Preseason football is right around the corner and that means fantasy football is too! With some fantasy drafts taking place soon, here is a list of which Tampa Bay Buccaneers are worth taking in your draft.

Mike Evans

The Negatives: Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans had a bit of a down season in 2017 where he only topped his projection in five out of the 15 games he played. Statistically, it was the worst season of his young NFL career, even though he averaged 9.1 targets per game. While Evans is usually a great fantasy option, his lack of touchdowns in 2017 hurt his value. He only caught 5 passes of the 19 targets that were thrown his way inside of the 20-yardline. Yards after the catch (YAC) is not a strength for Evans, so he must improve his touchdown numbers in 2018. With the Jameis Winston suspension, Evans will be paired with Ryan Fitzpatrick for the first three games.

The Positives: Consistency is key for Mike Evans. He topped the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth consecutive season in 2017. One thing that has allowed Evans to be so productive over his four-year career, is his ability to stay on the field. He has played in 61 out of a possible 64 games (95%) and only two of the games he missed were due to injury (suspended week 10 last season). In fantasy football, it is important to have a player you can depend on each week to play in your starting line-up because of the limited roster spots available.

Evans’ Draft Outlook: The average draft position (ADP) for Mike Evans is currently 22. He is scheduled to face the 18th easiest strength of schedule for wide receivers. He is also viewed as “matchup proof” because of his 6’5” frame and the number of targets he receives. Evans could be a steal if he begins to drop past the 25th pick but should not be taken over other top wide receivers such as Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins.

Ronald Jones

The Negatives: Jones is a rookie, so it is hard to predict what to expect. As of right now, Jones is listed second on the running back depth chart behind Peyton Barber. In order for Ronald Jones to be relevant for fantasy purposes, he must have a strong training camp and preseason. He also faces the 5th toughest strength of schedule which could mean tough sledding, even if Jones becomes the starter.

The Positives: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would not have invested a second-round pick in Jones if they did not believe that he was a starting caliber running back. He provides dependability running the ball, the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, and big play potential.

Jones’ Draft Outlook: The ADP for Ronald Jones is 58. He should be selected in the fifth round. Jones could be a sleeper pick for fantasy football players in need of a solid RB2 or a flex option. It never hurts to have too many running backs on the roster because of the limited amount of “workhorse backs” in today’s NFL and the amount of injuries in today’s game. In addition Jones’ ability to be involved in the passing game, may prove to make him very valuable in PPR formats.

O.J. Howard

The Negatives: O.J. Howard only caught more than four passes in a game once last season. Although his six touchdowns on 26 receptions (23%) seems like a good touchdown rate, I don’t think it is sustainable for this coming season. Howard is also competing with a slew of weapons in this Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense.

The Positives: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to use Howard much more in the second season of his young career. Howard excels much more as a blocker than Cameron Brate, so he will see the field plenty. Last year, Howard tied Brate for the team lead of six touchdown receptions and he led the league with 16.62 yards per reception.

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Howard’s Draft Outlook: Howard’s ADP is 142. He is a borderline TE1 due to his big play potential and the lack of reliable receiving tight ends across the NFL. Tampa Bay faces the 18th easiest schedule for tight ends so he could be a plug-and-play option depending on his matchup and roster needs. He is worth a pick in the 13th round and if he begins to fall past that in your draft, he could be a steal.

Jameis Winston

The Negatives: Jameis Winston is suspended for the first three games of the season so drafting him would be a long-term investment. Inconsistency has also plagued Winston over the course of his career. Last season Winston had three weeks where he scored under four points.

The Positives: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have surrounded Winston with plenty of targets to throw the ball to. Last year, even after missing three games due to injury, he finished ranked as the 13th best fantasy quarterback. Winston also faces the 14th easiest strength of schedule for quarterbacks.

Winston’s Draft Outlook: Winston’s ADP is currently 149. Winston has been a boom-or-bust quarterback throughout his career. This year he is worth stashing on your bench as a matchup dependent, borderline QB1. He is currently only owned in 9% of ESPN fantasy football leagues, but will be a popular addition in some leagues after he returns from suspension in week four. He is worth a late round flier, if you have a roster spot available.

Cameron Brate

The Negatives: The emergence of his teammate O.J. Howard during the second half of last season led to a significant drop in Brate’s statistics last season. After week seven, Brate only recorded more than three receptions one time and did not top the 50-yard receiving mark. He also just had one game during that stretch where he caught a touchdown. In fact, even after O.J. Howard was placed on IR after the week 15 game against the Falcons, Brate failed to make an impact. He only had a combined 50 yards receiving in the last two games of the year.

The Positives: During the first 7 weeks of last season, Brate showcased what he could do from a fantasy football perspective. He had a stretch of five consecutive weeks where he had more than 60 yards receiving. Later in the season, he had four consecutive games with a touchdown. Brate finished the season tied for the team lead in touchdowns. Comparing him to Rob Gronkowski, Brate finished as a TE1 more often than Gronkowski did, in the games where Brate was listed as the starting tight end.

Brate’s Draft Outlook: The ADP for Brate is 171. Productive tight ends are hard to find in fantasy football which makes Brate worth a late round draft pick. The tight end to own on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster, is O.J. Howard. Brate, however, still holds value as a TE2 and a bye week/injury replacement to stash on the bench. Expect Brate to start the season slow in Jameis Winston’s absence. However, once Winston returns from suspension, expect Brate’s stats to improve. Winston favors Brate, especially inside of the 20-yard line, and this was evident last year as Brate was a top four fantasy tight end in the games Winston played.

DeSean Jackson

The Negatives: DeSean Jackson had a down season in 2017 where he had a career low in yards per catch. He also totaled the second lowest number of receiving yards and his lowest number of touchdowns in a season since 2012. Jameis Winston and Jackson consistently struggled to connect on deep throws throughout the season. There is also the emergence of Chris Godwin in Tampa Bay. This doesn’t bode well for Jacksons’ fantasy value

The Positives: Ryan Fitzpatrick will be starting at quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first three games of the season. Last year, Jackson thrived when Ryan Fitzpatrick was throwing the ball as Jackson totaled two touchdowns. These were also the only two games where he received double digit targets. Early reports from training camp have been that Winston and Jackson have improved their chemistry on the field.

Jackson’s Draft Outlook: Jackson’s ADP is 173. His value would be as a “boom-or-bust” WR3 or a flex option. Jackson would be worth a late round draft pick and a bench spot due to his big play potential. If Winston and Jackson begin to produce the way many expected them to, Jackson could reach WR2 status. He is currently owned in 75% of ESPN leagues.

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