The Buccaneers were a disaster last year. Dirk Koetter was a disaster. The QB carousel was a disaster. The run game was a disaster. The defense was a disaster. Sorry, for piling on, but it had to be said. There are very few individuals who can take over an unmitigated mess and actually stand a chance of turning things around. Bruce Arians is one of those select individuals who can change a culture overnight. He knows how to get the most out of problem children and he has always been a great whisperer of quarterbacks. Tampa still has some talent on this roster, and their new, maverick head coach is just the right prescription for what ails this 5-11 squad. Arians also brought his old defensive coordinator Todd Bowles back into the role he’s more suited to, and that’s also a big plus. But can the Bucs really make waves in the NFC South?
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2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Fantasy Preview
KEY LOSSES: Kwon Alexander LB, Adam Humphries WR, Ryan Fitzpatrick QB, Gerald McCoy DT. Adarius Taylor ILB
Impact: The Buccaneers decided to save the cap money and address LB through the draft. Kwon Alexander got paid! However, it was probably best to spread that kind of money over the roster as a whole with so many needs. McCoy landing in the division wasn’t great but expected. Adam Humphries had a quietly solid season, but he too was a casualty of the cap. Ryan Fitzpatrick needed to be off this roster if they had any chance of building back the confidence of Jameis Winston.
KEY ADDITIONS: Ndamunkong Suh DT, Doene Bucannon LB, Shaquil Barrett LB
Impact: Suh can still offer intimidation on the front line (even if he’s lost a step or two), while Barrett and Bucannon join Lavonte David and their #1 overall pick to make quite the speedy linebacking corps. The response to losing Alexander was clearly to make it up in volume.
DRAFTED PLAYERS OF FANTASY NOTE: Devin White LB, Sean Bunting CB, Mike Edwards S
Impact: Devin White is fast and should have NFL QBs running for the sidelines. Bunting was a great addition to a secondary in need of help. Mike Edwards has a chance to become a starter in year one under the new D-coordinator.
Jameis Winston has talent. He lacks maturity and consistency. He’s also never had an offensive mind to groom him at the pro level anywhere near as good as Bruce Arians. The fact that Arians came out of retirement for this particular job means he thinks he can take Winston to that next level. Luckily for both, there are plenty of great weapons in house to help the cause. Mike Evans has been a #1 WR since he stepped into the league, and Chris Godwin will fill the “Larry Fitzgerald slot role” that saw him have three 100 catch seasons. The run game is where things get shaky. Ronald Jones had plenty of deserved hype heading into his rookie season last year. Now, we’ll see if Jones was his own worst enemy or former HC Dirk Koetter was his true nemesis. If he can’t unseat Peyton Barber this spring, look for the Bucs to fix this need in the 2020 draft. At Jones’ current ADP, he’s worth the risk.
27th in YPG. 31st in Points allowed. 24th against the run and 26th against the pass. You get the picture. The Bucs are not a fantasy defense. Losing Jason Pierre-Paul to a neck injury this off-season until November didn’t help matters either. Still, Levonte David is an IDP stud and Devin Bush has year one upside.
Buccaneers 2019 OUTLOOK
The Buccaneers goal is to be competitive again in 2019. They can’t match the other rosters in the division in terms of talent, but they can be a thorn in their side. There may be a bunch of “moral victories” for this team if they can hang with the Falcons and Saints. Bruce Arians will certainly have this team mentally ready to play every week. It’s just hard to see more than 6 wins on this schedule. The good news is that in fantasy terms, they should be able to put up points.
Joe Pisapia is the author of the #1 best-selling Fantasy Black Book Series and creator of the revolutionary player evaluation tool Relative Position Value (RPV). He’s the host of The Fantasy Black Book Podcast and the LineStar DFS Podcasts. Joe was previously host of the FSTA award-winning On Target Fantasy (2016 Radio Show of the Year), The Fantasy Black Book Show, RotoExperts in the Morning and NFL Game Day for the FNTSY Fantasy Sports Radio Network, as well as RotoWire MLB/NFL DFS Podcasts, and numerous shows for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. You can also see him frequently on CBS TV in New York on The Sports Desk. He’s written for The Sporting News, FanDuel Insider and FantasyAlarm.
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