Long live the king. Tom Brady’s reign over the AFC is officially over. Per ESPN, Brady is expected to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers once the 2020 NFL season officially begins — so what’s the fantasy impact?
From a fantasy perspective, Brady’s departure from the talent-depleted New England receiving corps is a plus. But what does his arrival in Tampa mean for Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and co.?
Let’s dive into the fantasy ramifications of “Tom Brady, Buccaneers QB.”
Brady to the Buccaneers: Fantasy Impact on Tom Brady
Tampa was No. 2 on my fantasy wish list of possible Brady landing spots, and for good reason. Compared to New England, the move to Tampa is undoubtedly a plus for Brady’s fantasy value.
Here’s what I wrote in my fantasy wish list piece for Brady landing in Tampa:
Evans (24%) and Godwin (22%) accounted for nearly 50% of all of Tampa Bay’s targets last season, while the rest were vacuumed up by the likes of deep threat Breshad Perriman (13%) and TEs O.J. Howard (10%) and Cameron Brate (9%). It would be fun to see Brady throw to these weapons, and we have only to look at Winston’s recent fantasy success to see why it would be good from a fantasy perspective as well.
Brady may not throw for 5,100 yards, but a fantasy QB1 season would be a very, very real possibility if the GOAT lands in Tampa. This would be one of the best fantasy landing spots for Brady in 2020.
I would say that it’s reasonable to expect a fantasy back-end fantasy QB1 season from Brady in 2020. Look for about 4,500 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Brady to the Buccaneers: Fantasy impact on Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and WRs
Evans and Godwin are elite fantasy forces already, so what’s the impact of Tom Brady joining them on the Buccaneers?
Evans and Godwin were both bonafide fantasy WR1s in 2020, as Godwin romped as the No. 2 fantasy wideout on a per-game basis, while Evans was the WR5 on a per-game look. It’s basically impossible for them to get a fantasy bump.
For Evans and Godwin, the arrival of Brady is a sidegrade and a slight downgrade at worst.
I do think, however, it’s entirely reasonable to expect at least one of Evans or Godwin to be a top-five fantasy WR again, while the other checks in as more of a tail-end fantasy WR1.
Last season, Brady’s go-to guy Julian Edelman was the No. 2 wideout in terms of Expected Points. Brady peppered Edelman with 9.6 targets per game, more than Godwin (8.5) or Evans (9.2).
The offense run by Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinate Byron Leftwich is much more vertical than New England’s (although both offenses are pass-first). Edelman’s aDOT1 was 9.4, while Godwin (10.5) and Evans (15.1) were deeper threats. Evans’ high aDOT was higher than anyone in New England since Brandin Cooks (15.4) in 2017.
Brady is capable of running a more vertical offense than what was run in New England, though it might not be as vertical as Tampa’s recent offenses. That could give Godwin the edge in targets and receptions, but Evans will still be a powerhouse deep, and a double-digit TD season is within reach.
The tertiary receiving options in Tampa — Breshad Perriman, Justin Watson, Scotty Miller — will likely remain fantasy afterthoughts. Brady does have a penchant for distributing passes, but it’s hard to see elite talents like Evans and Godwin not still commanding at least a 40-45% combined target market share.
Fantasy impact on OJ Howard and Cameron Brate
Tampa’s TE duo of O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate has been a bit of a nuisance from a fantasy perspective in recent memory, as it has been impossible to know which player will hit on any given week. Howard and Brate also had a penchant for producing complete goose eggs in 2019, making them impossible to trust outside of DFS dart throws.
Brate could still be released, and Howard, a former first-round draft pick, is the better receiver, though he appears to be in Arians’ doghouse for some unknown reason. I’d give Howard a tentative bump, but I wouldn’t take him as anything other than a tail-end TE1.
- Average depth of target. (back)