After an up-and-down 2018 that included a suspension and multiple
benchings for erratic play, Jameis Winston enters 2019 as the
unquestioned starter for new head coach Bruce Arians in what is
a make or break season for the former first overall pick. Winston
is effectively playing for a new contract either with the Bucs
or with another team, which will hopefully motivate the promising
young quarterback to deliver his best season as a professional.
Winston finished the season as the No.9 quarterback in points
per game, tied with Drew Brees and less than a point behind Jared
Goff. If you combine the stats for the two quarterbacks in Tampa
Bay last season, Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick, you would have
had a top-three fantasy quarterback with well over 500 passing
yards and 35 touchdowns.
The addition of head coach Bruce Arians is going to be a positive
for all of the skill portion players in the passing game, especially
Winston, as Arians has a long track record of increasing ADOT
for his receivers and improving the production of his quarterbacks.
Another positive for Winston is the fact that he plays in a tough
division with high scoring teams like the Falcons and Saints,
and the defense for the Bucs projects to be one of the worst in
the NFC. A gun-slinging quarterback with a great head coach, fantastic
skill position players, and a terrible defense is a winning formula
for fantasy production. Let’s just hope Winston isn’t
too much of a gun-slinger and gets benched.
Peyton Barber is the turkey sandwich of fantasy running backs.
There is nothing special about him, and he is not exactly what
you look forward to eating for lunch or draft for your fantasy
team, but he gets the job done and provides a useful level of
fantasy production and takes care of your hunger pains.
Barber’s 3.7 yard per carry average was not impressive,
and he managed to average a pathetic 4.6 yards per reception on
20 catches out of the backfield. He doesn’t do any one thing
exceptionally well, but he did score six total touchdowns and
looks to be the starting running back on what projects to be a
Perhaps the best feature for Barber is he is not Ronald Jones,
a second-round bust from last season who struggled to live up
to his early draft capital. As long as Jones continues to stink
he will make Barber, and otherwise uninspired player, look much
better than he actually is.
Jones was downright dreadful in his rookie season after the Bucs
used a second-round pick on the former USC Trojan in the 2018
NFL Draft. After starting the season off with a poor minicamp
and even worse training camp, Jones could not beat out Peyton
Barber or Doug Martin for the starting job in Tampa. Jones averaged
less than two yards per carry, while looking indecisive and overmatched
when he did get on the field.
The positive for Jones is the team did not add a rookie in the
draft or a free agent veteran to compete for carries. Jones also
will not have to deal with Dirk Koetter’s terrible run scheme
and should get a boost with Bruce Arians similar to what Andre
Ellington did a few years back in Arizona.
Jones is a risky pick with tremendous upside. If you use a late-round
pick on him and he busts you do not lose much. But if he hits
and has low-end RB2 value, he could be one of the better late-round
running backs in 2019.
Evans enters 2018 on the heels of arguably his best season as
a professional, with personal bests for receiving yards and yards-per-receptions
in 2018. The former first-round pick of the 2014 NFL draft posted
eight 100-yard games, with six games of at least ten targets.
With DeSean Jackson moving on via free agency to Philly and Adam
Humphries leaving to join the Titans, there are plenty of vacant
targets in the Tampa passing game to be distributed between Evans,
Chris Godwin, and the other WRs and tight ends on the roster.
Look for Evans to get back closer to his 2016 season when he
notched 171 targets and 12 touchdowns. As the No.7 ranked WR,
a return to than volume level could make Evans a massive value
as a player currently going at the back-end of the second round
in most formats.
If there is a knock on Evans, it is his curiously low usage in
the red zone. With 13 targets last season in the red zone, Evans
ranks 29th among qualified receivers, behind Zay Jones, John Brown,
Corey Davis, and even Josh Reynolds.
If new head coach Bruce Arians corrects this egregious lack of
volume for Evans in the red zone, look for Evans to compete with
DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, Davante Adams, and Michael Thomas
for the WR1 title in 2019.
Few players have garnered more love this offseason than Chris
Godwin. The former Penn State star increased his target share,
receptions, yards, and touchdowns from his rookie season, and
projects to make another jump in 2019 with DeSean Jackson and
Adam Humphries no longer on the team.
Adding to the buzz is the love shown by new head coach Bruce
Arians, who continues to give Godwin praise while intimating that
the third-year WR “will never come off the field”.
As expected with the buzz, Godwin’s price tag in drafts
has skyrocketed to a point where he is no longer a value as the
20th WR off the board.
One hundred targets are well within reach, and it would not be
surprising to see Godwin reach double tight touchdowns. If he
continues to improve on his catch rate and jumps from 62% to 65%,
that increase in efficiency mixed with an increase in volume could
result in near WR1 production.
Injuries forced Howard to play in just ten games last season
for the Bucs. The former first-round pick from Alabama increased
his fantasy point per game output by 2.6 points per game, and
increased his receptions, targets, and receiving yards despite
playing in three fewer games than his 2017 rookie season.
With DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries leaving the Bucs via free
agency there are over 140 targets available in the Tampa Bay offense
up for grabs. While we certainly see a big chunk of those going
to Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and the other wide receivers on the
roster, Howard is set to make a big jump in targets and hopefully
Owners who miss out on one of the big three at the tight end
position may want to consider using a fifth or sixth-round pick
on Howard. He will not likely get the same target volume Kittle,
Kelce, and Ertz receive, but he is a consistent performer who
is primed to finish as a top-5 player at the position.