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)
There should be a spike in Jameis Winston’s numbers next year. Barring any more suspensions or injuries, the controversial quarterback should see a full allotment of 16 games in an Arians offense. During the five years in Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger as his quarterback, Arians coached up an average finish of 11.8 at the position. Big Ben’s highest fantasy finish was in 2007 (QB4), but the perennial Pro Bowlers low came the very next year in 2008 (QB18).
Look for an increase in the number of pass attempts for Winston. Under Dirk Koetter, the Buccaneers averaged 542.5 passing attempts per year. Compare this to an average of 589.6 passing attempts in Arizona during the five seasons Arians was in charge. This included 646 passing attempts in 2016 followed by 598 in 2017, third and fifth in the league, respectively.
FFStatistics’ own Michael Zingone projects Winston to have 586.4 passing attempts in 2019. This is right on par with an Arians led offense.
If these projections hold true, Winston would have been QB6 in 2018. This is worth the risk at the cost of the much-maligned quarterback’s ADP of 73.88 (QB11). There is certainly cause for trepidation as the Florida State grad has seen a steady decline in his fantasy rank every year he has been in the league, as has his draft counterpart, Marcus Mariota. Winston did only start 13 games in 2017 and just nine in 2018. However, if you are waiting on a quarterback in redraft, Jameis is certainly one to consider.
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.