New head coaches typically have an immediate impact. It’s similar to the government printing money to stimulate the economy. However, both of these results are short lived because they do not address underlying flaws. Sudden culture changes are temporary fixes, and do not stretch across multiple seasons. DFS players could care less about the long term health of the Buccaneers.
Only this season matters and only fantasy points matter, and the Buccaneers are once again primed to score fantasy points in droves. An optimistic offense and a suspect defense may mean a long year for the Tampa Bay fans, but DFS players that regularly roster the high-upside Bucs will be pleased.
Key Departures: Dirk Koetter, HC; Adam Humphries, WR; DeSean Jackson WR
Although Koetter cannot be rostered on DraftKings, his departure has a larger impact than most of the player transactions across the NFL this offseason. Koetter’s relationship with Jameis Winston was shaky to say the least. On numerous occasions, Koetter benched Winston, and rightfully so, Winston was a turnover machine. Now, with Koetter gone, the keys have been turned over to Winston, deservedly or undeservedly. It’s hard to imagine that the Buccaneers will make the playoffs, but an uncuffed Winston will pile up gaudy fantasy numbers in their losing efforts.
The Buccaneer aerial attack will look different this season. The departure of Jackson is meaningless as he was an insignificant part of the offense in 2018, but Humphries’ move to the Titans will present an incredible offensive opportunity for the receiver that fills the void. Humphries was not an exceptional receiver, and his absence will not debilitate the 2019 offense. However, being that Humphries was able to play a significant DFS role last season, another mid-level talent should be able to absorb his targets and replicate his 2018 fantasy performance.
Key Acquisitions: Bruce Arians, HC
As previously mentioned Koetter is gone, and Arians, a seasoned NFL head coach, stepped out of retirement to take over the Bucs. Arians is an offensive-minded coach that engineered annual top-5 offenses as the offensive coordinator for the Steelers (2007-2011) and as the head coach of the Cardinals (2013-2017). Tampa has the receiver tools necessary to establish an explosive offense (Mike Evans and Chris Godwin), but Arians has only worked with veteran quarterbacks. Will Winston and Arians form a strong bond, or will 2019 be a repeat of previous seasons?
2019 Fantasy MVP
Jameis Winston, QB
Regardless of wins and losses, Winston has been a solid fantasy football quarterback. His fantasy status is not completely due to his talent, but rather his situation. The Buccaneers spent their first five 2019 draft picks on defense, but it’s unlikely that these rookies will turn the pirate ship around. Winston will again be forced into passing heavy situations that will frustrate Buccaneers fans, but bring joy to the hearts of DFS players. Also, Winston’s propensity to throw interceptions dig that hole deeper, and even more offensive possessions while trailing are the result. Winston is not an MVP, but from a statistical perspective, he will continue to pile up passing yards and touchdowns.
2019 Fantasy LVP
Peyton Barber, RB
At this moment, Barber is still the man. In his third season, he tallied 871 rushing yards (19th most), which is not bad for a Buccaneers team that passed the sixth-most in the NFL. Unfortunately, Barber has never seemed like a player that was on the verge of breaking out. His near 1,000-yard season is likely his ceiling, and he may never reach that number again with 2018 second-round pick Ronald Jones ready to take over. Further limiting Barber’s potential is Arians’ offensive game plan. David Johnson caught 80 passes out of the backfield for Arians in 2016. Barber caught 29 passes last season. If Jones does not take Barber’s job, then his role will surely be diminished in an Arians offense.
2019 Breakout Player
Chris Godwin, WR
The stars have aligned for Godwin. An offensive guru has taken over the Buccaneers, and improved quarterback play and play calling will surely boost his numbers. Complimenting his good fortune is the departure of Humphries and DeSean Jackson, taking with them 179 targets. These targets will not automatically fall in the hands of Godwin and Evans, but the two lead receivers will surely experience an uptick in targets in 2019. External factors aside, Godwin is an exceptional talent that has been on the verge of a breakout since he was drafted. He proved that he was a top-tier receiver last season by catching 59 passes for 842 yards and 7 touchdowns. Godwin has always been more of the deep threat for the Buccaneers, but with the departure of possession receiver Humphries, Godwin figures to play a more versatile role in 2019.
It will likely be another long season for Buccaneers fans. The Saints own the division, and the Panthers and the Falcons are still competitive opponents. This is good news for DFS players. The Buccaneers averaged the sixth-most plays per game last season, and they’re likely to repeat this rapid pace due to their turnover-prone quarterback, poor defense and tough division. The combination of Winston and Evans will be popular in cash games, and the addition of Godwin to this combo will be popular in GPPs on the weeks that the Over/Under hits the mid-50s.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.