout the offseason.

Final Thoughts

The NFC South is a competitive strong division and that is bad news for a Bucs team that seems destined to be in the basement. Arians takes over and if he can get the most out of Winston and the play makers the offense should be good, but still most likely unable to compete with the top end teams. Godwin is primed to breakout this year and both running backs will get their chances to become fantasy relevant since there isn’t a lot of depth behind them on this team. Overall a sub .500 year seems like a lock in Tampa, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grab a weapon or two in Fantasy as they still have some pieces to be excited about in 2019.

I've been obsessed with fantasy sports since as long as I can remember. Back in 1993, while seated in the last row of Mr. MacMillan's math class, I'm fairly certain a few buddies of mine and I invented daily fantasy sports -- popping down our fivers and using nothing more than a newspaper box score, we'd make our NHL player picks for the night's action. Twenty years later I started out playing DFS on DraftStreet, when three-max tourneys with 490 people were a big deal, and I've been hooked ever since. More than anything, I'm interested in getting better as a player, and in helping you become a better player. Armed with Awesemo's grades and the projections from our experts, we're here to help you take the next step. You can contact me by emailing support@awesemo.com.

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