Jameis Winston
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Jameis Winston had a great rookie season with 4,042 yards with 22 touchdowns to 15 interceptions. He added 213 yards and six scores on the ground. Can he take a step forward in Year 2?
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Looking at his splits Winston was very consistent.
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Games 1-8: 1,895 yards, 10 TDs, 7 INTs, 115 rushing yards, 3 rushing TDs
Games 9-16: 2,147 yards, 12 TDs, 8 INTs, 98 rushing yards, 3 rushing TDs
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Winston’s numbers are slightly bloated by a five touchdown performance against he Philadelphia Eagles, but is showed a glimpse of his upside.
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A deeper look into Winston’s performances cause me to pump my brakes a little. He only topped 265 yards in five of his 16 starts. He only had six starts with multiple touchdown passes, and just one with over three. The way he finished the season is encouraging.
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Winston averaged 327.7 yards with four touchdown passes and a rushing score in his past three games.

Winston has been working out to improve his conditioning so he prepared to take that next step. More importantly he is putting in time in the film room so he’s mentally prepared.
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The Buccaneers have great targets for Winston’s development. Mike Evans saw his receiving yards increase from 1,051 to 1,206 but his touchdowns dipped from 12 to 3. Expect another improvement in the yards and a return to form in the touchdown area. Vincent Jackson gives Winston another large target. He provided just 543 yards and three touchdowns. While he won’t return to his previous form, he should provide some of the best WR2 numbers in the league.}
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Charles Sims and Doug Martin caught 51 and 33 passes respectively out of the backfield giving Winston two dynamic options while tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins gives him another big red zone target.
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Currently I have Winston as a low-end QB1. If he falls outside of that range it isn’t by much. He’ll be a nice QB2 option with upside. What are your thoughts on the second-year QB?

Michael Turner running
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The NFC South is pretty loaded in the running back department.
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Atlanta’s Michael Turner leads the way. He ran for 1371 yards and 12 touchdowns last year. He gets a downgrade in PPR leagues as he only caught 12 passes for 85 yards last year, but he’s a solid RB1. Turner has averaged 91.7 rushing yards and 0.91 rushing touchdowns per game over the past three years. Jason Snelling is one of the game’s best handcuffs because the Falcons hardly missed a beat when he filled in for Turner in the past. If he is a restricted free agent, he could be back with the club. If he is unrestricted it could be hard for them to bring him back. The Falcons drafted Jacquizz Rodgers, but he’ll strictly be the third down back.
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Tampa Bay got a pleasant surprise from LeGarrette Blount, who ran for 1007 yards with six touchdowns. He did his damage in just 201 carries (5.0 ypc).  Cadillac Williams is a free agent, but has expressed his desire to return to the Bucs. Blount is expected to get the bulk of the carries while Cadillac would play in passing situations. Rookie Allen Bradford isn’t expected to steal too many carries.
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Jonathan Stewart (and his keeper league owners) are perhaps second only to DeAngelo Williams and his agent in interest in where D-Will lands next year. If J-Stew has the backfield to himself, he could easily produce top five numbers, though Cam Newton could steal some of his touchdown runs. If Williams returns, Stewart can still be a viable fantasy option. They can definitely coexist for the Panthers and fantasy owners alike. D-Will could also be an elite fantasy option this year if he lands in the right place. If he signs with the Broncos, he could replace Knowshon Moreno as the team’s lead back. D-Will is an important piece in determining next year’s fantasy running back landscape.
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Pierre Thomas looked to be in a great spot when the Saints signed him to a four-year extension. Then they went and drafted Mark Ingram. That move likely sealed the fate of Reggie Bush, who will be sent packing if he doesn’t take a large pay cut. Thomas will likely move to change of pace and third-down duty while Ingram would carry the bulk of the snaps. This is a messy situation that will cause fantasy owners some heartache. Ingram should be a solid RB2 while PT23 should be a solid RB3.
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The NFC South features three of the top quarterbacks in the league and a rookie that wants to become an icon.
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Drew Brees sets the bar for the NFC South, and you need a ladder to reach it. Brees topped 4000 yards for the fifth straight year, 4620 to be exact. His 33 touchdown passes marked his third straight year with at least 33. Brees is remarkably accurate, productive, and consistent. He’s a bona fide star and top tier QB1. It doesn’t seem to matter who is catching the ball for him.
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Matt Ryan made a nice jump into borderline QB1 territory last year. He threw for 3705  yards and 28 touchdowns. Roddy White is one of the most explosive receivers in the league. The Falcons traded the moon for rookie WR Julio Jones to compliment Roddy. I’m not sure Ryan can be much more productive than last year, given their commitment to Michael Turner and the running game, but he should be as good or slightly better. Ryan is a low-end QB1, high-end QB2.
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Josh Freeman quietly turned in a solid season, throwing for 3451 yards and 25 touchdowns. Perhaps as impressive was his INT total (6). He added another 364 yards on the ground. Given his size, I expect Freeman to record his first rushing touchdown next year. His numbers are a little bloated thanks to a five touchdown performance against a dismal Seahawks pass defense in Week 16, but he remains a terrific QB2. Freeman really developed a nice rapport with Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn is ahead of schedule on his ACL recovery and should be more effective in 2011.
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Then you have Cam Newton. He is an amazing athlete, capable of being very productive with his arm and his feet. The lockout could prevent Newton from becoming comfortable with the offense, but he will still have the instincts to make plays with his feet. He’s worth a look late in the draft as a QB2, but he could run hot and cold in 2011, especially if Steve Smith gets his wish and is dealt to a contender.
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Image courtesy of Icon SMI

 

No, I am not talking about the Mike Williams who is trying to shed the bust label with the Seahawks. Though I am quietly rooting that he can turn his career around, I am more excited about the Tampa Bay rookie WR that shares the same name.

 

Tampa Bays’ Mike Williams is a 6’2″ WR out of Syracuse that has been turning heads in training camp. He is slated to start for the Bucs and could easily emerge as their #1 passing option. He had a nifty grab in Tampa’s preseason opener that went for 30 yards. As he gets more familiar with the offense and the speed of the NFL, as well as building a stronger rapport with Josh Freeman, that type of big play should happen much more frequently.

 

Williams is going for a steal now according to his Mock Draft Central ADP of 213 (75th WR taken). As the buzz gets out, look for him to fly up the draft boards. Williams would have been a more highly coveted player if it weren’t for his off-the-field issues. As long as he keeps his nose clean, he will be able to showcase his immense talent. He should provide good WR depth that could end up outperforming some of your starters. He is even more valuable in deep keeper leagues.

 

What are your expectations for Tampa’s Mike Williams?

The Bucs do not bring much to the table for fantasy owners. Aside from Kellen Winslow, there isn’t a reliable option. That doesn’t mean you should avoid them all together.

 

Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:  Favorable
Too bad the Bucs don’t have more fantasy options because their schedule, on paper anyway, is very soft. They start off against the Redskins at home in Week 14. Then they have two home games against fellow bottom dwellers Detroit and Seattle.

 

Five Star Fantasy Options
None

 

Four Star Fantasy Options
Kellen Winslow – Winslow is forever an injury risk, but he has shown enough toughness to fight through the pain that you can rely on him. He has had at least 77 catches and 875 yards in three of the last four seasons.  The main knock on  him is that he doesn’t score TDs (only 16 career TDs). He has added value in PPR leagues.

 

Three Star Fantasy Options
None

 

Two Star Fantasy Options
Cadillac Williams – The Auburn duo of Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown have had more of their share of injuries. There aren’t many players that I pull for more than Cadillac because of everything he’s endured. He was overlooked last year because of the acquisition of Derrick Ward, yet managed to compile a 1040 total yard (823 rushing), 7 TD (4 rushing) season. You have to be a little skeptical that Ward will play a larger role, but as of now it appears Williams is the Bucsback to own.

 

Reggie Brown – Newcomer Reggie Brown has a chance to start over in Tampa Bay. He was passed in Philly’s depth charts by youngsters DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. He’ll have to hold off veteran Michael Clayton and rookies Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams.

 

Buccaneers Defense/Special Teams – For starters I like their Week 15 and 16 match-ups against the Lions and Seahawks respectively. They also take on the Browns (Week 1) and Rams (Week 7).  Plus, their second match-up against the Saints is after the fantasy season.

 

One Star Fantasy Options
Josh Freeman – Freeman has the tools to become a good NFL QB, but it’s going to take some size. Without quality options at the WR position or a solid ground game, it will take a little longer. He’ll have his moments, but they will be few and far between.

 

Derrick Ward –  Ward did not exactly live up to the hype last year combining for 559 total yards (409 rushing) and 3 TDs (1 rushing). His paltry 3.6 yards per carry didn’t help matters. He could make a run at the starting gig this summer, but until he earns the gig, his stock is very limited.

 

Michael Clayton, Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams – After an impressive 80 catch, 1193 yard, 7 TD rookie season, Clayton has just 141 catches for 1743 yards and 3 TDs over the past  five seasons. Surely you don’t expect him to suddenly remember how to be an elite fantasy WR. Benn could beat out Clayton or Brown for a chance to start, but I wouldn’t put much faith in a rookie WR given Tampa Bay’s offense. Williams has the tools, but will likely take longer to make an impact.

 

Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

A couple of star receivers got banged up today.

Tampa Bay WR Antonio Bryant will miss the rest of the preseason after injuring his knee.  He tore the meniscus in his left knee.  He will have his knee scoped ASAP in hopes that he’ll be ready to go when the Bucs open their season on September 13th against Dallas.  Bryant had a career year last year with 83 receptions for 1248 yards and 7 TDs.  This is a blow to Bryant’s fantasy value as he won’t get time to work on a rapport with newcomer Luke McCown, who is likely to land the starting QB job. 

In other injury news, Carolina stud WR Steve Smith injured his shoulder in a collision with Cornerback Chris Gamble.  X-Rays are his shoulder were negative and it’s unclear at this point how long Smith will be out of action.

Bucs sign Bryon Leftwich

12 April 2009

It’s almost like Chucky never left Tampa as the Bucs added another QB to the mix.  According to ESPN’s Michael Smith, the seven-year QB signed a two-year deal with Tampa Bay. 

Leftwich appeared in five games with Pittsburgh last year registering a 104.3 passer rating.  He completed 21 of 36 passes (58.3%) for 303 yards.  He had a pair of TD strikes without an INT.  He has a career passer rating of 80.3, and has completed 842 of 1438 attempts (58.6%) with 54 TDs and 38 INTs.  He has added 378 yards and 9 TDs on the ground.

Leftwich will compete for the starting job along with Josh McCown, Brian Griese, and Josh Johnson.  Many draft experts were predicting that the Bucs would draft a QB (namely Kansas State’s Josh Freeman) with the 19th pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.  My guess is they’ll look to add a top LB to replace Derrick Brooks, who they released earlier this year.

Derrick Ward, one of the top Running Backs in the free agent market, signed a four-year deal with Tampa Bay worth $17 million.  He was part of a three-headed monster in New York with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.  Brandon Jacob’s role will remain the same, and Ahmad Bradshaw will take over Ward’s role as the Giants will likely move to a two-headed monster.

Meanwhile, in Tampa the signing signifies the end of Earnest Graham’s hold on the starting job.  He’ll still get plenty of carries, and will probably be the short-yardage back meaning he could vulture some TDs.  Cadillac Williams’ value takes a hit, but at this point you can hardly afford to gamble on him any more than the Bucs.  Ward should see a small boost in production as he moves to a feature back role.  As I said, Graham will get plenty of carries so temper your expectations.

The Bucs collapsed last year costing Jon Gruden his job.  His voice may have grown old with the players.  Raheem Morris is a new voice, and by all accounts is respected by the team.  Jeff Garcia will mostly likely not be back with the Bucs next year.  Luke McCown was re-signed and will be given the opportunity to compete with Brian Griese to win the starting gig.  Earnest Graham, Warrick Dunn, and Cadillac Williams (if he’s healthy) form a nice RB trio, but they’d be wise to add a young runner.  Antonio Bryant had a breakout year and is their top priority this offseason.  They put the franchise tag on him, and will likely work out a long-term deal.  Michael Clayton is also a Free Agent, but he has yet to match his impressive Rookie Season.  After disappointing for four years, I see no reason why he’d be back.  The Bucs should add some youth at WR this offseason.  Jerramy Stevens is a Free Agent, but with Alex Smith and John Gilmore under contract, I don’t see the Bucs going after Stevens hard to re-sign.  Left Tackle Donald Penn is a Restricted Free Agent.  I don’t see him going anywhere.

Defensively, Defensive Lineman Kevin Carter and Jovan Haye and Defensive Backs Phillip Buchanon and Jermaine Phillips are Free Agents.  The Bucs are likely to go away from the Tampa 2 so there could be a lot of changes on Defense this year.  The Bucs will bring in guys who fit their new philopshy.

KFFL Free Agent Tracker:

Pos Player Name FA Status Previous Team Current Team
QB Bruce Eugene RFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
QB Jeff Garcia UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
QB Luke McCown Re-signed Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FB Byron Storer RFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
WR Antonio Bryant UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
WR Michael Clayton UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
WR Cortez Hankton UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
TE Jason Pociask Re-signed Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TE Jerramy Stevens UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
OT Anthony Davis UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
OT Donald Penn RFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
OT Julius Wilson Re-signed Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DL Kevin Carter UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
DL Jovan Haye UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
DL Dre Moore Re-signed Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DL Ryan Sims UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
LB Sam Olajubutu RFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
CB Kyle Arrington Re-signed Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers
CB Phillip Buchanon UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
SS Jermaine Phillips UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent
FS Will Allen UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agent

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview

1 September 2008

 

The Bucs are coming off a 9-7 that saw them win the NFC South. They were pretty quiet this offseason, with the exception of being a player in the #4 saga.

Offensively they are pretty old.  Jeff ”Cherry” Garcia is 38.  Joey Galloway will turn 37 this November.  Ike Hilliard is 32.  Michael Clayton sucks.  Oops, how did that slip in there.  That’s your passing attack.  Some old heads and some scraps.  Antonio Bryant came over from San Francisco, and he could provide a boost to their passing game.  Their ground game will again be led by overachieving Earnest Graham.  He took advantage of a break last year to rack up over 1200 total yards and 10 TDs.  Not too shabby if I say so myself.  The Bucs brought Warrick Dunn, who’s 33, to share the load.  Michael Bennett will probably get worked into the mix as well.  Alex Smith showed some promise at Tight End.

Their Defense is anchored by Derrick Brooks, imagine that.  He put together a 109 tackle season.  Barrett Ruud (114 tackles) and Cato June helped round out a solid Linebacking corps.  Jermaine Phillips (83 tackles, 4 picks) was a solid contributor at Strong Safety.  Phillip Buchanon and Ronde Barber round out a stellar secondary.  Greg White, Jovan Haye, and Gaines Adams provided a nice pass rush.  I expect even bigger things for Adams in his Sophomore year.

Cherry Garcia does just enough to pick up victories.  He doesn’t turn the ball over and let’s his strong Defense go to work for him.  That combo will be enough for the Bucs to pick up another nine or ten wins this year.   They will make the Wildcard and be immediately shown the door.  At least they are getting invited to the dance.

Fantasy-wise Tampa has little to offer.  Garcia is only good during the bye week of your starting QB.  If you’re going to roll with him make sure he has a nice matchup that week.  Earnest Graham has great potential if he can prove last year wasn’t a fluke.  Joey Galloway is the weapon you’ll want in the passing game.  I won’t endorse Antonio Bryant fully, but he is worth considering. 

 


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