Booms, Busts, Breakouts & Bets: Tampa Bay Buccaneers


As the mercury rises and we inch closer to training camp openings, our resident fantasy football aficionados, Brad Evans and Derek Brown, profile their favorite Booms, Busts, Breakouts and Bets for every NFL team. Giddy up, gamers. Today’s topic: The Reigning Champs.

Fantasy Football Booms — Buccaneers

Mike Evans, WR

When the rumors of Tom Brady signing with Tampa Bay first hit the airwaves, many fantasy football gamers got cold shivers down their spines. Was Brady washed? Could he complete a pass longer than 15 yards? Was Mike Evans headed for a busted season? And then Evans scored five touchdowns and crested 100 yards receiving in two of the first four games of the season, and the preseason narratives were silenced for the rest of the year. 

Even after Antonio Brown‘s arrival, Evans was the unquestioned leader of the passing attack. In Weeks 9-16 (injured Week 17), Evans led the receivers in target share (20.6%) and red-zone targets (12) as the WR6 in fantasy points per game. Year one of Tompa Brady was a trophy-tossing smash. As long as Brady can hold off father time for another season, Evans will finish with his customary ~1,100 receiving yards and 8-10 scores. — Derek Brown

Ronald Jones, RB

Evans is undoubtedly worthy of votes in this category, but Ronald Jones deserves some love as well. Yes, he couldn’t catch the Delta variant standing shoulder-to-shoulder inside a packed concert venue of the unvaccinated, but his added bulk last season transformed him into a defender-blasting wrecking ball. He ranked third, only behind earth-flattening tanks Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry, in yards after contact per attempt (3.65). Overlooked, he also logged 21 rush attempts inside the 10. 

Yes, Leonard Fournette will once again command bulk work on passing downs, but if Jones can convert at a higher clip inside the red zone, he’s capable of reaching double-digit scores. Toss in Tampa’s elite offensive line and it becomes an even greater possibility. At his RB33 (86.7 overall) ADP, you could do much worse. — Brad Evans

2021 Fantasy Football Busts – Buccaneers

Antonio Brown, WR

You’re throwing back shots of Casamigos with Tequila Tom if you ardently believe Antonio Brown is suddenly going to turn back the hands of time and rediscover his DB-demoralizing form. Yes, he’ll occasionally flash glimpses of the wide receiver who was a first-team All-Pro from 2014 to 2017, but at 33 years old and surrounded by a number of target-drawing accomplices, he’s a middling bench option with sporadic plug-’n-play appeal. There’s a reason why oddsmakers set his receiving yards prop at 745.5. 

Admittedly, he was on a 95-1,027-8 17-game pace last season, but Evans, Chris Godwin and Tampa’s array of TEs say pump the brakes. His 17.8% air yards share and WR40 standing in fantasy points per target only echo the sentiment. Chase the past at his WR43 ADP (93.0 overall) and you’ll miss out on likely breakouts Laviska Shenault and Michael Pittman. — Brad Evans

Antonio Brown, WR

Antonio Brown returning to Tampa Bay might draw a wide grin from Tom Brady, but that doesn’t make him a player you should be happy to roster in fantasy football. After joining the team in Week 9, Brown was the WR22 in fantasy points per game, but that statistic, like all others, needs context. In Week 17, Mike Evans played only 16% of the snaps, and Brown filled in admirably with a monster performance (11 receptions, 138 receiving yards, two scores). In Weeks 9-16, Brown was the WR45 in fantasy points per game, tied with D.J. Chark and Russell Gage. Brown was a part-time player eclipsing 65% of the snaps only twice in that seven-game stretch. 

Expecting more than WR4 or WR5 is a stretch at this point in Brown’s career. Will Fuller, Mike Williams and Laviska Shenault all go within seven picks of Brown in current best balls. These players all have higher upside in their offenses to smash their ADPs. — Derek Brown

Fantasy football breakouts for the Buccaneers

Scott Miller, WR

Looking for a breakout player on a veteran-laden team in full run-it-back mode is no easy task so bear with me here. If Antonio Brown misses any time or if his age catches up with him, Scott Miller is ready to assume the breakout trajectory he was on last season before Brown’s arrival. In Weeks 1-8, Miller was the team’s top deep threat leading the team in deep targets. Over that half-season, he was on a 52-850-5 with 1.79 yards per route run. 

Miller has speed for days and has performed when given opportunities. One domino needs to fall on this receiving depth chart for him to reassume a starting role. At WR109 (214.8 overall) in best ball, he’s worth taking shots on late because the talent is there for him to erupt in 2021. — Derek Brown

Tyler Johnson, WR

Full disclosure: This is a shot in the dark. Tyler Johnson is buried on the depth chart behind proven mainstays Evans, Godwin and Brown, but with the injury imp always lurking behind the corner, there’s a chance the youngster could ascend into the spotlight and steal the show. 

The former Golden Gopher only sporadically flashed his natural gifts last season. On just 123 routes run, he grabbed 12 passes for 169 yards and two TDs. Still, his length, route-running precision, contested catch brawn and soft hands present a tantalizing upside. If pushed into the spotlight, he could easily flourish, especially with a certain avocado ice cream connoisseur chucking him the pill. For those in challenging formats, he’s a name to keep close tabs on. — Brad Evans

Best Bets for the Buccaneers 2021

(Use the FTN Prop Shop to uncover the best lines across legal sportsbooks) 

Tom Brady UNDER 33.5 passing touchdowns (-115, PointsBet)

Yes, Tom Brady eclipsed this number last year (40), but that was also on the back of the third-highest touchdown rate (6.6%) of his career. Before last season he had surpassed this mark only once in seven seasons. Brady can still truck along to another fantastic season with the touchdowns swinging in the opposite direction. — Derek Brown

Mike Evans OVER 9 TDs (-120, DraftKings)

His 41 red-zone targets a season ago ranked No. 3 among WRs. When near the end-zone, he’s a Brady favorite. Another year of double-digit TDs? Yep. — Brad Evans

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