2016 Fantasy Football Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2015 Fantasy Recap

Last year’s first overall pick in the draft, Jameis Winston, was immediately given the starting job. For me, rookie QBs tend to make me tread lightly with the supporting cast. Typically rookie QBs throw more interceptions, make more mental mistakes, or even just misses opportunities. As a result, the supporting players all take a hit from their expectations. While the receivers took a hit, the running game actually took off. In PPR formats Doug Martin finished 4th and Charles Sims finished 16th among RBs. Despite being a Winston finished the year as a solid QB2 and spot starter. The receivers, though, did not live up to expectations, especially Mike Evans, who was a popular top WR pick going into last year, but barely finished as a WR2. Other top receivers like Vincent Jackson and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins had trouble even staying healthy, and by season’s end were virtually useless.

Key Additions and Losses



QuarterBack Fantasy Outlook

Jameis Winston had a solid rookie season as far as fantasy football goes. He threw for over 4,000 yards and threw 1.5 TDs per game with only 1 interception per game. He tacked on an additional 200+ rushing yards and 6 scores as a runner. I suspect his number should at least remain the same with some possibility of an increase in certain areas. If they remain the same Winston remains a solid QB2 and spot starter. The areas that Winston needs to improve the most are his timing and accuracy. His completion percentage was below 60% and many of his interceptions were balls thrown late or behind receivers. If he can get his completion percentage up it, could lead to a couple of improvements in his game. He could throw more TD’s, throw fewer interceptions, and add more yards to his total. I think some of those things will happen, which will cause an uptick in his value, but I am not sure it will go up enough for him to break into QB1 status. If you are in a 2QB league he is a must own, otherwise, he is just one of the better backups for you or he is your injury insurance.

Grade: B-

Running Back Fantasy Outlook

After 2 injury riddled years, Doug Martin finally played his first full season since his rookie year. As a result, he finished 4th in RB scoring in PPR leagues and 3rd in standard leagues. I definitely see Martin returning as an RB1 this season, though I think a top 5 is expecting too much from him this year. Last year he was able to amass 288 carries, second most in the NFL, but I do not think the Bucs lean on him that much this year. I believe Charles Sims has earned the right to some of those carries. Martin should still go over 1,000 yards and still be used in the passing game, and that is what keeps him in RB1 contention. As I mentioned earlier, I believe Sims has shown he deserves to be on the field as well as Martin does. He has especially excelled in the passing game where he caught 51 passes for 561 yards and 4 scores last season. He will at least remain a focal point in the passing game if nothing else. This makes him extremely valuable in PPR leagues and a top candidate for those you of experimenting in zero RB draft strategy, which I support fully by the way. Bottom line both backs should be drafted. Martin should be viewed as a low RB1 and Sims as a low RB2 in PPR formats or Flex play in standard formats

Grade:  B+

Wide Receiver Fantasy Outlook

After 2 years in the league, Mike Evans has caught 142 passes on 271 targets for a completion rate of 52%. Compared to other receivers from the class of 2014 he is way behind. Odell Beckham Jr caught 72% of his passes, Brandin Cooks caught 69%, Jordan Matthews caught 66%, and even Sammy Watkins caught 56%. It should also be noted that all them went up in percentage in their second year except Evans who went down. Some would try to argue that Evans has had the worse QB play compared to the others and that should be considered, my response to that is he has had 15 drops (11 in 2015) in those two years, more than anyone else. I can cut him some slack on the completion percentage because I did mention earlier that Winston struggled with accuracy, but it’s the drops that concern me more. He is still being viewed as a low WR1 and I think that is too high for him. I see him more as a mid to low WR2 at this point. I will acknowledge that he does have plenty of upside to him, but until he starts catching at a higher rate I won’t trust him as a WR1. The other starting receiver for the Bucs is Vincent Jackson and right now I do not view him better than a WR4. I know he was hurt for a good part of last season, but he is getting older and has been trending down for the last few seasons. Only 5 TDs in the last 28 games is what bothers me most. Even when he is catching passes he is not getting in the end zone, and with no TDs, it really limits his fantasy potential. Finally I would like to mention Kenny Bell, who missed his entire rookie season, but finally, looks ready to play. I would only consider him in dynasty formats right now, but keep an eye on him, he should earn the slot job and if Jackson goes down again he just might take the job opposite from Evans away from Jackson.

Grade:  B-

Tight End Fantasy Outlook

There has not been a more frustrating player in fantasy football than Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Week 1 last year he had 5 receptions for 110 yards and 2 TDs, and everyone thought he was ready to break out. Then week 2 he gets hurt and it seemed like every week for the next 10 weeks he had a shot to play, but didn’t. Finally, comes back in week 13 and limps to the end of the season. Here we are in 2015 and the people are over him and his perceived lack of toughness. Currently trending as a low TE2, but honestly, if I had faith that he could play 14 or more games I would take a chance on him as a lot TE1, but I don’t have the faith that he could play that many games. There has been some chatter regarding Cameron Brate, but I don’t see him any more than a touchdown vulture. Now if Jenkins goes down again for an extended time frame, Brate could become a sneaky play, but until that happens he is not even on my radar.

Grade: C –

Defensive Fantasy Outlook

The Bucs defense last year was average at best. Middle of the road in most categories, which resulted in a defense that was only really usable as a bye week start for most people. No need to draft them and if you starting defense has a bye on week 7 they might be worth a spot start against San Francisco. Outside of that, I am not sure I would be looking to use them. There are plenty of other options for defenses and I do not see them any better than what they were last year. Pass on them on draft day.

Grade: C

Article originally posted on Going For 2 on July 20th, 2016.

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