The Tampa Bay Bucs finished second in the NFC South with a (7-9) record in 2019. The offense ranked 4th in points scored, 3rd in total yards, 1st in passing yards, but only 23rd in rush yards during the campaign. The question at this point in the offseason is what the offense is going to look like in 2020. Will Godwin play exclusively in the slot, will Gronk play every down, who is the running back? These are all questions surrounding this team. Now looking at their roster it is clear that the team is best suited to run 12 personnel, but how much will they run? Brady has played a lot of 12 personnel and he likes it. The team will likely run 3 wide receiver sets as well, but the lack of depth at the wide receiver position is concerning if one of the top three receivers goes down, which is possible as we saw both Evans and Godwin miss time in 2019.
Tom Brady (QB) – Brady starts his post Patriot career behind a very good offensive line. The line was bolstered in the draft with the addition of Tristan Wirfs who will play RT. Brady will be in a much better spot this season then where he was in 2019 in terms of weapons. Brady comes to an offense which is loaded at the wide receiver position as well as the tight end position. Brady gets his favorite big man back as Gronk will now join him in TB. Brady with a solid line in front of him plus talented weapons is a recipe for success. The Bucs threw the ball a lot in 2019, but we shouldn’t expect that of Tom this season. The reason the Bucs had to throw in 2019 was because Jameis kept turning the ball over. Brady will not have this same issue as he is very efficient and careful with his throws. To this point over the last three seasons Brady has an average interception rate of 1.5% compared to Jameis who has an average interception rate of 3.66% over the same span.
Fantasy Spin: Brady is currently coming off the board as QB10 with an ADP of 90 in drafts. This would be a great opportunity and example of waiting on the quarterback and netting terrific value. We have Brady ranked as our QB10 entering 2020 for redraft. In dynasty he drops significantly as his career winds down as he is our 24th ranked quarterback in this format.
Ronald Jones/Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB) – this backfield has been one of the most talked about in all of football over this offseason. Here is how the team views these two backs that should clear things up considerably for us; Jones is the starter. It is that simple the coaching staff views Jones as their lead back. Vaughn was drafted to give the team a solid backup to Jones as he will serve as the teams number two back. With Barber leaving during free agency the team knew they would have to bring in a back capable of the role for 2020. The team is comfortable with Jones as their guy, as he showed improvement as the season went on, and the staff liked what they saw. Now, if Jones shows signs of struggle throughout the season Vaughn could come in and threaten to take this starting role. The real question lies in who will be the back to get the passing work. Everyone looks at what Brady has done in NE with James White and Dion Lewis and knows that running back is valuable in PPR leagues. Here is the thing we just don’t know and pry won’t know until we start seeing on field activity. Jones and Vaughn are very different backs. Jones is an explosive back where Vaughn is more of a grinder. Ironically when watching tape of Vaughn, he looks very similar to Sony Michel. Vaughn doesn’t have that explosion but he is a very good sustaining back who possesses great contact balance. Contrary to what many think Vaughn needs some development as a pass catcher. Vaughn makes for a great inside runner where Jones doesn’t. Also pass protection is what kept Jones off the field in the past and Vaughn is very good at pass pro. We must also keep an eye on rookie Raymond Calais, who Bruce Arians labeled as a little David Johnson. Calais is explosive and could be a player who works his way up the depth chart into this passing down role.
Fantasy Spin: This backfield is looking to be a bit of a headache for 2020. There is a lot going on so it boils down to what you are looking for. What we mean is it comes to upside versus value. Vaughn is the running back to target for the upside where Jones is the back to target for value. Jones is currently being drafted as the 34th back with an ADP of 85. This is 20 spots after Vaughn is going at 65 as the RB31 off the board. We have both these backs ranked as RB3’s in redraft with Vaughn getting the slight edge as we project a few more touchdowns for him. In regards to redraft it may be wise to just pass on both these backs and let someone else deal with what is shaping up to be a headache. In dynasty leagues we have Vaughn ranked as our RB23 and Jones our RB46 entering 2020, making Vaughn the better long term prospect. Calais is ranked as our RB89 in a dynasty format.
Chris Godwin/Mike Evans/Tyler Johnson (WR) – Tampa Bay has arguably the best wide receiver duo in the league entering 2020, who both had fantastic seasons in 2019, despite both missing the last few weeks of the season due to hamstring injuries. When the team is in two tight end sets these two figure to be the wide receivers on the field. When the team goes three wide is when it gets interesting because this will bring rookie Tyler Johnson into the mix. Now Godwin did a lot of damage from the slot last season, but will he play there in three wide sets? We would have to say no at this point, as Tyler Johnson is a slot receiver who by judging by his film won’t match up well on the outside with NFL caliber corners. This essentially would force Godwin to the outside as he is more equipped to matchup to these cornerbacks. Tyler Johnson is strong and brings solid wide receiver skills but lacks true speed. This is why he profiles as a good slot receiver and was regarded as one of the best at the position in this draft class. Mike Evans has been the team’s centerpiece since being drafted. Evans is consistent and offers Brady arguably one of the best receiving options he’s had outside since Randy Moss. The only concern we have is volume. The fact that Brady will have that comfort and familiarity with Gronk could lead to a decrease in targets for Evans and Godwin. Coming into 2019 Bruce Arians stated that Godwin has 100 catch potential, and one thing we know about Arians is he doesn’t lie, and Godwin came damn close if it wasn’t for the injury. The thing with a Bruce Arians offense is the slot receiver always crushes it was the case for Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona and held true for Godwin in 2019 as he played the majority of snaps from the inside. However, with the team likely to switch to a more 12 personnel attack the 100 catch potential is out the door.
Fantasy Spin: In 2019 Godwin outscored Evans in fantasy points per game but with the team likely departing from the historical Arians offense of utilizing three wide receiver sets in favor of more two tight end sets may not be the case in 2020. Godwin is being drafted ahead of Evans in almost all drafts and we would suggest that very thing. These guys are ranked very close as we have Godwin ranked as our 4th wide out in redraft and 3rd in dynasty, and Evans ranked as our 11th in redraft and 7th in dynasty. Tyler Johnson is a dynasty prospect more so than a redraft option as he comes in as our 74th wide receiver in dynasty.
Rob Gronkowski/OJ Howard (TE) – like we stated above we aren’t totally sure but we are pretty certain this team will be running a lot of two tight end sets. We would guess over 65% of this offense will be run with this personnel on the field. So this means Gronk and Howard will see a lot of action. Also Cameron Brate, who took a pay cut recently, is still on the roster and will see some snaps, especially if injury occurs to Howard or Gronk. Speaking of Howard it was well documented that the coaching staff grew very frustrated with him in 2019, which reached the point where he was made available at the trade deadline. Howard would consistently run the wrong routes and bounce balls of his chest from lack of concentration that would turn into interceptions. Ultimately the team couldn’t move him and will look to use him as Gronk injury insurance since he does have history of injury, and some question marks surrounding him in how the year off will effect his on field production. If Gronk is able to stay healthy all season he will be one of the league’s top tight ends again. We personally feel the year off helped Gronk in the sense that his body was able to heal properly and get right again. Gronk brings that familiar presence to Brady that all other teammates will lack, which should lead to a lot of volume for the veteran.
Fantasy Spin: Entering 2020 Gronk is a high end TE2 in redraft, as we have ranked as our 13th tight end. In Dynasty leagues he is looked at as a TE2, ranking as our 20th ranked tight end. Howard even though is a frustrating player due to his sloppy play is good in the middle of the field and running up the seam, which is Brady’s game. However, Brady will not accept Howard’s sloppy play as he likes his targets running precise clean routes. For this reason and Gronk being in line for more looks we have Howard ranked as a TE3 entering 2020 in redraft as our 29th tight end. In dynasty leagues we have Howard ranked as a TE3 as our 29th ranked tight end.
Defense – this unit was ranked towards the bottom (29th) in points allowed during the 2019 campaign. The team allowed an average of 343.9 yards a game to opposing offenses which ranked 15th in the league. The unit allowed the third most passing yards averaging 270.1 yards a game. The rush defense gave up the fewest yards during 2019 averaging only 73.8 rush yards a game. This defense got better as the year went on to the credit of Todd Bowles. Bowles likes big physical corners and has two really decent ones Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting. Mike Edwards at safety was figured to do a lot for this defense in 2019 but was injured, but now with him healthy the unit as a whole should take big steps forward. Over time this could develop into one of the best secondary’s in the league.
Fantasy Spin: This unit has great potential to put up big numbers this season. The front is loaded and the back end is much improved. We have this unit as a top five unit in 2020, as our 5th ranked defense. You will be able to wait on taking them too, because many will think of the team being in a lot of high scoring games in 2019 and think the defense is terrible. This will prove costly to those people, as you being savvy will soak up all the value here and make them pay.
Strength of Schedule
The Bucs wide receiver corps will face the easiest schedule this fantasy regular season. Their playoff schedule will be the 4th easiest during weeks 14-16. The backs will be looking at the 13th easiest schedule during the fantasy regular season. The backs will then have the 15th easiest schedule during the fantasy playoffs. Brady will face the 6th easiest schedule during the fantasy regular season, and the 16th easiest during weeks 14-16. Gronk and Howard will face the 12th toughest fantasy regular season schedule and will face the 6th toughest playoff schedule from weeks 14-16.