This fantasy football draft season, there was a class of quarterbacks who were set to be back-end starters. He was among the players you could mix-and-match to cobble together a semblance of a top-five fantasy starter. Jameis Winston was one of those QBs. He went as the #70 pick overall, QB8. Some people certainly drafted him to pair him with another QB, but some decided to roll solely with Jameis. And why wouldn’t you? He has a ton of weapons around him as the Bucs added DeSean Jackson, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin to Mike Evans. That wasn’t much on display last week as Tampa Bay boat-raced the Bears 29-7 on the back of the defense and the running game. This week he takes on Minnesota; should you slot him into your lineups?
The unnerving part of the victory for Jameis’ fantasy football owners was Tampa Bay’s continued dedication to the run. I say continued because the Buccaneers increased their run rate by about 5% in the second half last season. They also ran seven fewer plays per game in the second half last year as they limited Winston. The reason they stuck with it? They went 6-2 in that span after going 3-5 with Jameis funslinging. They shortened the game through running and defense, and that limited Jameis’ opportunities. That split stayed pretty much the same week one as the Bucs rode Jacquizz Rodgers and the defense to victory. This game plan means we may never see the massive fantasy point games we hoped for from Jameis. That fear is doubly true in week three as the Buccaneers take on a Sam Bradford-less Vikings squad.
The Vikings found out last week that their best chance at winning with Case Keenum at the helm comes via slowing down the game. They’re already middling against the quarterback (16th in fantasy points allowed), but that is mostly due to a lack of interceptions so far. Drew Brees looked downright terrible against them on Monday Night Football and Roethlisberger’s two TDs came without throwing for 250 yards. And that was before they realized they desperately need to slow down the game. A slower game means fewer opportunities for Jameis to be a fantasy superstar.
Jameis makes for a decent backend QB1, but his expected range is likely around QB10 to QB15. With plenty of other streamable options out there, I would go for someone like Carson Wentz over Jameis Winston this week. You can start him if you don’t have the roster space, but Jameis has a limited ceiling. He isn’t a definite sit, but if you need upside, look elsewhere.