Receivers transitioning to new teams or new quarterbacks can sometimes get off to slow starts in Fantasy, but that wasn't the case for Mike Evans -- he immediately became Tom Brady's favorite red zone target with six TDs in the first five games of 2020. Ultimately, Evans became a bigger part of the entire pass game -- specifically down the stretch run. He once again finished with 1,000-plus receiving yards (he has never not eclipsed 1,000 in seven NFL seasons) despite seeing a career-low 109 targets. The volume may not tick up, but there's a good chance Brady takes a step forward in Year 2 playing in the Bruce Arians system. Evans' red zone role provides him an excellent floor and he's one of the safest Round 3 picks around.
Evans has been particularly impressive over the first three days of training camp despite soaring temperatures, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports. "That's Mike," said head coach Bruce Arians on Tuesday. "He should be, he's All-Pro. If he wasn't I'd be really concerned. Some of these guys didn't train in this humidity. Mike's one of these guys, he gets there and I'm really pleased with where he's at." The fact the multi-time Pro Bowler is standing out isn't completely newsworthy given his track record, but Evans made two especially impressive catches in Monday's two-minute drill and then was even more prolific throughout Tuesday's session. Evans appears to also have lost weight this offseason, and he's encouraged by the prospect of an offense that already appears to be reaping the benefits of having a year in Arians' system under its collective belt. "I felt that in mini-camp," said Evans. "In mini-camp, it seems like we didn't leave. It felt like we took a couple of weeks off and we're back it. I feel like we're going to be much better, especially offensively this year."
Evans looked leaner at June minicamp, according to Carmen Vitali of the Buccaneers' official site. Evans has always been one of the league's largest wideouts, typically listed with his combine measurement of 6-foot-5, 231 pounds. He might be a bit lighter this summer, but he'll still have the size advantage over every defensive back he faces. The soon-to-be 28-year-old finished last season with a career high for touchdowns (13) and a career low for targets (106), ultimately reaching 1,000 yards (just barely) for a seventh straight year. Tampa Bay's offense looks much the same as last season, featuring Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown at wide receiver, while O.J. Howard returns from an Achilles tear to join Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate at tight end.
Evans secured his only target for 31 yards during the Buccaneers' 31-9 win over the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Sunday. Evans surprisingly saw as many targets as Tyler Johnson, offensive lineman Joe Haeg, Tanner Hudson and Ronald Jones, but he still found a way to make an impact in Tampa Bay's victory. Evans' one reception served as a game-long catch for the Buccaneers, and he also drew a critical pass interference penalty late in the first half that put the ball at the Chiefs' nine-yard line and set up an eventual one-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Antonio Brown. Despite the relatively quiet finish to his team's title run, Evans and Brady quickly developed a rapport this season, and the seventh-year wideout finished with a solid 70-1,006-13 line over 16 games during the regular season. Assuming Brady returns in 2021, Evans could be in for even better numbers, especially if position mate Chris Godwin departs in free agency.
Evans (knee) practiced fully Wednesday. The Buccaneers capped Evans' practice reps last week, as they would have done if the team had been facing a normal turnaround for a game. Now that he's gotten some maintenance time, Evans shouldn't face any limitations in the Buccaneers' remaining practices leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl LV matchup with the Chiefs. Meanwhile, Antonio Brown (knee) got back on the practice field in a limited capacity Wednesday, helping Tampa Bay inch closer to full capacity in its receiving corps.
Evans (knee) remained limited Friday at practice. Although he wasn't a full participant, the Bucs estimate that Evans wouldn't have any injury designation if they had a game to play this Sunday. He should be fine with another week to prepare for the Super Bowl, gearing up to face a solid KC secondary.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/26||@Los Angeles Rams||1||16.67|
|4||10/03||@New England Patriots||10||20.63|
|8||10/31||@New Orleans Saints||16||22.00|
|10||11/14||@Washington Football Team||5||19.35|
|11||11/22||New York Giants||9||20.38|
|15||12/19||New Orleans Saints||16||22.00|
|17||01/02||@New York Jets||18||23.13|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||122||74||1229||10||59||16.61||182|