Jameis Winston: A Top-10 Fantasy QB
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had high hopes when they selected Jameis Winston with the number one overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Winston hasn’t lived up to those expectations, but as the infamous quote goes, “You don’t have to be good at real football to be good at fantasy football”. He’s currently being selected as QB13, per fantasyfootballcalculator.com
With that being said, let’s see why Winston will be a top-10 fantasy quarterback in 2019.
Impressive 2018 Season from Winston and Fitzpatrick
While being one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2018, Winston and Fitzpatrick were still able to produce above-average fantasy numbers.
The chart above shows the point totals and PPR finishes throughout the season for Winston and former backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. If you combine their 2018 point totals, it comes out to 393.82. That’s good enough to be ranked QB2 in 2018.
If you choose to just look at Jameis’ averages, his 215.98 points over 11 games give him just over 19.5 PPR points-per-game. Averaged out over 16 games and it would total 314.15 points, which would’ve made him QB5 in 2018. If you look even closer, Winston only started nine games in 2018 while coming off the bench in the other two. If you take the two games he came off the bench (16.56 PPR points in less than a half vs the Giants in week 11, 8.5 in a half vs the Bears in week 4), and average them out over a full game, that adds another 25.06 points to Winston’s 2018 total. His total would then be 339.21, which would elevate him to QB3.
As fellow FFStatistics writer Jeff Smith covered in his Bruce Arians article, it’s clear that Arians will help Winston significantly in 2019. Jeff bought up a great point in that in Arians’ offenses, quarterbacks seem to throw the ball more. With former head coach Dirk Koetter, the Bucs averaged 542.5 passing attempts a year. When Arians was in Arizona, his teams averaged 589.6 passing attempts per year. The increase in pass attempts will provide more opportunities and be beneficial to Winston.
In addition to leading Carson Palmer to a top-five fantasy season in 2015, Arians helped Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to multiple successful fantasy seasons. Arians was the Steelers offensive coordinator from 2007-2011. In those five years, Roethlisberger had two top-10 and four top-15 seasons. With Arians improving the statistics of multiple quarterbacks throughout his career, there’s no reason to believe he won’t help Winston finish as a top-10 quarterback in 2019,
Although the Bucs finished with the third-most total yards in 2018, they finished 15th in red-zone efficiency, which plays a vital role when evaluating fantasy players and their situations. When the head coach of the Cardinals, Arians led his team to consecutive top-10 red-zone efficiency seasons in 2015 and 2016. Don’t be surprised when Bruce Arians fizzes the Buccaneers red-zone issues in 2019.
Heading into 2019, few teams have the weapons that Jameis Winston has. As I wrote in my QB1 article, having a go-to wide receiver is vital to fantasy success. Winston has that in Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans. In addition to Evans, the Bucs offense also features wide receiver Chris Godwin and tight end OJ Howard. Both took large steps forward in their sophomore seasons and are expected to improve in 2019.
As you can see in the chart above, all three of Jameis’ major weapons improved in 2018. Evans had his second top-10 season in three seasons while Godwin jumped 46 spots in position finish (72nd to 26th). Howard went from 20th to 15th in position finish and scored 120.5 points, which was a 15 point improvement from his rookie year. He also only played 10 games in 2018 as opposed to 14 his rookie year.
When you look at Godwin’s numbers in greater detail, the departures of DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries will benefit him greatly. This chart was used in Sam Factor’s ADP Battle article that included Godwin. Although it’s only six games, it’s certainly encouraging to see how well Godwin did without Jackson. These numbers from Godwin are encouraging for Winston because it’ll give him an elite second option, which top 2018 fantasy quarterbacks seemed to have (Mahomes, Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan).
It’s encouraging to see Winston’s weapons improve year-by-year. With someone like Arians coming in, a coach who was able to help produce elite fantasy seasons out of Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer, it’s easy to believe Jameis Winston can be a top-10 quarterback in 2019.
Although Jameis has yet to deliver as the number one overall pick, his fantasy outlook is very exciting for 2019. His current ADP as QB13 is too low. An underrated 2018 and a new regime in Bruce Arians will pave the way for his success. Mixed in with the team makeup and it’s clear that Jameis Winston will be a top-10 quarterback in 2019.
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