I recently appeared on RotoViz Radio: A Football Podcast to discuss the NFC South with Matthew Freedman and discuss how I see things shaking out this year down south. The fantastic apps here at RotoViz like the Best Ball ADP app and the cheat sheet calculator are powered by the projections of RV contributors. If you would like to hear the episode, here you go. Here are my fantasy projections for the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, and New Orleans Saints. Lastly, let’s take a look at Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Following a 2-14 year as an offense without an actual Offensive Coordinator, the new Dirk Koetter-lead Bucs offense is a nice place to find fantasy value this year across every skill position. The Quarterback play will be upgraded, the Wide receivers are a nice mix of top-end talent and mid-round value, and the running game is great way to support an early receiver draft approach. Heith Krueger covered the Bucs in depth, and he made some great early discoveries about how Koetter will impact this team.
There are historical implications with the projection I have for Jameis Winston, Yet, this says a whole lot of nothing. Rookie Quarterbacks don’t typically perform at this level, but what’s the sample size of rookie Quarterbacks that were drafted early, get the chance to start Week 1, and are drafted to teams that have the receiving talents of Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson? To add to this, what’s the sample size of rookie Quarterbacks that meet these parameters since the league began its transformation to a pass happy league with new rules that both protect Quarterbacks and limit pass-catcher contact? The history becomes pretty small.
If you like the current price for both the top pass-catchers, then you have to love the 22nd overall QB ADP of Winston. I have him projected as the 15th best quarterback this season. Maybe the Touchdown total is a bit high, but this projection accounts for and aligns to the current prices of the pass catchers. Fantasy Douche used the projection machine early on and accounted for a significant number of pass attempts for this offense. If I coupled this number with the receiver efficiency metrics I’ve tallied, Winston would be off the charts in comparison to his ADP. If you don’t think Winston can achieve the lower pass attempt range I have projected, then you probably shouldn’t draft Evans or Jackson at their ADPs either.
Mike Evans is coming off the board as the 10th best receiver, and that’s where I have him projected as well. Maybe his touchdown totals regress, but I find this hard to believe considering the lack of talent that threw him all those touchdowns last season. I think 26% reTRGTMS and 10 Touchdowns for Evans is a pretty conservative projection, and it feels right given all the catch-up they should be playing. Tim Talmadge thinks we should be cautious with Mike Evans this year, but I couldn’t get there after going through the projection exercise. This team appears to have an extremely friendly schedule this year for passing offenses.
Vincent Jackson did his best Andre Johnson impression last year by avoiding scoring Touchdowns, and there is no way that numbers remains as low as it was last year. I have him projected to score 6.59 Touchdowns this year. I can see him catching 2 less and Evans getting two more, and vice versa. Jackson is the 31st drafted receiver, and I have him projected at 28. Both of these receivers look par the course from an ADP perspective. Again, the takeaway here is that if the community likes both these receivers at their ADPs, then Winston is simply being under-drafted.
Kenny Bell will be a name to monitor for the long haul but is nothing to worry about in the short term. The artist formerly known as James Todd brought up a very interesting point about Jackson from a salary cap perspective. Jackson is the 2nd highest hit to the cap in 2016, and while there would be over $2MM plus in dead money, his early release next year could save the team over $7MM toward the cap. This isn’t out of the question if the Bucs aren’t winning games and need some dough.
I like Austin Seferian-Jenkins a ton from a dynasty perspective, but I think his break-out is tied to said departure of Jackson, or at least a pendulum swing away from him as he gets older. He’s coming off the board 13th, and I have him projected just after that. He should be a good streaming target, but I don’t think he crashes the scene just yet. Maybe another year is all he needs. Charles Kleinheksel thinks he’s actually a nice bargaining chip to scoop up another Tight End piece plus more.
I was one of the first on the scene to poo-poo on the Doug Martin hype a couple years back, and the collective hate on Doug Martin probably went too far. His ADP has been climbing the past couple weeks, and he’s now the 27th Running Back being drafted. I have him projected at 23rd, so he’s not quite the value he was a month ago but still worth the price nevertheless. I expect Martin to give way to Charles Sims on passing downs, and this is probably going to occur more often than Martin owners would like, but this scenario is pretty much already baked into his price. Shawn Siegele reminds us why we shouldn’t write off running backs with early career struggles.
I don’t think Sims is as bad as many believe. He barely got on the field last year after being hobbled all season, and it’s not like he came back into a situation that resembled anything conducive to being productive out of the back field. If you’re in a deep league, give him a late look, but otherwise he’s a guy to monitor on the waiver wire.
Be sure to play around with your own projections in the Projection Machine, and I’ll cover off on the rest of the NFC South after this.