32 Teams In 32 Days: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
32 Teams In 32 Days
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Hello, fellow fantasy football degenerates. In my “32 In 32” series I will be going team by team breaking them down from every aspect you can think of. From their records, team statistics, Vegas lines, contract situations, individual statistics, fantasy numbers, draft picks and implications, free agency updates, and more. Everything to recap 2018 and preview 2019.
Part seven of my #32TeamsIn32Days series is going to dig into the last place team from 2018 with a big-time passing game. Whichever quarterback they threw out there was able to move the ball down the field to a great group of receivers but also loved to give the ball away way to much. The running game was not always there and their second-round rookie did not show up. What was the ultimate downfall of the team from Tampa Bay? Let us see if we can figure out what to make of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers moving forward in today’s installment of 32 Teams In 32 Days.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)
Not much went right this year in terms of real football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018 after their Week 1 48-40 victory over the eventual division champion New Orleans Saints and their Week2 27-21 victory over the future wild card Philadelphia Eagles. First of all, the quarterback position at times was a revolving door. Secondly, the running game did not start to click until late in the year. Thirdly, the Bucs lost their stud tight end to injury (OJ Howard, Ankle). Lastly, the defense… Oh, the defense was, to say the least, atrocious. The receiving game flourished throughout the year though.
Unfortunately, the top passing game in the league did not result in wins and was probably due in large part to the fact there was little running game and the defense was so bad. They won their second game and then it was a whole lot of bad from there on out. Tampa would lose 11 of their final 14 games including losing streaks of three and twice, a four-game streak. Changes had to be made.
The coaching staff has been turned over with the hire of Bruce Arians at the top and there is a new buzz for next year. A coaching change does not always mean an instant success of course because for the change to happen there first had to be a reason. Furthermore, the uncertainty at quarterback has been addressed but did they commit to the right guy? The defense needs work but there are pieces here to work with and in today’s NFL, scoring points is the primary focus for most teams.
|vs.||Atlanta Falcons||7||9||0||0.438||-0.1||Past Matchups|
|at||Atlanta Falcons||7||9||0||0.438||-0.1||Past Matchups|
|vs.||Carolina Panthers||7||9||0||0.438||0.9||Past Matchups|
|at||Carolina Panthers||7||9||0||0.438||0.9||Past Matchups|
|vs.||New Orleans Saints||13||3||0||0.813||10.1||Past Matchups|
|at||New Orleans Saints||13||3||0||0.813||10.1||Past Matchups|
|vs.||Arizona Cardinals||3||13||0||0.188||-11.5||Past Matchups|
|at||Los Angeles Rams||13||3||0||0.813||8.5||Past Matchups|
|at||Seattle Seahawks||10||6||0||0.625||4.5||Past Matchups|
|at||San Francisco 49ers||4||12||0||0.250||-5.5||Past Matchups|
|vs.||Indianapolis Colts||10||6||0||0.625||3.4||Past Matchups|
|vs.||Houston Texans||11||5||0||0.688||3.8||Past Matchups|
|at||Jacksonville Jaguars||5||11||0||0.313||-4.0||Past Matchups|
|at||Tennessee Titans||9||7||0||0.563||0.2||Past Matchups|
|Detroit Lions||6||10||0||0.375||-3.0||Past Matchups|
|New York Giants||5||11||0||0.313||-2.2||Past Matchups|
Tampa Bay Offense
Having the third-best total offense and best passing offense (415.5/ 320.3 per game) translated into points (24.8, 12th) but not enough to overcome one of only two defenses to allow 29+ points per game. They scored 24+ points in 11 games in 2018 but when you allow 23+ in 11 games it tends to nullify the good the offense does. They were right in the middle of the pack allowing 2.6 sacks per game which is not great but when your running game is one of six that does not exceed 100 yards per game (95.2, 29th), teams can wait on the pass and pin their ears back so to speak.
This all still would not be that bad, especially when you add in three fantasy-relevant wide receivers, two tight ends and a quarterback combo that would have finished second overall at the position. They finished second in total first downs and third in third-down conversion rate (388, 46.0%). Finally, what ultimately did Tampa Bay in? A -18 turnover ratio has to take at least… oh I do not know, 65% of the blame. The other 35% can be split amongst coaching, key injuries to an already suspect defense and to a big piece of the offense, variance, and trouble sticking with one QB.
- Points Per Game 2017-2018/ Difference (20.9-24.8/ +3.9)
- Yards Per Game 2017-2018/ Difference (323.7-415.5/ +52)
- First Downs Per Game 2017-2018/ Difference (22.0-24.25/ +2.25)
- Third Down Conversion Rate 2017-2018/ Difference (43.4%-46.0%/ +2.6%)
- Penalties Per Game 2017-2018/ Difference (6.5-7.31/ +0.81)
- Turnover Ratio 2017-2018/ Difference (-1/-18/-17)
2018 Vegas Lines
|G#||Opp||Spread||Over/Under||Result||vs. Line||OU Result|
Results vs. Line: 8-7-1
As Underdog vs. Line: 7-4-1
Favored vs. Line: 1-3-0
Over: 9 Under: 7 Push: 0
*Note: Jameis Winston was suspended for Week 1-3 due to a violation of the league’s Personal Conduct Policy.
If your a streamer of quarterbacks, then in 2018, you might have come across these two at some point in time. Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick both had some pretty great moments in 2018. But, anytime one of the two made a few mistakes, the other was brought in to clean up the mess so there was rarely consistency. For the most part, they did not do you wrong, but if you were someone like myself that rolled back and forth between the two of them, you took some really bad shots to the chin.
Two quarterbacks may be something that works in small spots but you need to have one guy. Ultimately, Fitz-magic would turn into Fitz-tragic and Winston would be handed the keys for the end of the year to try and determine if the Bucs were going to keep trying with the talented, yet slightly troubled QB. That is the end goal in a real-life QB competition as well as streaming in fantasy. You want to find one to rely on. When you take the two fantasy seasons together and if you were able to survive the few land mines they left, the tandem was the QB2 in 2018.
Combined QB Finish
- QB1 417.0 FF Points Patrick Mahomes
- QB2, 361.8 FF Points (Winston 196.0/ Fitzpatrick 165.8)
- QB3(2), 354 FF Points Matt Ryan
Winstons’s 2018 Season
- QB21, 196.0 Fan Points
- Completed 244/378 Attempts (64.6%)
- 2992 Yards (7.9 Y/A – 12.3 Y/C)
- 19 TDs (5.0% TD Rate) 14 INT (3.7% INT Rate)
- 49 RuAtt, 281 Yards, 1 TD
- Total QBR 71.8 (QB Rate 90.2)
Fitzpatrick’s 2018 Season
- QB27, 165.8 Fan Points
- Completed 164/246 Attempts (66.7%)
- 2366 Yards (9.6 Y/A – 14.4 Y/C)
- 17 TDs (6.9% TD Rate) 12 INT (4.9% INT Rate)
- 36 RuAtt, 152 Yards, 2 TD
- Total QBR 64.4 (QB Rate 100.4)
Their Plans Of Attack
As you can see below, each quarterback had their favorite targets in the passing game. Winston’s best results came when he targeted short and intermediate routes. You can tell this by looking at the chart below and seeing his top-four passer ratings by the target was to a tight end, slot receiver, and two running backs. Fitzpatrick as you can see also had good success to the same slot receiver but his other two best results came when targeting two receivers that did not just work on the inside in 2018. Surprisingly, neither of the two surpassed a 97 quarterback rating when targeting the team’s number one target, Mike Evans. Also, you can see that Fitzpatrick was far less effective when targeting running backs as he loved to chuck it deep rather than dump it off.
Below you can see how frequently the two quarterbacks targeted each position in 2018 and their careers in general. Winston has slowly been targeting non-wide receivers more as his career has progressed and it seems Fitzpatrick changes with the system. It is interesting to note that even though Fitzpatrick had better success when targeting wide receivers as you see above, Winston targeted them more frequently and Fitzpatrick threw to the running backs at a higher rate than Winston as you see below. Both quarterbacks targeted tight ends at a similar rate but while Fitzpatrick saw relatively equal success to OJ Howard and Cameron Brate, Winston was far more successful when throwing to Howard.
2019 QB free Agency Update
Ryan Fitzpatrick has signed with the Miami Dolphins. Ryan Griffin has resigned on a two-year deal. Tampa has clearly made the statement that Winston is their guy for the time being. They did not draft anyone in 2019.
With Bruce Arians taking over for Dirk Koetter, this has been a big topic of discussion. Arians has helped produce some great offenses in his days with the Steelers, Colts, and Cardinals. He likes a big-time passing attack with lots of downfield throws and a running back that does not need to come off the field in any scenario as we saw with David Johnson. Ronald Jones, Peyton Barber, and Jacquizz Rodgers are not exactly his blueprint. Jones though has the draft capital so the team may want to give him a chance. Also, both Barber and Jones received an endorsement from the new staff. Rodgers is currently without a team and they did not draft anyone.
Note: Reports from late February were that the coaching staff like Barber and Ronald Jones to see a big jump in 2019.
Click here for a great breakdown of the coaching change.
The Running Game
In the second round of the 2018 NFL draft, the Buccaneers selected Ronald Jones with expectations that he could take over the lead role in the backfield. For the first season at least, they were wrong. Jones was never able to get any type of a hold on a role in the offense. There were originally some questions about the pick and those did not go away following a less than spectacular, 30 touch, 77 yards, 1 TD season.
Jones averaged just 2.6 yards per touch, had no breakaway runs, and only 4 evaded tackles. You would think if you were facing a light front on 78.3% of your attempts rushing, you would be able to do a little more on the ground. Jones has some things to prove especially with a new coach that likes guys that can do it all. Jones had just 32 Receptions in his three years at USC.
The back that carried the majority of the work in ’18 was Peyton Barber. The undrafted RB did all he could do in the situation he was in.
- Opportunity share – 68.5% (Ninth)
- Attempts rushing – 234 (Ninth)
- Evaded tackles – 62 (10th)
- Yards created – 304 (16th)
- Goal line attempts rushing – 9 (13th)
Barber’s 2018 Season
- RB26, 130.3 Fan Points
- 234 RuAtt (14.6 AttP/G), 871 Yards (54.4 YdP/G), 1 100 Yard Game
- Caught 20/29 Targets, 92 Yards (4.6 Y/R)
- 5 RuTD, 1 ReTD (6 Total)
- 255 Touches, 963 Yards (3.8 Y/T)
Both Barber and fellow backfield mate Jacquizz Rodgers were free agents following the season. Barber signed a one year deal and Rodgers is still without a team. With a whole new coaching staff, this could go many ways. Bruce Arians just took over in Tampa and if history tells us anything, it is that he likes a workhorse back that can catch the ball. Jones as I mentioned above, only had 32 Receptions in his three years at USC and in his JR year, four total running backs for the Trojans (Including Jones) caught passes. If he had 32 Receptions but nobody else received any work either, this would be less concerning.
As I stated above, both running backs have gotten some praise in the offseason from the new coaching staff and the fact that the Buccaneers did not draft a replacement makes both backs interesting late in drafts.
Tampa Bay did pick up Bruce Anderson out of North Dakota State. Anderson is a versatile back that can play a lot of roles on a team including returning kicks. He could surprise people in training camp. Anderson can run routes and has good hands to go with his running ability. He stands 5-11, 202 lbs.
Mike Evans And The Rest Of The Wide Receivers
Tampa Bay produced a rarity in the fantasy game. Three fantasy relevant wide receivers who all had long periods of sustained success in 2018. Mike Evans as a WR1, Chris Godwin just outside of the WR2 range and Adam Humphries and a solid WR3 of FLEX. Even a fourth in DeSean Jackson put up multiple fantasy relevant weeks. Those all came with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Arians expressed his desire for Jackson to be a Buccaneer moving forward but that was not meant to be. Jackson has signed a three year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. Humphries was a free agent as well and moved on to Tennessee. That is 179 vacated targets.
Evans’ 2018 Season
- WR6, 198.4 Fan Points
- Caught 86/138 Targets (62.3%) 5.4 P/G
- 1,524 Yards (17.7 Y/R, 11.04 Y/T) 8 100 Yard games
- 8 TDs
Evans had a fantastic season in ’18. He saw an abundance of contested targets (61.3% contested catch rate) as the two quarterbacks were not shy about throwing it up to the fifth year WR. Evans finished third in receiving yards (1,524), fourth in yards per reception (17.7), fifth in yards per target (11.0), and first in air yards (1,256). He was not given many chances to do things with the ball in his hands (268 yards after the catch, 33rd). The 1.28 avg yards of separation (79th) could be a decent chunk of the reason he had to make so many contested catches.
As you can see below, Evans had slightly less opportunity but was actually a more efficient WR once Winston took over for good. I feel that is due to Winston getting more weapons involved and he was trying to protect his job. There were fewer risks taken than when Fitz was under center.
Games 1-9 (Both Winston and Fitzpatrick started.)/ Games 10-16 (Winston finished the season as the starter.)
Godwin’s 2018 Season
- WR25, 126.2 Fan Points
- Caught 59/95 Targets (62.1%) 3.7 P/G
- 842 Yards (14.3 Y/R, 8.8 Y/T) 3 100 Yard games
- 2 TDs
Humphries’ 2018 Season
- WR31, 112.7 Fan Points
- Caught 76/105 Targets (72.4%) 4.8 P/G
- 816 Yards (10.7 Y/R, 7.7 Y/T)
- 5 TDs
2019 WR free Agency Update
Adam Humphries has signed with the Tennessee Titans in a 4-year deal. This should allow Chris Godwin to slot right into his role, as the new HC has stated is a possibility. Breshad Perriman is coming off a career revival of sorts in Cleveland. As you can see below, towards the end of the season, Perriman became a somewhat consistent weapon for the Browns passing attack. It will be tough for him to take many targets from Evans and Godwin but after that, as far as WR is concerned, the jobs could be up for grabs.
He has signed a one-year deal with the Bucs. The vacated targets have also opened up an opportunity for Justin Watson.
Watson is an athletic wide receiver that did not get much of a chance last season. Watson only saw 3 targets across 12 games. The former Pennsylvania wide receiver will get his chance this year to assert himself into a role for the Buccaneers. Evans and Godwin are both locked into their roles one would assume. This leaves that WR3 role in a high powered offense up for grabs.
- Scott Miller WR, BGREEN
Height: 5-11, Weight: 166
No one is talking about Scott Miller.
Drafted in the 6th round by TB.
Miller broke out at age 19 with 44.2% rec/TD MS at Bowling Green and finished his college career with a 41.5% DR.
He doesn't have draft capital but let me tell you why he's one to watch.
— Jesse Reeves (@JesseReevesFF) May 3, 2019
Malik Taylor from Ferris State was signed by Tampa Bay. Also, Anthony Johnson out of Buffalo. A surprising UDFA to me but his workouts were less than impressive for sure. He now has an opportunity to stand out in camp and possibly take a spot in a high powered offense. The room is crowded at the top but there is certainly a competition to be had at the bottom. Justin Watson is no guarantee. Johnson had two 1000+ yard, 11+ TD seasons for the Buffalo Bulls in 2017 and 2018.
They also added Demarkus Lodge out of Ole Miss. The much overshadowed third wide receiving option of NWO (Nasty Wide Outs) as the group was referred to by so many. here is a tweet I put out about all three of the receivers from the school. (Lodge portion, scroll up on tweet for A.J. Brown and DK Metcalf)
… Damarkus Lodge- overshadowed and under the radar.
Another Ole Miss wr that only plays on one side right? Yes but based on the role given by Matt Luke HC. He was never asked to play on the left or in slot except on very rare occasions. We only got to see Lodge in the…
— David Willsey FF_TYM (@willson8tor) April 25, 2019
Two Playable Tight Ends?
The Bucs had OJ Howard looked like he might have been on his way to a top-five TE season. He finished as a top-10 TE despite missing the final six games following a bad ankle injury that forced him to the IR for the second straight year. There was also a three target, no reception game early in the season.
OJ Howard – “Howard had a mini-breakout in 2018 before ending it on the IR with foot and ankle injuries. This could mark the beginning of a trend for OJ as he also ended 2017 on the IR for similar injuries. He is still a locked and loaded TE1 for fantasy purposes in my eyes, but ankle injuries have a way of creeping up every season.”-Ethan Turner
Howard’s 2018 Season
- TE10, 86.5 Fan Points
- Caught 34/48 Targets (70.8%) 3.4 P/G
- 565 Yards (16.6 Y/R, 11.7 Y/T)
- 5 TDs
Cameron Brate is one of the favorite red zone targets on the team and is under contract until 2024. He put up a solid fantasy TE season but Tampa Bay really only uses him near the goal line. There is no reason Howard cannot be that same guy if he can return fully from his ankle injury. We have seen he is a pretty fast healer from earlier injuries. In my opinion, depending on Howard’s injury, Tampa should look to move Brate to a TE needy team. They may just choose to hold as they do like him near the goal-line and Howard could be a little injury prone. Either way, If there are both of them playing, start Howard. If just one is playing, start that one and feel good to great about it.
2019 TE free Agency Update
Alan Cross has yet to sign with a team.
2018 Fantasy Relevant Draftees
38th Overall, RB Ronald Jones
- 30 Touches, 77 Yards, 1 TD
103rd Overall, WR Justin Watson
- Caught 1/3 Targets, 5 Yards
With The 5th Overall Pick In The 2019 NFL Draft, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Select… (Prediction originally made 1/30/2019.)
The Bucs should look at the defense, especially in the passing game. Greedy Williams anyone? Teams can always stand to add O-Line. Tampa Bay allowed 2.6 sacks per game in ’18 (Tied w/ three teams for the eighth most sacks per game).
Tampa Bay definitely went after the defensive side of the ball.
- Devin White LB, LSU
Height: 6-0, Weight: 237
- Sean Bunting CB, CMICH
Height: 6-0, Weight: 195
- Jamel Dean CB, AUBURN
Height: 6-1, Weight: 206
- Mike Edwards S, UK
Height: 5-10, Weight: 205
- Anthony Nelson DL, IOWA
Height: 6-7, Weight: 271
- Matt Gay K, UTAH
Height: 6-0, Weight: 232
- Scott Miller WR, BGREEN
Height: 5-11, Weight: 166
- Terry Beckner, Jr. DL, MIZZOU
Height: 6-4, Weight: 296
2018 Buccaneers Injuries
Click here for the Tampa Bay injuries.