There isn’t a team whose hardware is more argued over than the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At this point, we aren’t sure how the Brady Bot hardware will interact with the Arians Offense software, but we sure like to act like we know what will happen. How will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ fantasy football options sort out for 2020, and what can you do to ensure you snag their sleeper and breakout and avoid their bust?
Sleeper – Buccaneers DST (DST16, 228 overall)
Nobody really thinks about DSTs from year-to-year, which is probably why we don’t realize that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers DST ranked third in points last season. Granted they did this on the back of a league-leading six defensive touchdowns. There is some veracity underlying those numbers, however. They crushed opposing rushing offenses, allowing just under 74 yards per game on the ground. While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers DST led the league in passing yards allowed, but they reached a middle-of-the-pack status in that regard in the last five games of 2019. What is the secret to their success? Shaq Barrett, Ndamukong Suh, and Jason Pierre-Paul. Fade them if you must, but their secondary can only get better, and they’re basically going undrafted. They could be the 2020 49ers DST, a defense that comes out of nowhere to never make their way out of your lineup.
Breakout – Ronald Jones II, Running Back (RB35, 95 overall)
Ronald Jones was better at catching the football than we gave him credit last season and has a rookie to contend with for snaps. While I like Ke’Shawn Vaughn, it’s assumed that Ronald Jones will start with the starters’ gig in Tampa Bay. He improved mightily last year and has reportedly added 6-8 pounds of muscle in the offseason. No word on if that additional muscle was in his catching muscles, but we will see. There are a lot of question marks surrounding Rojo, who ended last year as a top-24 running back while staving off Peyton Barber, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Vaughn’s best trait is pass blocking, which might keep Rojo off the field, but given that RoJo gets the first crack at it, and it’s a tossup, you could do a lot worse than a starting running back at 95 overall.
Bust – Rob Gronkowski, Tight End (TE11, 89 overall)
There are a lot of opposing forces that are driving Gronk’s #89 overall pick draft price. First, there are the Rob Gronkowski Truthers. They generally don’t remember what Gronk was like after about 2017. They also forget that he medically retired from football last year. Madden Football raters fall into this camp. Then, there are Gronk skeptics like myself. His back is toast, and back injuries generally don’t get better as a person ages.
There’s also the O.J. Howard question. The Buccaneers threw the tenth-most passes to tight ends last year, which smashes the “Bruce Arians doesn’t like tight ends” narrative. However, the 108 targets to Cameron Brate and O.J Howard were split down the middle. The talent difference between Gronk and Howard is less than the talent difference between Howard and Brate. So, what makes you think that Howard and Gronk won’t split targets, rendering them both essentially useless for fantasy football?