Dec 30, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) runs through a tackle by Atlanta Falcons strong safety Chris Hope (24) in the second half at the Georgia Dome. Tampa Bay won 22-17. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
ESPN.com has released a couple different iterations of their 2013 fantasy rankings, and NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas took a closer look at just the NFC South. But no one broke it down just by Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that’s why I’m here for you.
The Bucs have four players that are expected to be factors in the 2013 fantasy football season. those guys are Josh Freeman, Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, and Mike Williams. One can also argue for the Buccaneers D/ST to be in play as well in deeper leagues.
Martin is the clear top dog when it comes to fantasy football Bucs. He’s ranked by some as the top running back and ranked in the top five by almost everyone who has a brain. The Muscle Hamster (I still prefer Dougernaut) is coming off a rookie season in which he scored 11 touchdowns, racked up 1,454 yards, and scored 248 fantasy points. I expect Martin to take a bit of a step back in fantasy this year. I don’t expect Bucs fans to really notice it because he’ll still be the “bell-cow” and he’ll still be a very good player, but I can’t see quite the same year. The Bucs are expecting a lot out of Freeman, which means less reliance on Martin. Martin will still be a solid fantasy player, but I wouldn’t select him as high as many are saying.
December 23, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams (19) before the game against the St. Louis Rams prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Next we’ll discuss the wide receivers. Jackson is clearly the favorite when it comes to ADP (average draft position), but I don’t think Mike Williams is going to lag behind Vincent as much as everyone expects. As receivers gain attention, teammates flourish. Jackson had an excellent year himself in 2012, and I can see him matching or bettering it slightly, but Williams is the better selection here, based on value. Jackson rates in usually in the high 20’s, Williams in the 80-100 range. Thats a 7-10 round difference. It would not surprise me in the least if Mike has as good if not better of a fantasy season to VJax. Therefore, if you must have a Buc WR in the stable, use your early pick on someone else, and grab Mike a little later.
Josh Freeman is an interesting fantasy option. He’s not going to be your number one guy, but he could make a formidable backup, and he wouldn’t be the worst option if your Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Peyton Manning goes down early in the year. Freeman has had his struggles with consistency, but when he’s on, he can put up some excellent numbers (see the six straight 2TD+ games). I’ve written it many times that I believe this is the year for Josh to break out and become an upper level QB, don’t miss out on him in fantasy, cause you can get him real late.
Finally is the Buccaneers D/ST. Obviously the defense has improved. Revis, Goldson, Banks, a healthy Clayborn, the Bucs will be better this season than tey were a year ago. I expect many more sacks, and I expect the number of turnovers to go up as well. But the underrated portion of the Bucs D/ST is the ST portion. Greg Schiano commits to his special teams. He’s hired Dave Wannstedt (a former NFL head coach) to run a usually overlooked unit. Schiano is familiar with Wannstedt from their Big East days and Schiano has made it abundantly clear that he wants to have the best special teams in the NFL. No, the Bucs do not have the elite return man, and no franchise history does not look good when it comes to returning kicks for TD’s, but the Buccaneers special teams should be pretty solid. They blocked a few punts a season ago, and I expect them to do it again this year as well.