QB Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay)
The Buccaneers are an incredibly inconsistent team. It’s no surprise they’re this inconsistent when their quarterback is this inconsistent. It wasn’t just last year. They went 3-13 in 2009, 10-6 in 2010, and then 4-12 in 2011 as Josh Freeman posted 10/18, 25/6, and 16/22 touchdown to interception ratios in those 3 seasons respectively. Last year, he started the year with a 5/4 TD/interception ratio in their first 4 games, then had a 16/3 ratio in their next 6, and then a 5/9 ratio on that 5 game losing streak, before having a decent game against Atlanta. In wins, he had a 97.6 QB rating, which is comparable to Tom Brady’s and Ben Roethlisberger’s. In losses, that rating was 71.4, which is comparable to Chad Henne and Mark Sanchez. He’s an inconsistent QB2, who might not keep his job all season. Look elsewhere.
Projection: 3650 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, 200 rushing yards, 1 touchdown (224 pts standard, 268 pts 6 pt td leagues)
RB Doug Martin (Tampa Bay)
While Martin did catch 49 passes as a rookie, the most impressive thing he did, by far, is rush for 1454 yards and 11 touchdowns on 319 carries, emerging as a true, complete feature back from the word go. As is the case with all running backs, his ability to replicate that in 2013 is dependent on whether or not he stays healthy. He does have a history of injuries from his days at Boise State, but he was still an incredible find with the 31st pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, after the Buccaneers traded back into the first to grab him, jumping ahead of the Giants, who were ready to take him one spot later.
Projection: 300 carries for 1350 rushing yards 12 total touchdowns 50 catches for 450 rushing yards (252 pts standard, 302 pts PPR)
WR Vincent Jackson (Tampa Bay)
The Buccaneers signed Vincent Jackson to a 5-year 55.5 million dollar contract last off-season that appeared risky at the time. Jackson, who had previously held out 10 games because he wanted to get paid, appeared to just be chasing the money going to Tampa Bay and could have easily just coasted. He was also going into his age 29 season so he was on the downside of his prime and probably wouldn’t get any better. However, Jackson somehow turned in the best season of his career, catching 72 passes for 1384 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Projection: 65 catches for 1200 receiving yards 7 touchdowns (162 pts standard, 227 pts PPR)
WR Mike Williams (Tampa Bay)
Jackson’s presence reinvigorated Mike Williams, who no longer had to deal with opponent’s #1 cornerbacks. Williams himself also deserves credit for getting himself back into shape after a miserable 2nd season in the league in 2011. All of this led to the 2010 4th round pick totaling 63 catches for 996 yards and 9 touchdowns opposite Jackson. Williams was 4 yards away from giving the Buccaneers two 1000 yard receivers, something only Denver (Thomas/Decker), New Orleans (Colston/Moore), Atlanta (White/Jones), and Dallas (Bryant/Witten) could also say.
Projection: 65 catches for 1000 receiving yards 8 touchdowns (148 pts standard, 213 pts PPR)