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The Arians Effect

Savvy fantasy football owners focus on all positions of a football team.  This includes the coaching staffs. Changes in the offseason can have a huge impact on the production of a player at a certain position.  Bruce Arians is known for his aggressive nature on both sides of the ball. In this article, we examine his potential impact on the Bucs key offensive positions next year.

The Arians Effect

Jameis Winston (QB1)  

Obviously we will see a spike in Winston’s numbers next year if he is retained, which is the belief of most NFL experts.  Barring any more suspensions, injuries or “Fitzmagic”, Winston could see an allotment of 16 games in Arians offense. In 5 years with Big Ben as his QB, Ben had a QB1 average finish of 11.8.  His high year was 2007 (4th), but his low came the very next year in 2008 (18th).

Also, look for a drop in the number of pass attempts.  Under Dirk Koetter, Tampa has averaged 542.5 PA per year.  Compare this to an average of 439.8 PA in Arizona the 5 years Arians was in charge.  This includes lows of 267 in 2017 and 224 in 2014.

Ronald Jones III/Peyton Barber (RB1/RB2)

We do not have a clear cut RB1 in this offense (one would assume it would be Jones given his draft status), but Arians never had an RB1 in the top 10 before he coached David Johnson.  In Arians coaching career, the RB1 average finish in his offense was 17.57 and that is with a 1st and 8th from Johnson.  RB2 average finish was 61.21.  We can project about 180 rushing attempts and 47.53 targets to the RB1 in this offense.

For comparison, in 2018, Phillip Lindsay (RB12), Nick Chubb (RB17) and Marlon Mack (RB20) were in this range of volume.  

Mike Evans (WR1)

WR1’s finished top 10 in 6 of the last 11 seasons Arians was an OC or HC.  The average finish over those 11 years was 13.9 with a 24th and 35th mixed in to bring the average way down.  In the 5 years in Pittsburgh discussed below, the WR1 still averaged 112.8 targets per year.

Chris Godwin (Projected WR2)

 With Desean Jackson all but out in Tampa, Godwin is projected to move in to the WR2 spot.  Godwin flirted with WR2 numbers even as a WR3 (184.2 PPR points). His target number of 95 is sure to increase.  

When Arians had competent WR2 during his 5year stint as OC in Pittsburgh, the WR2 position averaged a whopping 116.4 targets per year, that’s 3.6 targets more than the WR1.  As we see from the statistical data from FF Statistics, the WR2 position in an Arians offense sees a much larger target share than the average NFL offense.

Adam Humphries/TBD (WR3)

Finishing as a WR2 in terms of production, Humphries struck for 59 catches on 62 targets with 616 yards plus 3 TD.  However, Humphries is a free agent and there hasn’t been any news on whether he plans on reupping with Tampa. The WR3 under Arians has been beyond serviceable with an average of 68.2 targets per year.  

As you can see, this is also well above league average.  The only other active WR listed on the official website are Bobo Wilson and Justin Watson.  For future/reserves they have KJ Brent and Sergio Bailey. Not an inspiring bunch. These targets need to go somewhere.

O.J. Howard (TE1)

 Unless the Bucs bring back Humphries or make a splash in free agency by signing a Jamison Crowder or Randall Cobb type, a large chunk of those targets are likely to go to Howard, who acts as a slot receiver anyway.  When Arians had a capable tight end in Heath Miller, the targets were there to be had at the position.

Miller averaged a healthy 73 targets per year over 5 years will Arians calling the plays.  With Koetter at the helm, Winston’s targets to the position are well above league average as well.  Don’t worry about Brate. In the games they played together with Winston, Howard was targeted 34 times to 20 for Brate.  He also had 4 TDs to just 2 for Brate during that stretch.

The average fantasy owner will think of Bruce Arians and think of his poor TE production in Arizona.  You are not an average fan, which is why you are here. We delve into the data and give you useful information, helping you make the right choice on draft day.  


If we dissect this data, we can expect about the same output from Jameis Winston.  He can be drafted as a low-end QB1 or in 2 QB leagues. If Ronald Jones III or Peyton Barber take over the top RB spot, they should finish in RB2 range. The WR1 and WR2 positions are peppered with targets in an Arians run offense.

Mike Evans will be a WR1. Evans is the only WR besides Randy Moss and AJ Green to record 1,000 yards receiving their first 5 years in the league.  He is also the youngest player to get to 6,000 yards.

The real winners with the Arians hire are Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard.  Even if Godwin lines up as a WR2/WR3, the combined target average to those positions was 92.3.  There is plenty to goa around.

Howard is in a position of scarcity with Gronk potentially retiring and only 3 true studs at the position in Ertz, Kelce and Kittle.  Draft these 2 potential values with confidence next year and dominate your draft. Thank you for visiting FF Statistics.


    • Jeff Smith

      Much appreciated Jim. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for visiting our site. More good stuff to come from all of us here at FF statistics.

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