Even though they had one of the best offenses in the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still finished with a mediocre 7-9 record. At one point in the season, they were 3-7 but then won their next 4 games to creep up in playoff conversations. The Buccaneers' defense was very strange. They had an excellent run defense, which ranked 1st in the league, but an awful pass defense, ranked 30th. This gave them the 15th ranked total defense. They had the 28th ranked turnover margin and ranked 1st in giveaways. Combine that with the 29th ranked scoring defense and you've got yourself a 7-9 team. The Buccaneers had a very busy offseason that included bringing back NFL sack leader Shaquil Barrett and signing Tom Brady to a 2-year deal. They had the 13th pick in the draft and selected Tristan Wirfs, an offensive tackle from Iowa to help Brady out in pass protection. In the second round, they wanted to help the secondary and selected Antoine Winfield, a safety from Minnesota. Look for the Buccaneers to make a lot of noise in the NFL this year and potentially win a Super Bowl.
Projected Depth Chart:
Quarterback: 1. Tom Brady 2. Blaine Gabbert
Running back: 1. Ronald Jones 2. Keyshawn Vaughn
Wide receiver: 1. Mike Evans 2. Chris Godwin 3. Tyler Johnson 4. Cyril Grayson
Slot receiver: 1. Scotty Miller 2. Justin Watson
Tight end: 1. Rob Gronkowski 2. O.J. Howard
Quarterbacks - If you don't look at the 30 interceptions, you could say Jameis Winston had a great season in 2019. He passed for 5109 yards with a 60.7 completion percentage and 33 touchdowns. But, you can't look past the interceptions. Winston was the first player in NFL history to put up 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season. He finished with 305.36 fantasy points and the QB5.
The Buccaneers were not impressed by Winston's 30 interceptions and signed Tom Brady from the Patriots in free agency. In 2019, Brady passed for 4057 yards with a 60.8 completion percentage, 24 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. Brady finished with 263.68 fantasy points and as the QB12. Brady's relationship with the Tampa Bay management turned sour and he left because of it.
Tom Brady is the reason why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are Super Bowl contenders in 2020. He should have a bounce-back year in fantasy with 3 above-average receivers in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski. Brady is going in the 9th round as the QB7. That is good value for someone who will be great in an offense that passes the ball a lot and will bounce back.
Running backs - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers split most of the time between 2 running backs in 2019. One of those running backs was Peyton Barber who had 154 carries for 470 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also caught 16 passes for 115 yards and 1 touchdown. Barber finished as the RB42 with 116.6 fantasy points. Barber only had 4 games with over 10 fantasy points and 2 with over 15. His best game was when he had 44 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns.
The second of the 2 backs was Ronald Jones. Jones ran the ball 172 times for 724 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also had 31 receptions for 309 yards. This was good for 166.3 fantasy points and the RB25. Jones' best game was the only time he scored over 20 fantasy points. He scored 22.6 best in Week 10 with 29 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 8 receptions, and 77 receiving yards.
I am staying far away from this Buccaneers backfield in 2020. Even though Peyton Barber left, they signed LeSean McCoy in free agency and drafted Keyshawn Vaughn in the third round. Jones and Vaughn are going in the 6th-7th round and McCoy is going undrafted. All of these players will eat into each other's volume and lower each other's ceilings.
Wide receivers - Just like the running backs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also mainly featured 2 wide receivers. One of these receivers was Mike Evans, In 13 games, he had 67 receptions on 118 targets for 1157 yards and 8 touchdowns. This was good for 232.7 fantasy points and the WR15. If he played all 16 games and kept this pace, Evans would've had about 82 receptions on 145 targets for 1424 yards and 10 touchdowns. If he kept his fantasy points per game average, he would've finished as the WR2 with 286.4 fantasy points.
Chris Godwin was the other receiver and had 86 receptions on 120 targets for 1333 yards and 9 touchdowns in 14 games. Godwin finished as the WR2 with 276.1 fantasy points. If Godwin played the final two games and kept this pace, he would've finished the season with 98 receptions on 137 targets for 1523 yards and 10 touchdowns. He still would've been the receiver 2 if he kept his fantasy points per game, but would've finished the season with 315.2 fantasy points.
I know they are both ranked a bit high, but I don't know why everyone is so down on Mike Evans and Chris Godwin going into 2020. They are playing with a much better quarterback in Tom Brady, and they were both on pace for over 135 targets. They should see the same amount of volume in 2020. The narrative that Brady gravitates to one receiver is false. Recently, Brady hasn't had a #2 receiver that was good. Now he has both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. While I think the second round is a bit high, the 3rd round would be a steal for these two players. A very deep sleeper I have is Scotty Miller who will be manning the slot. He should have a couple of decent games as he will be starting in a pass-heavy offense.
Tight ends - Tampa Bay tight ends were in almost every waiver wire in fantasy football last year. O.J. Howard caught 34 passes on 52 targets for 459 yards and 1 touchdown. Howard finished as the TE29 with 83.9 fantasy points. His best game came in Week 10 against the Cardinals where he caught 4 passes for 47 yards and 1 touchdown.
The other tight end that was targeted was Cameron Brate. Brate caught 36 passes on 56 targets for 311 yards and 4 touchdowns. Brate finished as the TE24 with 91.1 fantasy points. His best game came in Week 11 against the New Orleans Saints, where he caught 10 passes for 73 yards. That was the only game of the season where Brate had over 7 targets.
When Tom Brady signed with the Buccaneers, his best friend Rob Gronkowski signed as well. Gronkowski will likely take the starting tight end job that is bound to see more targets because Tampa Bay will tweak the offense so it is to Brady's liking. Rob Gronkowski is ranked as the TE8 in the 8th round. This is too high for a player who just came out of retirement and will barely have a training camp.
Bounce back: Tom Brady
Players to avoid: All Tampa Bay running backs (RBBC)
Steals if Taken at the Right Time: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin
Overvalued: Rob Gronkowski Handcuffs: Blaine Gabbert, LeSean McCoy, Tyler Johnson, O.J. Howard
I hope you liked 2020 Fantasy Previews Part 30: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Next up is 2020 Fantasy Previews Part 31: Tennessee Titans. Feel free to comment your thoughts on the Buccaneers' offense for fantasy 2020.