Friday, May 25, 2012

32 in 32: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I realize that my posting is erratic, but no one reads this blog anyways, so I don't feel bad. I do it because it forces me to think out  every fantasy possibility. Without further ado, this is the fifth installment of 32 in 32.

The Buccaneers are one of the biggest mysteries heading into 2012, for me at least. They seem to have most of the necessary pieces in place to be a decent team, but they just can't hold it together. Fortunately for the fantasy world, this team does provide some value to fantasy owners, especially with their most recent free agent signing.

With the Chargers last season, after holding out to try and get a better deal, Vincent Jackson only caught 60 passes. Those 60 passes went for over 1100 yards and 9 touchdowns. There is little doubt that Jackson will be the best receiver on this Bucs team, meaning that he should get plenty of looks and could move closer to the 100 catch mark. Now before you go drafting this guy in the second round, consider that he has never reached 70 catches or 10 touchdowns in a season. His potential is is bigger than his ego, but his ego really makes it hard to love this guy. If he starts hot, he should be good all season. I can't imagine he is a guy like Greg Jennings, who is willing to catch 3-4 balls per game if it means the team is winning. Last season Kellen Winslow was the team's leading receiver. With him gone, there is a definite void to fill at the tight end position. Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut favorite at this point. We will have to wait and see who shows up at the top of the depth chart when the season starts. Mike Williams is probably one of the greatest beneficiaries of Vincent Jackson's addition to the team. Williams as the number-two receiver sounds much better than Williams as a first option. Williams caught 65 balls for 771 yards last season. I would look for the catches to go up slightly, but the yards per reception to go up significantly, especially if they every get the run game going.

LeGarrette Blount was a major disapointment last season. For some reason he still thinks he is going to be the feature back in this offense, even after the Bucs drafted Doug Martin early in the draft. It is possible, in my opinion, that Blount beats out Martin in training camp, but this is another position where we will have to wait and see. It might end up being a committee situation, which would make both of these guys borderline useless all season long. Until I see something definite, I won't suggest you draft either one of these guys as more than a bench warmer.

Josh Freeman can go one of two ways at this point in his career. He can step up and be a top 15 quarterback in the NFL or he can become a journeyman backup who might start a few games for a desperate team somewhere down the road. Last season he completed over 62% of his passes, but also threw 22 interceptions to only 16 touchdowns. Freeeman is definitely worth a late round pick as a back up QB, especially for teams with a weak or injury prone starter (I'm looking at you, Stafford and Vick owners), and he could actually replace some borderline starters (Eli Manning or Phillip Rivers) if he can keep his interceptions down. I really think that this organization has given him the tools to succeed, if he is capable of taking the next step.

As a final thought, this defense is mediocre. They did not generate enough turnovers last season to be a fantasy contender, but they have potential. Keep an eye on them, but I would not draft them.

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