The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the tools to be beasts in fantasy football in 2013. They were fresh off of a quality season where Josh Freeman, Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin all dominated for fantasy owners. Even Mike Williams and Dallas Clark helped out in spurts.
Then things changed drastically. Freeman regressed, Martin got hurt and Clark wasn’t even brought back. V-Jax ended up being the only truly elite fantasy weapon in Tampa Bay, while the team asked entirely too much out of rookie quarterback Mike Glennon.
In 2014, they have a new head coach in Lovie Smith and have made key upgrades across the board. But with so much change, it’s quite possible a few guys could come of nowhere to hold some quality fantasy value.
Let’s break down three Buccaneers fantasy options that could surprise in fantasy football this year:
Charles Sims (Running Back)
Whether coach speak or not, the Bucs have been suggesting during the offseason that they may back off of Doug Martin’s usual heavy load. After their main back had a season-ending labrum injury in just his second season, that might not be the worst idea in the world.
If that’s something Tampa Bay actually rolls with, rookie running back Charles Sims might be a legit fantasy option with the right matchup in 2014. A versatile, shifty back who catches the ball extremely well and can run inside effectively, Sims has the ability to be a very good change of pace option behind Martin. At least initially, he should slide in as the team’s main third down back, which could give him a good amount of receptions and a chance at some carries in his first season.
It won’t equate to a monster fantasy season in year one, but Sims could hold some decent Flex value at times in 2014. That makes him worth monitoring.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Tight End)
A fellow rookie like Sims, Seferian-Jenkins has a real shot at making a sizeable impact in his first season with the Bucs. He was drafted by the Bucs in round two of the 2014 NFL Draft to give new starting quarterback Josh McCown a familiar lineup of basketball player-type size in his passing weapons, but also because he was an elite talent for the position.
Blessed with great size, speed and ball skills, ASJ is at the worst a red-zone terror in the making and at best a complete tight end that could evolve into a truly elite weapon. That isn’t a lock to happen right away in 2014, but Seferian-Jenkins is already a better two-way player than Tim Wright, Tampa’s main tight end from a year ago. He also offers more upside than any other Bucs tight end, which should put him in the driver’s seat to be the best fantasy option at the tight end position out of Tampa Bay.
That may not result in awesome fantasy numbers overall, but the upside is there for him to take off around mid-season. He could potentially be a lot for opposing defenses to handle during the stretch run of the season. He just needs to stay healthy and progress as he works through his first season.
Mike Glennon (Quarterback)
Josh McCown is the starting quarterback in Tampa Bay. Make no mistake about that. That doesn’t mean we should forget about Mike Glennon completely, though. Despite being thrown into the flames as a rookie in 2013, Glennon was still pretty solid across the board, as he completed over 59% of his passes for over 2,600 passing yards and a nice TD:INT ratio of 19:9.
Glennon looked flustered often and struggled with blitzes and reading defenses, but he fared much better than anyone really expected and showed promise for the long-term. McCown is 34 years old and really only looked like an elite player in spurts of last season. With age and the possibility that 2013 was simply lightning in a bottle for him, we might be closer than some think to Glennon being “the guy” again. It probably won’t be right away, but if Glennon gets another chance with Tampa Bay’s stellar supporting cast, he might just take off and never look back.