NFL free agency started on March 18th, but technically does not end until the end of the season. However, after a firehose of news the first week, and another run the second week, things quiet down to a trickle. There are still big names out there, but it’s going to take some time to get them signed, sealed and delivered.
With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at where teams stand after the early rush of free agency and what it means for fantasy football. We’re going to take a look at the skill positions, breaking down what the starting lineup and reserves will look like to assess fantasy value heading into August drafts.
Today, we’re taking a look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs made a splash in free agency by signing Tom Brady. While they didn’t make any other major acquisitions, they did retain Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul. Breshad Perriman left the team and signed with the New York Jets after finishing out 2019 on a high note, but the Buccaneers still have one of the best receiving duos in football. We break down Tampa Bay’s fantasy football potential here.
Starter: Tom Brady
Backups: Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Griffin
Brady was just outside the top 10 in season-long fantasy and DraftKings last season with an underwhelming receiving corps. He threw for 4,057 yards and 24 scores with Julian Edelman and running back James White as his primary targets, but now he’s inherited Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and a more capable tight end in O.J. Howard.
Brady hasn’t had an elite wideout in years, but he and Randy Moss were both the best at their respective positions when they joined forces in 2007. Brady was a top 10 option in each of the three full seasons he had with Moss. Brady would seem to still have something left in the tank, making the top 10 a good possibility in 2020.
Starter: Ronald Jones II
Backups: Dare Ogunbowale, T.J. Logan, Aca’Cedric Ware
Jones was RB25 in standard leagues and on DraftKings last season, and RB27 in PPR leagues. He totaled 724 rushing yards and six scores in six starts and should benefit from being the starter in Week 1.
Peyton Barber signed with Washington, so Jones will have even less competition now. He has above average speed, so if he becomes an asset at a pass catcher out of the backfield, he could be a top 20 back.
Starters: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller
Backups: Justin Watson, Bryant Mitchell, Jaydon Mickens
Evans and Godwin were the best fantasy wideout duo in the league last season. Both were top 10 options in standard leagues and top 15 options in PPR leagues. Evans was WR16 on DraftKings while Godwin was WR2.
Evans has been among the best since entering the league as a rookie, and Godwin is just beginning his ascent into stardom. The tandem combined for 2,490 yards and 17 touchdowns last year while Jameis Winston threw a league-high 30 interceptions. Brady can keep Evans and Godwin producing at a high level and should help them both flirt with top 15 finishes again in 2020.
Starter: O.J. Howard
Backups: Antony Auclair, Cameron Brate, Tanner Hudson
Brady has a lot of experience throwing to tight ends, and that bodes well for Howard. He fell outside the top 25 at his position in all formats in 2019 after cracking the top 15 in 2018. He was essentially phased out of the offense down the stretch, but now he gets a fresh start.
Howard should have a bounce back year with Brady under center, but don’t expect exceptional numbers. I think he sees a lot more balls thrown his way and beats last year’s mark of one touchdown. He’s a top 20 tight end at the very least.