As the 2014 regular season begins, here’s a look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and fantasy football draft viability by position.
Three words you’re not going to hear in a long while, “Hall of Fame quarterback from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.” Josh McCown is far from a top 10 quarterback, but he’s worthy for a spot start during a bye week at least. McCown has a chip on his shoulder to prove his 2013-run with the Chicago Bears wasn’t a fluke.
It’s hard to recreate a 13-1 touchdown-to-interception in an eight-game stretch, but if he can recreate anywhere near that run halfway through the season, the Bucs are likely playoff-bound.
The Bucs historically are not known to light up a scoreboard through the air but McCown’s arsenal of giants could make it possible provided a successful running game behind a suspect offensive line.
Josh McCown – Late round
Doug Martin is a top 10 running back pick and will be the workhorse of the team. Look for Bobby Rainey to spell him, but not enough to take away significant playing time. Look for head coach Lovie Smith and offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford to keep Martin active as a running and receiving threat. Martin’s likely going to top the 472 receiving yards and near 1,500 rushing yards his rookie year, provided his shoulder holds up this year.
If Martin proves to be successful, Rainey might provide a midweek pickup against a weak run defense.
Doug Martin – Late 1st, 2nd round
Vincent Jackson‘s numbers decreased in 2013 perhaps due to a change of quarterback. His numbers dipped over a 100 yards, but he still caught six more balls. The instability may continue depending on McCown’s acclimation to Tedford’s system.
Jackson will benefit more from the presence of first-round pick Mike Evans than Mike Williams. While the offense centers around Martin, the receiver position produces two viable picks for any fantasy team.
Jackson will likely continue his streak of consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. How far past 1,000 yards depends on Evans’ production. If Evans produces 1,000 yards, look for Jackson to be closer to 1,500 yards.
Vincent Jackson – 2nd round
Mike Evans – Mid-late round
Brandon Myers has never topped 1,000 and his best year was his last year with the Oakland Raiders in 2012 with 806 yards. The real value in the position for the Bucs will be second-rounder Austin Seferian-Jenkins. With both likely to be prominently featured in two-tight end sets, look for Seferian-Jenkins to be target on short routes with his lack of breakaway speed, which primarily means a lot in the red zone.
Brandon Myers – Don’t bother
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – late round
Smith and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier give the unit credibility. For a unit that last year was 32nd-ranked passing defense, Frazier’s Vikings recorded 297 sacks in his seven seasons with the team, the most in the NFL and 114 forced fumbles, the second most during that span.
Smith coached linebackers under Tony Dungy from 1996-2000 before having successful stints with the St. Louis Rams and the Chicago Bears, which he took to the Super Bowl.
Fans clamored for the Bucs glory years and Smith, a former Dungy disciple, has proved successful since his original stint with the team.
This is their first year with the team and don’t expect instant results, after all, Dungy was 6-10 his first year. Smith and Frazier do have experienced youth leaders in Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Mark Barron to build off of. While they have a long way to go to be the staples Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch were, they have a balance of Pro-Bowl veterans in Alterraun Verner and Dashon Goldson to help in the clutch.
Frazier’s track record proves he can provide the discipline Bill Sheridan never gave.
Special teams coordinator Kevin O’Dea provides an extra incentive for picking this unit as he helped make Dexter McCluster and Devin Hester into the special teams threats they are today.
Buccaneers Defense – Late round – Top 10 defensive pick