I have Been doing Fantasy Football league play since 1988.
I’ve been involved in Fantasy Football since before the internet was widespread and available to most, even before magazines about the subject were ever a thing. Every league back then had an owner that was responsible for going through the box scores in the paper and scoring every team’s results for the week. Scoring Monday Night Football’s game, if it ran late, meant that you might not be able to get those official results until Wednesday’s paper came out. It sure has changed dramatically since those days, but one thing that will always remain the same is talent evaluation. Just as in the NFL, if you don’t have a knack for talent evaluation, chances are you don’t win Championships very often, if at all.
Talent evaluation is king.
Following recommendations from experts will only get you so far. You have to be able to identify and draft those players that slip under the radar. It’s not a major accomplishment to draft the obvious stars. You have to be able to add between 2 to 3 players that defy the odds and play much better than expected. Whether that be rookies, (I drafted the eventual offensive ROY 4-years in a row), or players coming back from injury, or suspension, or players that were supposed to be great, but up till now haven’t produced to a high level. An example of the latter would be the Titans Derrick Henry last year, finally delivering on the enormous potential that most knew he had after coming out of Alabama. In his case, I believe the delay came about because the Titans just hadn’t fed him the ball enough. This year they plan on making him the focal point of the offense, and that should have been the plan from day one. He should be had fairly cheaply. So when the obvious RB1 choices are gone, grab him.
4 Valuable Bucs players that can be had in the later rounds:
With that in mind, is there a player/players on the Bucs this year that could fall into those categories? I think there are 2 to 4 players that could rise above the expected, into the breakout category.
The first would be the second-round pick from last year, Ronald Jones. RoJo claims to be a new man this year. He has added 13-15 lbs, in what looks to be pure muscle, and he has his confidence back. He looks like a new man in camp so far this year, breaking off long runs that look impressive.
Second, is Robo Tight End O.J. Howard. Already listed high in most rankings, if he can stay healthy, and that is a big if, he could be the top tight end in the game this year. His potential hasn’t even been close to being realized. The man is truly a Machine waiting to explode.
Third would be Jameis Winston. If he can cut down on the constant mistakes, he could be in line for a huge year. Bruce Arians should be able to get the most out of him as he has done with other young QBs. Winston is looking good in practice. He isn’t listed very high in the rankings, but could be had late as well as could RoJo.
Last but not least, the Defense is in line for a dramatic turnaround, one that isn’t reflected in any rankings I’ve seen this year. They have been ranked near the bottom so far that I have seen. Their turnover ratio should be way more positive this year, with some pick-sixes involved. They could be easily had with your very last pick and deliver at a much higher rate. Just to throw in an even darker horse, but a kid that has a chance to make a big splash is rookie WR Scotty Miller, who can line up all over the field and is the fastest player on the team. Maybe not worth a draft pick, but he is a guy to keep your eye on for a quick waiver wire pick up, if he starts going off, be ready.
Chris Godwin is also a guy that should deliver, but of course, he is ranked fairly high as it is. There are only so many balls to go around, so keep an eye to which squeaky wheels get the grease. The Bucs Offense and Defense are underrated, and most, other than Howard and Godwin, can probably be had late unless you have an educated Bucs fan in your draft that takes them a little earlier than expected. Some gems to be had for sure, keep them in mind.
Another piece of advice:
One last valuable piece of advice for FFL players. Over the years, the position of QB has been, for whatever reason devalued. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid folks take the best RB1 available in the first, and then don’t be afraid to Jump on Mahomes with both feet in the second or third round. Then come back in the following round with a Tyreek Hill, Mahomes top target. Great QB’s generally will score the most points on any given week for your team, or at least close to it, that makes them hugely important. So don’t be afraid to jump out there and get one of the very best QBs early. Start the run, don’t follow it. If you get a stud QB early, it’s a good thing. Mahomes was responsible for 52 touchdowns last year. He may not do that this year, he may do more, but who else in the NFL, any position, is going to give you 45-55 touchdowns but a quarterback. It’s not new math, it’s simple stuff. Don’t be fooled, even a Matt Ryan or Goff getting 32-40 TDs . What running back or receiver you see projected to rip off that many scores? If you can’t get a top 4-5 guy, then go on business as usual. And, one more nugget. When you’re having problems deciding who to start sometimes, You drafted your teams starters for a reason. If you want all the points that say Chubb from Cleveland will score in a whole season, you have to start that player every game. So don’t be so quick to back off a player if he slows down a bit. You might regret it.