With free agency right around the corner, it’s time to look at the Tampa Bay fantasy-relevant free agents and a few other players who may not be long for the team. After a look at the free agents and possible cut candidates, I’ll circle back and do some more player or position-specific analysis.
The Buccaneers ranked seventh in yards per game with 363.4 and scored on 33.7 percent of its offensive drives (16th). The Buccaneers defense ranked last in yards allowed with 378.1. The team has a number of building blocks in place offensively, but could use some playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. What happens next for the Buccaneers?
Free Agents information and cap numbers are courtesy of OverTheCap.
The Buccaneers currently have $69.7 million in projected cap space heading into free agency.
The Buccaneers coaching staff still values quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as the backup to starter Jameis Winston. He started three games last season when Winston missed time due to a shoulder injury. Fitzpatrick completed 58.9 percent of his passes and threw for around 250 yards per game with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 7-3. Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter values playing experience which third-string QB Ryan Griffin does not have.
|PLAYER||POSITION||DEAD MONEY||CAP SAVING|
The Buccaneers released Doug Martin after several disappointing seasons spoiled by injuries, suspensions, and poor efficiency. He played six seasons in Tampa after being drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft. The signs of Martin’s decline have been out there for a while, but the Bucs and fantasy owners alike were hoping for a bounceback season that didn’t occur.
Will Jacquizz Rodgers replace Martin? It is highly unlikely considering he finished 2017 with negative rushing fantasy points over expectation and logged only 64 carries. ERFA Peyton Barber will attempt to fend off the offseason acquisitions to be the 2018 starter.
The Buccaneers have not been unable to connect all of the dots to create a remarkable season. The team’s front office will have to address two key offensive positions this offseason. Will the Buccaneers live up to the hype in 2018?
The Buccaneers averaged 24.4 rushing attempts per game, which ranked 26th in the NFL, and none of their RBs finished with positive fantasy points over expectation (ruFPOE).
The Buccaneers could target a free agent RB such as Dion Lewis, Carlos Hyde or Jerick McKinnon. If the team chooses to address the position in the NFL Draft, USC’s Ronald Jones could be an option.
The team is likely to keep right tackle Demar Dotson and center Ali Marpet, but Donovan Smith’s lack of progression makes him expendable. The offensive line played better than the RB production suggests when evaluating their Adjusted Line and Open Field Yards. The Buccaneers simply need additional depth at the position. The team could address this in free agency by signing someone like Justin Pugh, who has demonstrated an ability to play multiple positions on the OL, or target the position in the draft.
The Packers, Dolphins, and Cowboys are the only NFL teams with more cap dollars allocated to the wide receiver position in 2018 than the Buccaneers. The front office added DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard to provide Winston with receiving options, but a viable RB will stabilize the offense even further. Lewis, Hyde, and McKinnon are intriguing players to target in dynasty.
Any of the three could thrive if given an opportunity in Tampa Bay with Koetter’s scheme and this offensive line.
Now is a great time to buy low on Mike Evans even though he was a colossal disappointment last season, finishing as the WR17 in PPR formats.
The target volume will continue to be there for Evans and defensive coverage should loosen up if Koetter gets Jackson and the other receiving options more involved. Despite his up and down statistical production, the 2014 and 2016 seasons demonstrate his elite fantasy ceiling.
What did you find most useful? Please leave a comment below or better yet reach to out to me on Twitter @EricNMoody.