For the 2018 season, we will explore a 2018 fantasy football sleeper, breakout (or bounce back), and bust from every NFL team. First, a sleeper can leap into top-tier production at a bargain basement draft day price. A breakout is available in the middle rounds and will return positive value of at least a couple rounds. Bounce backs are normally helpful players coming off a down year or years whom you can acquire for a song. Busts are the worst case scenario: a player who drastically underperforms his draft position. While they may not be a wasted pick, you definitely don’t want them on your team.
We finish our tour around the NFC with the last team, alphabetically, in the NFC South. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a team beset by question marks, but can you find value there?
2018 Fantasy Football Breakout – Jameis Winston (ADP 154, QB21)
Jameis Winston’s suspension makes for a tantalizing player to scoop up while using Tyrod Taylor to start the season. Taylor isn’t wrong for the starting role, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will just keep Jameis’ seat warm. It feels weird putting Winston as a breakout player, as he technically had a breakout campaign last season that was merely derailed by injuries. Winston was in and out of the lineup and sometimes played at partial strength.
Jameis managed to play in just thirteen games last season. Of those thirteen, he was not healthy enough to throw the ball 20 times in two of those. Set those two games, wherein he totaled 7.2 fantasy points since he was banged up, aside. In the remaining eleven games where Jameis was healthy and active, he put up 21.93 fantasy points per game (on 307 passing yards, 1.73 touchdowns and a pick a game). That would have made him a top-ten QB last season. His suspension is putting him outside the top twenty, which presents a tremendous value.
2018 Fantasy Football Sleeper – Chris Godwin (ADP 200, WR71)
There’s a lot of starter-backup turmoil out in Tampa Bay; Peyton Barber is running ahead of Ronald Jones, and Chris Godwin supposedly supplanted DeSean Jackson as the WR2 for this team. The passing game will be prolific when Jameis Winston returns, but until then it is likely to falter. You don’t have to draft Godwin, but the sophomore has garnered a ton of buzz this offseason.
Last season, he had four games with more than three targets. In those four games, he hauled in five passes for 86.25 yards per game. He threw in a score, as well. All of this was good for 10.12 fantasy points per game in standard and 15.25 in PPR. Had he done that all year, that would have been WR7 on the season in 2017. Keep an eye on him in most leagues, but he’s flier-worthy in deeper formats.
2018 Fantasy Football Bust – Ronald Jones (ADP 56, RB24)
As of right now, Ronald Jones is a talented rookie without a specified role in the Tampa Bay offense. Peyton Barber is the starter and garners the majority of touches, but he isn’t nearly as talented a runner as Jones. Jones has to learn how to pass protect and block before he gets on the field. Bucs coaches won’t even put him in a position to even garner enough touches to be a fantasy football commodity before then. His current ADP as a fantasy team’s second RB doesn’t warrant that profile.
I am cautioning away from drafting Jones in shallow bench or shallower team leagues, as his owner will become frustrated with him and you can pluck him off the waiver wire, or trade him for a song. Once he gets his NFL legs under him, he has the talent and ability as a runner to be a significant contributor in the second half of the season. This is a bust in that I do not recommend him at his current ADP, despite believing in his talent. Let someone else bite that bullet on draft day, and you can pick up the pieces later.