2019 Fantasy Football Team Previews: Bruce Arians is back to lead the Buccaneers

Bruce Arians takes over an offense that topped the league in passing yardage in 2018, but it's the wide receiver departures that open up a path for Chris Godwin to finally make the leap alongside Mike Evans. There should be value in a backfield that didn't add a significant piece, and 2018 second-round pick Ronald Jones will look to rebound from a disappointing rookie season in a competition with Peyton Barber.  

2018 Review

Record: 5 - 11 (26th in NFL)
PPG: 24.8 (12)
YPG: 415.5 (3)
Pass YPG: 320.3 (1)
Rush YPG: 95.2 (29)
PAPG: 39.1 (4)
RAPG: 24.3 (22)

2018 Fantasy finishes

QB: Jameis Winston - QB21; Ryan Fitzpatrick* - QB27
RB: Peyton Barber - RB31; Jacquizz Rodgers* - RB60; Ronald Jones - RB95
WR: Mike Evans - WR9; Adam Humphries* - WR24; Chris Godwin - WR27; DeSean Jackson* - WR42
TE: O.J. Howard - TE14; Cameron Brate - TE19
*No longer with team

Number to know: 60%

Arians' called for passes on 60% of his plays while with the Cardinals from 2013 to 2017. Not coincidentally, Arians had one 1,000-yard rusher in those five seasons. Although Arians isn't calling plays anymore, new coordinator Byron Leftwich learned under Arians and is expected to be equally aggressive. 

2019 Offseason

"[The offensive line] is the area we've got to improve. We've got to improve our run game, but that's receivers, tight ends, offensive line. We've all got to be committed to the running game. I never had a problem with my receivers room [in Arizona] because Larry Fitzgerald was the best blocker in the league at that time. He never was before, but he bought in. These guys, when I turn on the tape, they're all aggressive. So it's easy, because long runs come from wide receiver's blocking. It's fixing some things, especially on the right side and working with that a little more." - Bruce Arians 

Head Coach: Bruce Arians (1st year - previously Head Coach, ARI)
Offensive Coordinator: Byron Leftwich (1st year - previously QB Coach/Interim Offensive Coordinator, ARI)  

Draft Picks 

1. (5) Devin White, LB
2. (39) Sean Bunting, CB
3. (94) Jamel Dean, CB
3. (99) Mike Edwards, S
4. (107) Anthony Nelson, DE
5. (145) Matt Gay, K
6. (208) Scott Miller, WR
7. (215) Terry Beckner, DT

Additions

QB Blaine Gabbert, RB Andre Ellington, WR Breshad Perriman, DL Ndamukong Suh, LB Shaquil Barrett

Key Departures

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, WR DeSean Jackson, WR Adam Humphries, DL Gerald McCoy, LB Kwon Alexander, CB Brent Grimes

Rankings and Projections

Player
Jameis WinstonQB7QB13QB11
Peyton BarberRB33RB34RB31
Ronald JonesRB40RB41N/A
Bruce AndersonN/AN/ARB42
Mike EvansWR9WR8WR9
Chris GodwinWR19WR19WR21
O.J. HowardTE5TE6TE5
Matt GayK21K29N/A
Cairo SantosN/AN/AK20
Buccaneers DSTDST29DST32DST31
 
Heath Cummings' projected offensive stats
QBJameis Winston4,608 YD, 29 TD, 20 INT; 229 Rush YD, 1 TD
RBPeyton Barber168 ATT, 605 YD, 5 TD; 43 REC, 353 YD, 1 TD
RBBruce Anderson126 ATT, 504 YD, 4 TD; 43 REC, 366 YD, 1 TD
RBRonald Jones71 ATT, 228 YD, 2 TD; 18 REC, 108 YD
WRMike Evans138 TAR, 78 REC, 1,255 YD, 8 TD
WRChris Godwin120 TAR, 74 REC, 1,054 YD, 6 TD
TEO.J. Howard78 TAR, 53 REC, 794 YD, 6 TD

Biggest Question

What the heck is happening here at running back?!  

It's Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones as the Bucs' top duo heading into training camp. Jones was a joke as a rookie and Barber was serviceable last year, but it's hard to believe Bruce Arians didn't improve this area all offseason. Barber is the favorite going into training camp but the team continues to talk up Jones. Both are good bench stashes who won't cost more than a pick after 80th overall on Draft Day.  

One sleeper, one breakout, and one bust

Sleeper: Ronald Jones

Take everything you knew about Jones from last year and chuck it out the window. So far this offseason he's impressed his new coaching staff with his vision and speed, two things he couldn't use last year when he was getting blasted behind the line of scrimmage. If his hype continues into the preseason, Jones won't be much of a sleeper since everyone will draft him with high expectations. 

Breakout: Chris Godwin

With apologies to O.J. Howard, it's Godwin who brings enormous Fantasy upside. Last year he caught a touchdown every 8.4 receptions and had three 100-yard games in the second half of last season. That's while he split playing time -- now he figures to be an every-down threat who "is going to be close to a 100-catch guy" according to Arians. Bank on Godwin lining up all over the field and taking advantage of weak coverage. Don't be shocked to see him as a top-50 pick in PPR leagues.  

Bust: Peyton Barber

Barber has the size Arians likes from his running backs, but he doesn't offer speed or versatility. He totaled over 100 yards from scrimmage twice and had under 70 total yards a dozen times! True, the Bucs didn't make a splash by adding another runner, but chances are they'll use multiple backs to begin the season before settling on one. Odds are the back they stick with will be faster than Barber. 

So which sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which RB2 can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Andrew Luck's huge season, and find out.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories