Last season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense relied too heavily on Mike Evans to make plays. This offseason they addressed that issue entirely by signing wide receiver DeSean Jackson and drafting tight end O.J. Howard. With some new weapons to throw to, can Jameis Winston have a breakout season?
Winston threw 28 touchdowns last season but continued to struggle with interceptions. With more help on offense, Winston shouldn’t have to force the ball to Evans to make plays. Winston offers a fantasy owner who waits to draft a quarterback someone who is a dark horse MVP candidate. Grabbing Winston after the 10th round offers insane value and opportunity for a huge season.
Mike Evans is an elite fantasy wide receiver. With the offseason additions Tampa Bay made, defenses can’t key completely on Evans. Look for him to surpass 100 catches and find the end zone between 12-14 times.
Desean Jackson is still one of the league’s premier deep threats. After a 1,000 yard season, Jackson cashed in on a team in need of a speedy receiver. Entering his age 30 season, Jackson is always an injury concern but will make some big plays. Always a boom/bust start, Jackson is too inconsistent to be relied upon. The big games will come, but figuring out which game is something you don’t want to try and figure out. That should keep him from turning into a WR1 in his new town, but he should flirt with WR2 numbers and is an elite WR3 in most leagues.
BUST: O.J. Howard
O.J. Howard had climbed as high as fourth in some 2017 NFL mock drafts. After three receivers and two running backs jumped into the top 10, Howard fell to the Buccaneers at 19. Howard showed flashes of elite potential in the rare case that he was thrown the ball at Alabama.
The size and speed of Howard is tantalizing but his offseason draft position is too high. Coming off the board before Jack Doyle, who has a much more guaranteed role on his offense, just doesn’t make much sense. Howard has the potential to be elite, but without guaranteed targets, may not offer enough value to be your starting tight end week one.
Cameron Brate enjoyed a breakout season last year, with 660 yards and eight touchdowns. The drafting of Howard obviously hurts the fantasy value of Brate but don’t expect him to be a non factor. In deep leagues, Brate should still be owned as the Buccaneers could have an elite tight end duo. Brate’s presence and the lack of success we see out of first-year tight ends should calm the O.J. Howard excitement considerably.
Top Bucs rusher Doug Martin is suspended for the first three games of the season for using a performance enhancing substance. Martin entered rehab during last season, as well. Reports out of Tampa Bay are that Martin looks like he did in 2015 during his last productive season, which is obviously promising for his fantasy prospects.
Taking that with a grain of salt, Martin is an interesting case heading into the 2017 fantasy football season. With an improved offense, The Muscle Hamster could flourish once he returns from suspension. Being drafted in the middle of round four is a little too high, but if you can locate him at a reasonable discount, the payoff could be through the roof. This is the point in the draft where workhorse running backs are few and far between, after all. If you draft Martin as your RB1, make sure to grab Jacquizz Rodgers late in your draft.
SLEEPER: Jameis Winston
Back to Winston to wrap things up; the Bucs quarterback has looked solid since joining the league and flashed absolute brilliance at times in 2016. He still has his issues with turnovers and consistency, but has turned into a legit gamer that can shred any defense. Already blessed with a solid running game and a go-to stud in Mike Evans, Winston also gets DeSean Jackson this year and may finally have the supporting cast to churn out a truly elite fantasy passing campaign.