It’s that time of year again. Fantasy football draft season. And just how high are the various members of the potent Buccaneer offense expected to be drafted and perform this year? Let’s take a closer look at the numbers (I play on ESPN’s format, so that’s what I’m going with here)…
ESPN – Average positional ranking: QB9 (PPR & Non-PPR); Projection: 389/603; 4653 yds; 36 TDs; 11 INTs; 2 rushing TD; 321.39 fantasy points
Look, I had Brady last year, so I know the ups and downs that came with his season. The drought during the losing patch where the Bucs fell to 7-5 was tough. We know that he’s not going to do much of anything on the ground to offset an off day through the air, aside from his occasional QB sneak at the goal line.
That being said, I think we’re much more likely to get the version of Brady in December, January, and February than we are of the November version. With his entire receiving arsenal at his disposal – one with which he’s now had an additional full offseason together to work with everyone – I see nothing but big things for him and this offense this season. Indeed, players like Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, and Russell Wilson can supplement their passing production with solid numbers on the ground, which naturally gives them an edge in most fantasy formats. However, I don’t think you’ll see many better passing numbers this year than what Brady will put up, so I think his absolute floor is QB9, with a finish more likely of QB 6 or 7.
Average positional ranking: PPR & Non-PPR – 33. Projection: 177 car, 793 yds, 6 TD, 28 rec, 165 yds, 1 TD; 139.2 fantasy points
If there’s one thing that Jones ll has shown, it’s that he is the clear-cut best runner on the team, which was evident by his 5.1 ypc average and his 98-yard rushing touchdown last season at Carolina. He should be entrenched as this team’s early-down runner, and if he can stay healthy, 1000 yards and 8 TDs on the ground is a reachable ceiling. However, the offense’s propensity to throw, coupled with the return of Leonard Fournette (who shined in the postseason) and the addition of another capable pass-catching back in Gio Bernard certainly gives a little cause for concern about more of a committee approach than last year. I’d look at Jones ll as a very strong flex with low-end RB2 upside, which should place him a little higher than a RB33 projection.
Average positional ranking: Non-PPR 30, PPR 36. Projection: 164 carries, 677 yards, 6 TD, 24 rec, 175 yards 1 TD; 152.09 fantasy points
I think this projection is a little off in the receiving department, as Fournette out-targeted Jones by more than 2 to 1, but somehow is projected to have fewer catches this year? Doesn’t fit. I think Fournette will be more of a force in the passing game than Jones, at least, but with Bernard in the fold, how much will he be on the field on third downs now? That’s a fair question to ask, and one that clouds his value to more of a decent flex at best right now. RB 36 feels more accurate here.
Average position ranking: Non-PPR – 10; – PPR – 13. Projection: 76 rec, 1106 yds, 10 TD; 243.99 fantasy points.
Mike’s just a pillar of consistency, which his mark of 7-straight 1000 yard seasons has shown. He’s a guy you know is going to give you a very high floor week in and week out. What I love about him – even with the crowded WR room – is his production in the red zone. Brady has shown a willingness to look his way, time and again, and he can turn a bad day into a salvageable performance with one grab (i.e., playoff game at New Orleans). Despite the many mouths to feed, I still consider him as a low-end WR1.
Average position ranking: PPR and Non-PPR – 16. Projection: 80 rec, 1043 yds, 7 TD; 225.82 fantasy points.
Godwin might be faded here ranking-wise because of the presence of Antonio Brown, but it would be foolish to count him out. With the offense clicking late last season, Godwin either reeled in a score or eclipsed 100 yards receiving in five of the Bucs’ last seven games, including the playoffs. The Bucs’ slot receiver is far too valuable to discount, and I would look for him to stay in the mid-WR2 range, if not higher this year.
Average position ranking: PPR – 43; Non-PPR – 48. Projection: 63 rec, 749 yds, 6 TD; 175.49 fantasy points.
I just don’t get this one. ESPN has Brown ranked below the likes of Michael Gallup, Corey Davis, Brandin Cooks, Curtis Samuel, and Marquez Callaway. No offense to any of those guys, but Brown has looked a level above all of them, or at least he did during the Bucs’ turnaround from 7-5 to Super Bowl champs. He and Brady got on the same page quickly late in the season, with the duo connecting for 6 touchdowns in Brown’s last 6 games, including the playoffs. They showed that connection hasn’t missed a beat last week in Houston. ESPN has him as a borderline flex, but I think he’s a solid WR-3 with upside for higher. If he’s there in the later rounds of your draft, you’d be foolish not to snare him.
Average position ranking: PPR – 18; Non-PPR – 15. Projection: 39 rec, 518 yds, 6 TD; 124.91 fantasy points.
Gronk is the only Bucs’ tight end to register in ESPN’s top 25 tight ends, checking in at 18 in PPR and 15 in non-PPR. So, mid-TE2 range. I think that’s a fair place to put him, given his inconsistent involvement in the passing game last year. Before his two-touchdown Super Bowl performance, he had just three touchdowns since mid-November, eclipsing more than three catches just once. He just hasn’t warranted enough targets to make him higher than that mid-to-low-end TE2 range, but he’s still someone worth snaring late as a bye-week replacement and/or stashing to see if he can reconnect with Brady this year.
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