Fantasy Football: 2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers depth chart
The 2017 Pro Football Weekly Fantasy Football magazine is on newsstands now and available online. In addition to rankings, mock drafts and loads of player reports, it features 32 team fantasy depth charts. Here’s a small taste of the Buccaneers information you’ll receive by purchasing your copy today.
QB1: Jameis Winston — Winston tossed six more touchdowns in Year Two but committed seven more takeaways (NFC-high 24) and enters 2017 with his weaponry boosted as much this offseason as any NFL passer. The additions of DeSean Jackson and top pick O.J. Howard alongside Mike Evans and Cameron Brate make Tampa a potential fantasy juggernaut and canddiate to return to the postseason for the first time since 2007... if Winston is ready to guide them. That’s still a significant if for the seventh QB off the board — he finished as QB15 last year, down from QB13 as a rookie — in July drafts, according to myfantasyleague.com.
RB1: Doug Martin — We know what a healthy Martin can do — RB2 and RB3 overall finishes in 2012 and 2015, respectively — but also how rare that has been — 25 combined games in his other three seasons. He’ll be on the shelf due to a drug suspension the first three weeks, but the fact he remains on the roster and seemingly enjoyed a rejuvenated offseason keeps him in the intriguing category — even if it was tough to detect signs of the player who averaged 1,799 scrimmage yards in ’12 and ’15 during last year’s turbulence (2.9 yards per carry after a hamstring injury cost him six games and before he was banned from the finale). Tampa is promising him nothing upon his return, as Jason Licht indicates Martin may be the type needing the fire beneath him constantly lit. Licht references Martin’s 2015 season, in a contract year, as proof of what he can do when being pushed. He’s not cheap — RB20, 5.01 per fantasyfootballcalculator.com — for someone on such shaky ground, though.
RB2: Jacquizz Rodgers — An early-round pick last year, Martin surely sabotaged many of his owners’ leagues — perhaps with the exception of the shrewd ones who scooped Rodgers from the waiver pile. ‘Quiz’ filled in more than admirably, handling at least 17 touches in five separate games, all but one yielding at least 100 scrimmage yards or a touchdown. Dirk Koetter knows Rodgers well dating back to their Atlanta time together, and he’s proven to be dependable and consistent, or the antithesis of Martin.
RB3: Charles Sims — Just two years removed from a RB17 finish in PPR leagues, Sims has shown he can be an effective receiving complement... and that he lacks the urgency and durability to carry the mail full time (Sims’ 2.9-yard average and regular trainer’s room residence last year was Martin-esque). Rodgeers, not Sims, is the preferred option while Martin serves his suspension, if not longer.
WR1: Mike Evans — He parlayed an NFL-high 175 targets into a standard league-leading 208 points, his best season and second top-10 finish in three NFL campaigns. Evans won’t see 175 targets again, not with Howard and Jackson on board, but he likely won’t see as much extra attention from defenses for the same reasons. His late-July ADP of WR4 and either seventh (myfantasyleague.com) or eighth (fantasypros.com) overall may be a tad rich for a player whose seven drops (h/t washingtonpost.com) were tied for the third-most in the league and 13.8-yard average sunk from 15.5 as a rookie and 16.3 in Year Two, but this is a 23-year-old who has already led fantasy and remains positioned to be a top-five wideout option at worst for the next decade.
WR2: DeSean Jackson — Koetter’s play-action based vertical offense seemingly is the perfect fit for Jackson, at 30 still one of the game’s best defensive lid lifters. He’ll have some dramatic swings (five 100-yard games, four appearances with 35 or fewer yards in 2016), but if you can insure that boom-or-bust reality with two consistent wideout studs above him on your depth chart, few WR3s in the game have louder boom potential. Jackson’s speed and Evans’ size are a match made in heaven for the Bucs and a mismatch straight from hell for opponents.
TE1: Cameron Brate — It’s not a typo. I like Brate more than Howard this season, when the veteran comes off his TE6 breakthrough, while the rookie likely comes on slowly following his inconsistent role in the passing game at Alabama. To be clear, though, I don’t view either as ideal TE1s — this isn’t Gronk-Hernandez 2.0, not yet anyway — but I do expect Koetter to lean heavily on two-TE sets, and adjusted the depth chart accordingly.
TE2: O.J. Howard — Don’t be surprised if he’s the rookie TE version of D-Jax, an explosive downfield weapon capable of going off at any given time, yet unlikely to be given enough looks for weekly fantasy dependence. Moreover, Howard, not Brate, will be asked more often to be the nasty in-line option for an offense bent on balance.