Fantasy Football Draft Prep: With more help, is Jameis Winston ready to take the leap?

Like everyone else, I was really excited about this Buccaneers offense. I believed the sky was the limit for Jameis Winston. Then, this happened.

Interceptions are not everything, in fact they're probably overrated when it comes to evaluating quarterbacks. But the Bortles thing hit me hard. If you'll remember, I was hard on Bortles last summer. And he was terrible in 2016. And the more I dug into it, Winston's sophomore campaign looked a lot like Bortles' 2015. 

Similar INT rate, similar Y/A, similar QB rating. It's hard to say anything other than they were similar quarterbacks statistically. 

Now Bortles crashed and burned in the following year, and there is no guarantee (or even likelihood) that Winston will do the same. But it's also no sure thing that he takes another step forward. The range of possible outcomes is wider than my original ranking (or his ADP) suggests. I vowed to dig deeper, and that starts with expectations for the Buccaneers:

*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.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Player Name Expected FP Position Rank Expected PPR FP Position Rank
183.2 #5 271.2 #6
130.4 #25 189.4 #37
331.7 #11 331.7 #11
124 #32 146 #30
84.3 #17 130.3 #19
69.6 #25 105.6 #29

Breaking down the touches

The Bucs threw the ball 40 more times in 2016 than they did in 2015, which could be viewed as Dirk Koetter taking the reins off. Well, kind of. 

Winston threw the ball 177 times (!) in his first four contests. He also threw eight interceptions. From that point forward, the Buccaneers became a much more balanced team, averaging 32 pass attempts per game. So I don't think expecting another increase in pass attempts is very wise. 

I'm expecting 570 pass attempts for the Buccaneers to go along with around 430 rushes. I also expect a small increase in passes going to the tight end position (120) because they now have two capable of catching the ball. That leaves 370 targets for the receivers, and I'm betting with DeSean Jackson in town, Mike Evans sees at least a small decrease in targets.

Buccaneers touches
Doug Martin 48% 200 5% 30 22 5
Jacquizz Rodgers 30% 125 3% 18 12 2
Mike Evans 0% 0 27% 158 88 10
DeSean Jackson 0% 0 17% 100 59 5
Cameron Brate 0% 0 11% 65 46 6
O.J. Howard 0% 0 9% 54 36 5

Of note:

  • I'm sure the first thing that will stand out is Cameron Brate over O.J. Howard. Rookie tight ends are almost never productive, and I don't expect Brate to be left out of the offense. Howard is still a great dynasty option.
  • Jacquizz Rodgers has zero-RB appeal as someone that is almost guaranteed to start early in the season, but don't expect him to have much value when Martin returns.
  • There is a role for a pass-catching back in this offense that Charles Sims once possessed, but now I'm worried it will be split. More on that below.

The Leftovers

Sims and Jeremy McNichols will be battling for the third-down role. If you could guarantee me that one or the other would get all of that work, they would have some late-round sleeper value in PPR, but as of right now I can't see a clear favorite. That could change in camp, especially if Sims is cut. 

Chris Godwin is a speedster built in the mold of DeSean Jackson. He has Dynasty appeal and could become a waiver wire darling if Jackson or Evans misses time with injury. Barring an injury, I don't see a lot of appeal for Godwin in 2017 if he wins a full share of the No. 3 targets in Tampa. 

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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