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2024 Player Outlooks: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

By Michael O'Hara | 6/29/24 |

QB Baker Mayfield
(2023 QB Rank – No.17, 16.7 FPts/G)

After beginning his career with minimal stability as a starting quarterback, Baker Mayfield has seemingly found a home in Tampa Bay. Mayfield signed a $99 million extension with the Buccaneers this offseason, locking him in for an additional three seasons.

Mayfield was a mediocre fantasy option from a per-game standpoint in 2023. However, he finished as the QB10 overall and delivered 7 QB1 performances across the year.

The Bucs are “running it back” with Mayfield at QB and the Godwin-Evans duo as his primary weapons. The only key component of last year’s core that will not be back is former OC Dave Canales.

With Tampa Bay’s primary players returning, the outlook for Mayfield should not be far off from what we saw last year. He will be able to deliver some QB1 weeks given the elite weapons around him, but finishing as a QB2 in FPts/G is what we should expect. Mayfield offers little upside and should only be drafted with plans to use him on bye weeks or in case of emergency.

Rachaad White

RB Rachaad White
(2023 RB Rank – No. 10, 15.8 FPts/G)

Rachaad White was one of fantasy football’s biggest breakouts in 2023. He emerged from the running back dead zone to deliver an RB4 season (overall) in PPR leagues. White’s dominant fantasy performance came on the back of massive volume, racking up over 300 touches including 64 receptions – 4th among all running backs.

White dominated the Tampa Bay backfield in every capacity. He handed 67 percent of rushing attempts, ran 383 routes (2nd among RBs), and received nearly every goal-line carry. At a volume-driven position, this is all you can from your fantasy RB.

Heading into 2024, White is a highly debated player. Sure, he delivered a high-end fantasy season but he didn’t look the best doing it. He struggled in nearly every running back efficiency metric. This included missed tackles forced per attempt, breakaway run rate, rush yards over expected, and more.

The path to success for White is once again dominating touches. Some drafters are hesitant about this outcome and shy away from the inefficiency which is why you’ll find him in the high-end RB2 range in most drafts.

RB Bucky Irving
(2023 RB Rank – N/A)

Tampa Bay added another Pac 12 (RIP) player to their offense, selecting former Oregon running back Bucky Irving. In the eyes of the Bucs coaching staff, Irving will ideally be able to take some work off White’s plate. Tampa Bay’s coaches and front office have made it clear that they want to reduce White’s workload. They gave Chase Edmonds and Sean Tucker tryouts last season to play this complementary role but neither met expectations and White remained the bell-cow.

The question becomes, can Irving be the secondary option in this backfield? Although he struggled in athletic testing, his production in college indicates that he could be an effective back in the NFL. This is especially true as a pass-catcher. Irving was the FBS leader in receptions among RBs last season.

At this point, Irving is nothing more than a late-round flier. His value is primarily driven by the fact that he has little competition for the RB2 job in Tampa Bay.

WR Mike Evans
(2023 WR Rank – No.10, 16.6 FPts/G)

It seems that Mike Evans will never slow down. In 2023, he extended his 1000-yard streak to 10-straight years and had one of his best seasons at 30 years old. This came in a season where Evans had plenty of doubters due to his age and uncertain quarterback situation. Evans had elite fantasy production and looked the part on the field as well. Nothing from his season seemed flukey and he proved to still be an elite receiver.

The fantasy community seems more than willing to bet on Evans heading into his age 31 season. He comes off the board as the WR17, a price that seems to bake in the fact that he may not be able to reproduce his 13 touchdowns from a year ago.

Similar to Mayfield, we can expect 2024 to be more of the same from a usage and production standpoint for Evans. He should see a high number of targets with a deep aDOT that can lead to big plays and spike weeks. With Mayfield proving to be capable of supporting this offense and Evans showing no signs of slowing down, he seems to be a reliable pick in fantasy drafts this season.

WR Chris Godwin
(2023 WR Rank – No. 34, 12.3 FPts/G)

Unlike his teammate Mike Evans, Chris Godwin showed significant signs of regression last season. Godwin was a WR3 in FPts/G, his worst performance since 2018.

However, we should not expect more of the same with Godwin as we are with Evans and Mayfield. There is reason to believe that Godwin can return to be the steady WR2 that he has been for years.

Dave Canales’ offense worked wonders for the majority of the weapons in Tampa Bay. Godwin was the exception. Throughout his career, Godwin has been heavily featured as a slot receiver as 50-60 percent of Godwin’s snaps came in the slot during his most successful fantasy seasons. Under Canales in 2023, this number was just 32 percent.

The Buccaneers’ new offensive coordinator, Liam Coen, has already indicated that Godwin will be their primary inside receiver. He even said that it could be in a “Cooper Kupp-like” role. Coen was the Rams’ WR coach when Kupp had his breakout year.

With a move back to the slot, Godwin should consistently see layup targets that bump his catch rate and overall production. He is currently drafted as the WR36 and seems like a massive value at that price. A return to WR2 form for Godwin with more slot routes is a very reasonable expectation.

WR Jalen McMillan
(2023 WR Rank – N/A)

Jalen McMillan was part of the trio of University of Washington receivers who were selected in this year’s draft. Despite being the final player drafted of the trio, McMillan showed the ability to compete with NFL-caliber talent. An injury-riddled 2023 at UW also played a factor in his lesser draft capital.

McMillan will have to compete with Trey Palmer for the WR3 role in Tampa Bay. But surpassing Palmer on the depth chart is not an impossible task. McMillan showed an ability to play outside and in the slot during his time at Washington. This versatility should give McMillan an opportunity to make an impact as a rookie. However, the extent of this impact will likely be on the smaller side. Even if he can carve out a regular role, he would likely be the 4th or 5th option on this offense. McMillan is nothing more than a late-round flier who could provide value if Evans or Godwin went down with injury.

TE Cade Otton
(2023 TE Rank – No. 23, 6.9 FPts/G)

Cade Otton is one of the more unique cases at tight end. He is intriguing because he is always on the field, with little competition for snaps. Otton was second among TEs in total routes run last season and had a route participation of 100 percent. Unfortunately, these tend to be empty routes that rarely lead to targets as he was targeted on just 11.8 percent of his routes last season.

In a quality matchup, Otton is capable of drawing 8-plus targets in a game but these games only come a few times each season. Otton only delivers impactful fantasy days when he finds the endzone which aren’t exactly common and he has six TDs in his two-year career. Otton provides little upside and should not be a target on draft boards this season.

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