It’s mid-July which means two things usually: There’s little to no news about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to discuss, and people are starting to get ready for their fantasy football drafts!
Unfortunately, the first one isn’t true this year, but the second one still remains. Some of you out there draft crazy early. There are a few leagues which have probably already had their drafts. Of course, then you have your keepers and your dynasty drafts, etc.
This preview here is for those of you who draft in say, mid to late August and only have a keeper or two if any from year-to-year.
We all have a little bit of homer in us, so when we get to draft a Bucs player who we legitimately think will bring value to our fantasy roster, it makes us feel all warm inside.
Where are your favorite players ranking before pre-season? Let’s take a look.
All rankings are taken from Pro Football Focus 2018 PPR fantasy rankings.
Position Rank: 15th
Ranked Below: Patrick Mahomes (KC)
Ranked Above: Marcus Mariota (TEN)
I swear I didn’t make this up. The ties between Winston and Mariota are well known. Some would even argue the Titans’ quarterback has been the better investment given the team’s playoff appearance in 2017 and lack of off-field incidents or suspensions.
Still, from a fantasy perspective, Winston has the better overall value. Key word being, ‘overall’. Actually, Mariota is barely more valuable than Winston is in the first three weeks of the season.
Mahomes being ranked above Winston likely has at least a little bit to do with the suspension facing Tampa Bay’s quarterback, but some of it also has to do with the hype surrounding the Chiefs’ second-year player.
Expectations are high for Mahomes in Kansas City, and if he does what they think he can, he’ll be fun to watch and have on your fantasy team.
All three land outside of the primary quarterback – or QB1 if you’re crazy and have two quarterbacks starting on your roster – conversation, but all present interesting streaming options throughout the season.
Position Rank: 28th
Ranked Below: Sony Michel (NE)
Ranked Above: Duke Johnson Jr. (CLE)
Position Rank: 63rd
Ranked Below: Spencer Ware (KC)
Ranked Above: T.J. Yeldon (JAX)
Rojo is the fifth-ranked rookie running back according to PFF and is 35 positions higher than last year’s season-ending starter, Peyton Barber.
Ranking rookies is always a little bit risky because you’re having to make a lot of assumptions. What this ranking tells me is PFF assumes Jones will be the primary back, but not necessarily a feature back.
Putting him behind Michel in New England – where the team notoriously uses many backs throughout the season – and Duke Johnson – who is more receiver than running back in Cleveland – fits the assumption.
Basically, this is the ranking area where you know the team is going to want to use these backs, but not all the time.
As for Barber, I feel a little disrespect is tied to this ranking. I’m not saying you should spend a high-round pick on him, or one at all. My assessment of Barber coming into the pre-season is he should be a priority free-agent player you track to see how he does.
If you find all of your targeted players gone, take a flier and stash Barber for a week or two. He may surprise you.
Bottom line is this, Spencer Ware didn’t play in the 2017 regular season due to a torn PCL. T.J. Yeldon played, but had a combined 79 touches and two touchdowns between his carries and receptions.
Not only did Barber play, he started the final three games and four out of five for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his efforts, he amassed 124 combined touches and three touchdowns.
Not Top-20, but certainly Top-50.
Position Rank: 9th
Ranked Below: Davante Adams (GB)
Ranked Above: Doug Baldwin (SEA)
Position Rank: 49th
Ranked Below: Marqise Lee (JAX)
Ranked Above: Mohamed Sanu (ATL)
Position Rank: 72nd
Ranked Below: Willie Snead (BAL)
Ranked Above: Geronimo Allison (GB)
Mike Evans is a Top-10 wide receiver in the NFL in most people’s opinions. Some would argue he’s Top-5. What undoubtedly hurts his rankings when it comes to fantasy drafting is uncertainty at quarterback.
Not playing with your starting passer for almost the entire first quarter of the season is big. Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a veteran, but are you willing to make Evans your WR1 in 12-Team leagues knowing he’s missing Winston to start the year?
Evans had plenty of catches with Fitzpatrick, so you shouldn’t be too discouraged from a fantasy outlook.
In three games played with Fitzpatrick either starting or playing the majority of the game, Evans had 14 receptions for 259-yards and one touchdown.
Jackson’s and Godwin’s rankings are not so surprising heading into the year given the veteran’s lack of production vs expectation in 2017 and the second-year wide receiver’s lesser known status around the league.
Buccaneers fans may be excited about Godwin, but it doesn’t mean the rest of the country sees the same sunny forecast.
Jackson is a late-round target in larger leagues and Godwin is a sleeper who you should stash if you have the space and can stand the nerves of potentially restricting your roster flexibility for a few weeks to see if he truly gets an expanded role in 2018.
Position Rank: 14th
Ranked Below: Charles Clay (BUF)
Ranked Above: David Njoku (CLE)
Position Rank: 19th
Ranked Below: Jared Cook (OAK)
Ranked Above: Vance McDonald (PIT)
One constant question surrounding the Buccaneers training camp build-up is how the tight end situation is going to play out.
It’s hard to call this a position battle when you get the feeling both guys genuinely don’t care who gets the most receptions as long as the team gets wins.
Still, as a Bucs fan and fantasy football enthusiast, you’re going to have to answer the question: Which Buccaneers tight end are you drafting?
Which Buccaneers tight end are you drafting?
This poll is closed
DEFENSE and SPECIAL TEAMS
Position Rank: 25th
Ranked Below: Bills DST
Ranked Above: Dallas DST
This is the ultimate buy-low situation. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense was atrocious last year. Ok, so some say they weren’t as bad as it seemed.
In fantasy football though, we aren’t talking play on the field we’re talking stats on the sheet. No matter how you look at it, the ‘Yucs’ were back on defense in 2017.
So, because of it, the team is ranked low. I mean, undraftably (yes, I made up that word) low.
However, with new additions to the defensive line and secondary and an already top-notch linebacking crew, this defense has all the markings of a unit on the rise. Will they rise enough to crack your starting line-up? Well, that’s what your bench slots are for.
Of course, I’m not recommending you draft and stash every Bucs sleeper, but taking a chance on one or maybe even two of them could prove fruitful if you do.
These are pre-camp rankings of course, and if you don’t draft until the pre-season is underway this is just a starting point to start building your draft strategies.
Check back often as I’ll start churning out some player specific profiles and updates during training camp and the pre-season!