Every year fantasy experts and enthusiasts discuss, argue, and discuss again whom is more valuable than whom and which strategy will best set their fantasy team up for success. Michael Fabiano is NFL.com’s resident expert and he has made a living out of pretend scoring real-life stats.
For fans of the fantasy game it’s hard sometimes to keep yourself from being a homer as the strategy tends to lead to losses and disappointment. For Buccaneers fans this hasn’t always been a hard thing to stay away from as there hasn’t been many fantasy relevant players on staff for quite some time.
In 2016 however, that will change a bit. Currently there are six players on Fabiano’s top-200 list, and three of them are in the top-100. So who made the cut?
Nobody will be surprised to the second leading rusher in 2015 on this list, but they may be surprised to learn he’s the 19th overall player and 10th ranked running back as it stands today.
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So why is that? Well, simply put its scoring. Points win games in real-life and fantasy and as much as we all love us some Doug Martin, he simply didn’t find the endzone enough in 2015 to warrant a higher ranking.
Six rushing touchdowns is great, but considering he ranked 12th among NFL running backs in the scoring department it’s kind of hard to put him above the likes of Todd Gurley (10 Rushing TDs) and David Johnson (8 Rushing TDs).
While the difference may seem small, consider Martin has to rush for 120 more yards than Johnson just to tie his output, and 240 more yards than Gurley.
In addition to this, Martin is not the Bucs’ primary receiver out of the backfield. It’s no secret Charles Sims is the preferred receiver as Martin caught just 33 passes all season.
I would personally put Martin a bit higher, but I can’t really fault Fabiano for his ranking here.
Another Buccaneer who is hurt by his scoring ability from a season ago is the 28th overall player, and 14th overall receiver, Mike Evans.
Evans ranked 11th in receiving yards last year but found the endzone just three times. When you consider his quarterback threw 22 touchdown passes, that’s a worrisome number for fantasy owners.
As the primary receiver who caught 24% of his quarterback’s completions he should have more than 14% of the touchdowns.
Evans will have some good matchups this season, so the chances for him to improve on his touchdown production is high. If Vincent Jackson can stay healthy then he’ll help take some attention away from the third-year player, and if the team can find a viable slot threat then it’ll help even more.
Important to note for Tampa “homers” is the fact Evans has three prime matchups, twice against the Saints and once against the Cowboys, which will provide high scoring possibilities in the three weeks which happen to be most league’s fantasy playoffs.
Two running backs in the top-100 from one team is what happens when you have a squad which relies on both guys heavily.
For Sims, his touches came via the pass more than the run it seemed but he still racked up 107 carries for a total of 529 yards with a respectable 4.9 yards per carry average. No rushing touchdowns drops him down the list but he did manage to reel in four touchdown catches in his 51 total receptions.
He further demonstrated his abilities as a pass-catcher by eclipsing 500 yards receiving on the year as well.
While Sims won’t be a primary player for many fantasy teams he’s a great handcuff and could be a surprise bye-week fill-in during the middle part of the year when the Bucs face off against the 49ers, Raiders, Falcons and Bears in Weeks 7-10.
If Martin succumbs to injury for the third season in his fifth year then Sims becomes the most sought after back-up in the league.
He’s going to get drafted in your league, but when and who pulls the trigger first?
Following the top-3 there are another trio of Buccaneers finding their way onto Fabiano’s list with wide receiver Vincent Jackson coming in at 122nd overall (WR #49), quarterback Jameis Winston at 135th (QB #19), and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins pulling up the rear at 180th overall (18th among tight ends).
With the recent spats ASJ has had with the coaching staff and fans his stock may suffer a bit in the next update.
So there you have it, here’s where Fabiano has your Bucs, but we want to know where you rank them. Sound off in the comments below or hit me up on twitter to state your case for a player moving up or even down these rankings.