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2022 Fantasy Forecast: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have loaded up their offense with veteran talent in order to push for a Super Bowl with Tom Brady and @DarthDbacks has projections for 2022.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have assembled the oldest offense in the NFL with a ton of motivation to win a Super Bowl in what is likely to be legendary quarterback Tom Brady’s final season in the NFL. The team has sold out, adding any kind of veteran depth to ensure the team has enough depth to outlast the NFL season. While Bruce Arians isn’t the coach anymore, the team maintained the same offensive system with new head coach Todd Bowles. Byron Leftwich is still the team’s offensive coordinator, although you could say so is Brady. The Buccaneers will seek to repeat the 2021 season after going 13-4 and winning the NFC South.

However, they’ll be vying to reverse their playoff fortunes after losing to the Rams in the playoffs. The team isn’t going to rest when it comes to pushing for one last Super Bowl title with the GOAT. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished second in total yards with 6,901 points for (511) and first downs (404). They were first in passing yards (5,229), touchdowns (43), and passing first downs (273). The Bucs were 31st in rushing attempts (385) and 26th in rushing yards (1,672). The team had the fewest sacks allowed, too (23). The Bucs had the best passing offense. Although, they did have an effective run game (4.3 ypc) despite not rushing many times. This is a formula the Buccaneers will seek to repeat in 2022 as they prepare for the playoffs for the third straight year under Brady.

Quarterbacks

Tom Brady

Now that we are past that Brady disappearing act that embroiled the Buccaneers in many mysterious plots about where he is, the Bucs quarterback is ready for the season. Whether he prepared by dancing and singing or with his family, it’s not like the GOAT quarterback had much to prepare for in his age-45 season or 23rd NFL season. Last year, all Brady did was nearly set an NFL record for passing yards. No big deal. In 2021, he was a QB1 with 5,316 yards on 485/719 passing attempts and had 43 touchdowns. Each of those numbers led the NFL. He had 12 interceptions and a QBR of 68.1. By the way, those NFL-leading numbers were career highs for Brady, too, aside from the touchdowns. Did I say he’s only 45?

Brady didn’t rush much, of course. He had 81 yards on 28 rushes for two touchdowns. In dynasty, Brady’s a QB1 for contenders. It’ll be hard to find many quarterbacks who perform better than him this year. However, he’s basically a rental. It’s doubtful he will play in 2023. So he’s only good for contenders. He’s worth an early second solely because of how good he will do this year. If you need a QB2 on your contending team, see if you can buy Brady. Just be aware that you will need a backup plan for 2023 if he retires again.

My projections for Brady show he will be an elite quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers again. I have him down as the QB3 overall and QB5 on ppg in 6-point touchdown leagues. My numbers have him throwing for 5,197 yards, 41 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 24 sacks, 38 rushing yards, and a touchdown over 17 games (25.5 ppg). Buy Brady for this year, but only this year, likely.

The Others

Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask return to back up Brady at quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gabbert is a long-time backup and holds zero dynasty value other than being the QB1 for the Bucs should Brady suffer an injury. Trask has potential long-term value if Brady retires and he competes for the QB1 job of the Bucs. However, he likely belongs on waivers for now. Neither holds much value right now.

Running Backs

Leonard Fournette

Fournette has experienced a career revival with the Buccaneers. In 2021, Fournette had his best season since 2019 and established himself as the RB1 for the Bucs for the near future. Last year, he had 812 rushing yards on 180 yards, 4.5 yards per attempt, and eight touchdowns. He was also a great pass catcher with 69 receptions on 84 targets for 454 yards and two touchdowns. Fournette only fumbled once. He was a bruising player with 17 broken tackles and over 850 yards after contact. He was an RB1 in 2021.

In 2022, expect more of the same from 2021. Fournette will lead the team in rushes and get plenty of targets in the Buccaneers offense. The Bucs only rushed around 34% last year, and that number likely continues again, which limits his impact. If he misses any time like last year when he missed three games, that caps his fantasy potential. However, in the games he plays, he will be an RB1 due to the prolific pass-catching work. Therefore, I have him projected again as an RB1 in 2022 and averaging 17.1 PPR ppg. He will have 201 rushes, 887 yards, nine touchdowns, 77 targets, 62 receptions, 401 yards, and two touchdowns receiving. Solid numbers for the 27-year-old running back who will have two years left on his contract after this season.

Fournette is a great running back for dynasty contenders but be wary that his performance will decrease in the coming seasons, and he could be released for cheap after the 2022 season. The Bucs already drafted his replacement in Rachaad White.

Rachaad White

Speaking of White, this is his rookie year after being taken in the third round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s the heir to the running back throne in Tampa. White reminds me of a younger, faster, bigger Leonard Fournette. He absorbs contact and doesn’t shy from it. He is 6’2″, 210 pounds, and runs like a butterfly that’s the size of a beamer. In his senior year at ASU, he had 1,000 rushing yards, 15 touchdowns, 43 receptions, 456 yards, and another touchdown. White will be one of the best handcuffs to own in dynasty this year, with Fournette likely to miss a couple of games at some point this year.

White will likely take over the running back room in either 23′ or 24′, depending on when the Bucs release Fournette. If Brady doesn’t come back in 2023, White will absolutely break out due to increased rushing. Regardless, he will have plenty of stand-alone value this year with the potential for RB1 weeks when he starts. I have him projected for 444 rushing yards on 105 attempts, four rushing touchdowns, 42 targets, 29 receptions, 207 yards, and a touchdown over 17 games and 7.3 PPR ppg. Buy White now before his prices rise even more after an impressive preseason. He’s a long-term buy with a great chance of eventually being an RB1 in the dynasty.

Wide Receivers

Mike Evans

Evans is just a routine 1,000-yard season wide receiver that still doesn’t get the respect he deserves. Mike consistently is one of the best wide receivers; that won’t change this year. It might be his last terrific season if Brady retires. This is because the Bucs’ next quarterback remains unknown. His streak of 1,000-yard seasons since 2014 could end if it’s an awful quarterback. Evans is a reliable wide receiver who shows up in every game. He’s never had fewer than 109 targets in his career, and that won’t change this year.

Last year, Evans had 74 receptions on 114 targets for 1,035 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was a Pro Bowler for the fourth time in his career. Now that we know Brady is back, Evans will be a WR1 again in 2022. While Chris Godwin, Russell Gage, and Julio Jones will limit the targets that Evans gets, the quality of targets is enough to surpass that. That’s why I predict Evans to be a WR1 again with 16.3 ppg in PPR. He will have 123 targets, 81 receptions, 1,182 yards, and 13 touchdowns.

If any of the wide receivers miss time, these numbers could rise. They have already inflated, thanks to Gronk retiring. Buy Evans now if you need a wide receiver for this season. He’s only 29 and has multiple prime years left. He’s an excellent buy for contenders in 2022. Check out his profile for the season, as it contains even more information.

Chris Godwin

Godwin tore his ACL in Week 15 of the 2021 season, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to miss the beginning of the season. However, it seems like Godwin is right on track to appear in Week 1. Still, manage your expectations. Godwin will not play at 100% in his first week back. It will take a few weeks to knock the rust off. Regardless, Godwin will still be a top-24 wide receiver in 2022 with Brady. He will likely command more targets per game than Evans in the last two years. In 2021, Godwin had 127 targets, 98 receptions, 1,103 yards, five touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown on 21 yards. Those are impressive numbers for an entire season, let alone only 14 games. Imagine what he could do with 15 or 16 games this year.

Godwin’s entering his age-26 season, and it’s still a great time to buy the talented wide receiver. He’s got many years of prime left and will continue to put up a strong season regardless of the quarterback. This year will be special in what might be Brady’s last stand. As I mentioned in his player profile article, expect the Bucs to be conservative to start the year with Godwin, but they will unleash him at some point. He’s a crucial piece of this offense. In my projections, I have him playing 15-16 games and averaging 15.6 PPR ppg. He will have 116 targets, 88 receptions, 1,030 yards, and seven touchdowns. Quality numbers for a WR1 on some teams, but certainly WR2-tier fantasy numbers.

Russell Gage

Gage is in Tampa Bay after Brady personally recruited him to sign with them. He went there on a three-year deal that established him as the likely WR3 in Tampa Bay, even with Julio Jones there. Gage is entering his age-26 season after four seasons with the Falcons. He played well in the uninspiring offense last two years. In 2021, he led the wide receivers with 94 targets, 66 receptions, 770 yards, and four touchdowns. Gage will seek to replace Antonio Brown and hopefully get as much production as he did. The addition of Julio does temper the expectations and lower the ceiling for Gage. Yet, I don’t hold a lot of belief that Godwin and Julio will be healthy for all 17 games. Due to that, there’s certainly fantasy potential in Gage for 2022.

I see Gage having some WR2/3 weeks while finishing the year as a WR3/4. He’s a fine flex and a perfect depth wide receiver. You can acquire him for cheap, and thanks to his age, he has plenty of upsides. In 2023, he will be the WR3 for sure, which means plenty of targets in the pass-happy offense. As for this season, buy him in dynasty if you need more depth as a contender. His price has dropped as a result of Julio joining the Bucs. However, he’s a tough buy since owners don’t want to sell him at his lowest price. If you can snag him, do it. My projections for Gage in 2022 are 84 targets, 59 receptions, 700 yards, six touchdowns, and 9.8 PPR ppg over 17 games. Solid numbers that can reach much higher if Julio misses extended time like in recent years.

Julio Jones

Jones is trying to hitch a ride for a Super Bowl ring this year by pairing up with Tom Brady and the Bucs. He has been put through the meat grinder the last two years, having missed 14 games. Last year, he only appeared in ten games with the Titans. He wasn’t exactly playing great when he was healthy. He had only 48 targets, 31 receptions, one touchdown, and 434 yards. He’s now 33 and in the twilight of his career. Jones was a dominant wide receiver at one point, but now he’s just trying to get playoff experience and rings.

He will be more a nuisance than a fantasy must-have this year. Jones will take away too many targets that could go to Gage, Godwin, or Evans. If you have him right now, he’s a mega-sell high. Sell him for anything you can get. If you keep him, my projections this year for him are 55 targets, 37 receptions, 520 yards, and three touchdowns over 13 games and 8.2 PPR ppg.

The Others

The Buccaneers have multiple other wide receivers that might become something in future years but aren’t worth it at all right now. They likely won’t do much this year unless Evans and Godwin get hurt. Breshad Perriman, Jaelon Darden, and Scotty Miller will sometimes have big weeks but don’t buy into them. They aren’t going to be season-long players worth having.

Tight Ends

Cameron Brate

Brate has been with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a while. He’s one of the team’s veterans and has proven to be a reliable target for Brady. The addition of Kyle Rudolph hurts his potential to have another excellent year. Granted, it will still be a solid year compared to his last few years. Were Rudolph to miss time, Brate’s a sleeper tight end who could have some big weeks. However, he’s best to be left on your bench. As for his dynasty future, there’s not much. It’s unlikely he is back next year with the Bucs, and he’s already 31. My projections this year for him are 60 targets, 38 receptions, 358 yards, two touchdowns, and 5.0 PPR ppg.

Kyle Rudolph

Rudolph is another veteran player hitching a ride on the Brady express to the playoffs hoping to secure a Super Bowl ring. It’s a smart strategy. The 33-year-old tight end is in the twilight of his career, too, but he’s still a good red zone option for Brady. Last year on the Giants, he only had 39 targets, 26 catches, a touchdown, and 257 yards over 16 games. He’ll get more work this year but will split time with Brate. He is only two years removed from six touchdowns, but he’s not worth being rostered right now. If Brate gets hurt, maybe then. I see Rudolph being the red zone threat that Gronk was this year with four touchdowns, 426 yards, 43 receptions, and 63 targets with 6.4 ppg PPR.

Cade Otton

Otton is a sleeper dynasty target. He likely won’t do much as a rookie due to Brate and Rudolph blocking his path. However, the path in 2023 is clear for him to take over as the TE1 on the Bucs. Stash him in your taxi for now. He’s got the potential to be a good tight end in the future. This year, I only give him 25 targets, 17 receptions, 152 yards, and a touchdown with 2.2 PPR ppg.

Do you want to become the best dynasty player you can be? Be sure to use my promo code “Darth” for 15% OFF your subscription to Dynasty Nerds! It makes it only three dollars or so! Connect with me on Twitter @DarthDbacks. I love to talk football, baseball, movies, shows, Star Wars, and Marvel, and interact with the fantasy football community. For more articles of mine, click here.

As always, May the Force be with You…

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