2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Jameis Winston suspension changes Buccaneers' expectations

The Jameis Winston suspension is a lot of things in Fantasy. It's a huge blow to any Fantasy projection you make for him; he's losing 18 percent of his season and 23 percent of your Fantasy regular season. It's at the very least a small downgrade for his pass catchers; Winston has averaged 7.5 yards per attempt compared to 6.7 for Ryan Fitzpatrick. But more than anything it makes targets even harder to project on a team that was already one of the most difficult in the league.

The Buccaneers have more offensive players to project than just about any other team in the league. With three running backs, four receivers and two tight ends (all heavily involved in the offense), it's hard enough to project this offense with one quarterback over 16 games. With Fitzpatrick starting the first three games, it's quite possible we'll see at least one player get a bump in targets and Fantasy value after Week 3. That guy may be Cameron Brate, who is one of Winston's favorites in the red zone.

So how should you react to all of this? Very subtly. It's just three weeks. I don't mean that as if three weeks is a minor thing in a seasonal context, but Fantasy Football is a weekly game. Evans should still be a borderline top-10 receiver from Week 4 on, so it's perfectly reasonable to draft him higher than his expectation below. Winston was only being drafted as a high-end No. 2 in the first place, and he still should be. At quarterback where there are legitimately 23 startable options, the three-week suspension won't hardly be noticed other than having to carry two quarterbacks.

*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.

PLAYER

EXPECTED FP

POS. RANK

EXPECTED PPR FP

POS. RANK

Mike Evans

155

#12

231

#14

Ronald Jones

140.7

#27

159.2

#32

Jameis Winston

258.4

#31

258.4

#31

Cameron Brate

73

#23

115

#25

O.J. Howard

71

#26

106

#28

DeSean Jackson

86.3

#67

132

#70

Breaking down the touches

Coach Dirk Koetter will continue to call plays for Tampa Bay and with all the weapons they've accumulated we can only assume he'll continue to spread the ball around. Last season there were seven different pass catchers who saw at least 39 targets. Running backs have taken a back seat in the passing game each of the past two seasons, garnering just 15 percent of the team's targets.

What will be interesting is if the acquisition of Jones gets Koetter back to a more balanced pass/run split. In 2017 Tampa Bay was an extremely pass-heavy team, with only 37.6 percent of their offensive plays being runs. The two prior years combined Koetter's offense ran the ball 43 percent of the time. I've got them slated for 40 percent right now, and anything more would further diminish Evans' chances of having a monster year.

Buccaneers touches
Player RuSHARE RuATT ReSHARE TGT REC TD
Ronald Jones 55% 229 4% 23 18 6
Jacquizz Rodgers 20% 83 3% 17 13 2
Charles Sims 13% 54 9% 52 39 2
Mike Evans 0% 0 25% 144 76 8
DeSean Jackson 0% 0 14% 81 45 3
Adam Humphries 0% 0 10% 58 40 1
Chris Godwin 0% 0 12% 69 44 3
Cameron Brate 0% 0 11% 63 42 4
O.J. Howard 0% 0 9% 52 35 4

Of note: 

  • DeSean Jackson looked just about done at times last year. It shouldn't surprise anyone if Chris Godwin is the starter in his spot sooner rather than later.
  • The tight end situation in Tampa is very unique. Howard is more explosive than Brate, but Winston trusts the latter in the red zone. 
  • The team choosing to bring Charles Sims back puts a cap on Jones' value in PPR. Sims had almost as many targets last year as the rest of the running backs combined.

The Leftovers

The Buccaneers forced me to list so many players above that it's hard to come up with even deeper options. But we do have to at least mention Peyton Barber. Barber was buried on the depth chart at this point last year as well, but he still ended up leading the backfield in Fantasy production. It's extremely unlikely that happens again. 

Senior Fantasy Writer

Heath Cummings is a Senior Fantasy Writer that covers Daily Fantasy Sports of all types. Before coming to CBS Sports he was a staff writer for Footballguys and the host of The Fantasy Football Show on... Full Bio

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