Jameis Winston's promising Fantasy outlook was stung when he got hit with a three-game suspension in late June for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Aiming for a bounce-back season, Winston struggled to score touchdowns in 2017 despite collecting career-highs in completion rate and passing yards per game. He also missed three games with an injury. When Winston returns in Week 4 he'll play behind an upgraded offensive line, work with an improved run game and still have a dazzling array of pass catchers as part of an offense that's averaged at least 34 passes per game since 2016. Fantasy owners who consider Winston not only must weather the three-game isolation but also a Week 5 bye, meaning Winston could only potentially start for your team once before mid-October. If you have patience and the bench space to spare, feel free to target Winston with one of your last three picks. Otherwise, there are more than a dozen other quarterbacks who aren't suspended and can help your Fantasy team bring home a trophy.
Winston (suspension) entered the game on the Buccaneers' third possession in a 26-24 preseason win over the Dolphins on Thursday. He completed 11 of 13 passes for 102 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Winston entered the game in the second quarter and had a key 19-yard completion to Freddie Martino during his first possession, a drive that culminated in a three-yard touchdown run by second-round pick Ronald Jones II. The fourth-year quarterback subsequently connected with rookie Justin Watson and Cameron Brate on his second series, putting on a crisp performance overall before giving way to Ryan Griffin for the entirety of the second half. The night went about as well as it could have for Winston, who the Bucs are trying to afford enough work before he leaves the team to serve a three-game suspension to open the regular season. He'll likely see a similar workload when Tampa takes on the Titans in its second preseason game a week from Saturday.
Winston (suspension), whose $20.9 million fifth-year team option for 2019 is only guaranteed against injury, could be released by the team for any other reason at any time before March 13 of next year without related financial penalty, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. If Winston doesn't suffer any injury during the 2018 campaign that carries over into next offseason, the Bucs retain the right to revoke the option at any time before 4pm ET on March 13, 2019, the beginning of the new league year. That contingency officially became part of the overall conversation regarding Winston on Thursday, when the NFL publicly announced his three-game suspension for violation of the league's personal conduct policy. Laine further reports that Winston is owed $3.89 million for the 2018 campaign (he'll forfeit $124,411.76 of that in the form of the three game checks he'll miss, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports), but that the Bucs would naturally be off the hook for all or part of that in the unlikely scenario they sought out and found a trade partner for the embattled fourth-year quarterback before the fifth day of training camp. They could also opt to release Winston altogether at some point during the remainder of the current calendar year, which would trigger a $4,9 million hit in dead cap money according to Spotrac. However, what seems the most conceivable -- although still relatively improbable for the time being -- in terms of a divorce is the Bucs opting to move on from Winston next offseason if they remain dissatisfied with his personal conduct, on-field performance or a combination of the two. As per the terms of his suspension, the 24-year-old is eligible to fully participate in training camp and preseason games. However, he'll then be forced to leave the team after the final preseason contest and remain away from the facility until Tuesday, Sept. 25, the first day of Week 4 of the coming season.
Winston will not appeal his three-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reports. Winston -- who issued a statement Thursday apologizing for the incident that led to his suspension -- will thus be eligible to make his regular-season debut Sept. 30, when the Buccaneers face the Bears in Chicago. In his absence, veteran signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick is slated to start the team's first three contests in 2018. In the meantime, Winston is permitted to participate in all of the Buccaneers' preseason activities, including games.
The Buccaneers have picked up the fifth-year option on Winston's rookie contract, locking him in for 2019 at a $20.922 million salary that's only guaranteed against injury, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The fifth-year option ensures Winston can't hit free agency or receive the franchise tag next season, giving the Bucs a bit of leverage in negotiations on a long-term contract. The team may be hesitant to work on a deal at the moment, as the NFL still hasn't talked to Winston about a November accusation that he groped an Uber driver in 2016, ESPN.com's Jenna Laine reports. Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer, general manager Jason Licht and coach Dirk Koetter all have expressed frustration with the league's slow movement on the case. Winston reported Monday for the start of the Buccaneers' offseason program.
Winston completed 28 of 51 passes for 363 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in Sundays' 31-24 win over the Saints. He also posted 32 yards and scored a touchdown on five rushes and completed a two-point conversion pass. Winston's final effort of a tumultuous 2017 fittingly had a bit of everything thrown in. The third-year quarterback managed to display some of the best and worst aspects of his game in the wild season-ending contest, as he short-circuited a trio of drives in Saints territory with interceptions. Conversely, he also managed to set a season high in rushing yards while scoring his first touchdown on the ground since Week 4 of the 2016 campaign. Moreover, Winston finished the season with consecutive 300-yard tallies and six such efforts overall. He saved his best for last Sunday as well, hitting Chris Godwin with a perfectly thrown, go-ahead 39-yard touchdown with nine seconds remaining that capped off an 11-play, 95-yard drive, and that as per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com, also enabled him to break Hall of Famer Dan Marino's record for most touchdown passes before the age of 24. While he struggled with turnovers at times during the tail end of the campaign, Winston provided reason for optimism heading into a pivotal Year 4 with the way he led the Buccaneers to victory against a team that needed to win to ensure itself the NFC South crown.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/09||@New Orleans Saints||18||19.06|
|11||11/18||@New York Giants||32||22.88|
|12||11/25||San Francisco 49ers||27||21.00|
|14||12/09||New Orleans Saints||18||19.06|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||60.8||3879||23||15||171||3||307|