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Fantasy Buccaneers: Cam Brate and O.J. Howard

A preview of Tampa Bay’s two-headed tight end attack, and what it means for your fantasy football roster.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers successfully negotiated a team-friendly deal for tight end Cameron Brate, it ensured the duo he formed with 2017 rookie O.J. Howard would continue to be a strategic advantage moving forward.

However, just how will this pair of tight ends impact your fantasy football roster should you decide to draft one?

Let’s dive in to the stats, projections and Pro Football Focus rankings to find out.

*Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus

Player: Tight End, Cameron Brate (TE8 in 2017)

2017 Fantasy Football Statistics:

- 48 receptions

- 591 receiving yards

- 6 touchdowns

- 1 fumble

- 142 PPR points (.36 points per opportunity)

As a TE1 for leagues with eight teams or more, Brate should be on every fantasy football player’s radar. Despite the arrival and success of O.J. Howard, the veteran tight end remains one of Jameis Winston’s favorite targets and has proven to be an effective red zone target.

2018 Fantasy Football Projections:

- 41 receptions

- 510 receiving yards

- 4 touchdowns

- 1 fumble

- 116.5 PPR points (TE17)

Perhaps banking on a bigger role for Howard, PFF projects Brate to dip in every significant fantasy category finishing seventeenth in the position behind Oakland Raider tight end Jared Cook. Perhaps more surprising than a nine-spot drop in rankings is the fact this Buccaneers player is expected to finish just ahead of Eric Ebron who himself is expected to be the second-most effective tight end on the Colts’ roster in 2018.

2018 Fantasy Football Outlook: TE, Cameron Brate

Best Match-Up: Week 11 @ New York Giants

Worst Match-Up: Week 17 vs Atlanta

Where to Draft: Middle Rounds

Fantasy Playoff Potential: Even if your championship round lands on Week 16 and you don’t need to worry about his Week 17 match-up against the Falcons, his playoff stretch is a rough one. His three playoff round games come against defenses expected to be in the top half of the NFL against fantasy tight ends, meaning he’s not a guy you can rely on to finish hot and bring home the trophy.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Player: Tight End, O.J. Howard (TE16 in 2017)

2017 Fantasy Football Statistics:

- 26 receptions

- 432 receiving yards

- 6 touchdowns

- 3 fumbles

- 102 PPR points (.47 points per opportunity)

Howard was correctly read seam route away from challenging for Top-15 fantasy football tight end positioning in 2017, and despite the fact he played second-fiddle to Brate still finished ahead of primary targets like Eric Ebron and Jared Cook.

2018 Fantasy Football Projections:

- 39 receptions

- 420 receiving yards

- 3 touchdowns

- 1 fumble

- 98.8 PPR points (TE25)

More receptions speaks to the expected increase in Howard’s offensive contributions for 2018, but fewer yards, touchdowns and overall points speaks to the expectation that opposing defenses will see him coming.

A strange thing to say considering Howard was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first-round pick just one year ago, but given the talent in the receiving group someone was going to be overlooked. Not this year though.

2018 Fantasy Football Outlook: TE, O.J. Howard

Best Match-Up: Week 11 @ New York Giants

Worst Match-Up: Week 17 vs Atlanta

Where to Draft: Late Round Injury Protection

Fantasy Playoff Potential: Again, Howard and the Buccaneers tight ends don’t have the most advantageous playoff stretch for fantasy football players. The New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys all figure to match-up well against him and it’ll be difficult to rely on him as a key contributor unless he becomes the primary tight end of use for the Bucs.

Some will say only Brate has draftability in deeper leagues, but I argue that both do in certain situations. The tight end is a feast or famine stable of players with the top-projected player (Rob Gronkowski) expected to ring up 100 more points than the tenth ranked tight end, Trey Burton.

What give Howard some draft stock is the situation fantasy owners will be in if they draft top ranked guys like Gronkowski, Delanie Walker, Greg Olsen, and Jordan Reed.

Whether it be due to age or injury history, losing one of those players after spending such high draft capital on them would be devastating. Pocketing Howard with a late round pick will help ease some of that, and his payoff possibility is high given his early success and superior athleticism as a receiver over that of Brate.

Speaking of the elder tight end. He’s been a reliable presence in Tampa Bay and should remain that way.

Both men provide intriguing possibilities with Howard’s ceiling seemingly higher. In fact, PFF’s Pat Thorman actually has Howard ranked higher (13th) among fantasy football tight ends than he does Brate (20th).