What can the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do for you this fantasy season? Check out Athlon Sports' team report as we break down the rookies, veteran players to watch and avoid, fantasy playoff schedule and more to help you get ready for the 2012 season.
Inside the Locker Room
with Rick Stroud, St. Petersburg Times
Tampa Bay's running back could pay off big, but it's not likely
The running back situation in the NFL in Week 15 is pretty dire. Two of them have already played in Maurice Jones-Drew and Michael Turner, and they were certainly started in most leagues. And here we are for a Saturday night game, nationally televised by the NFL Network, with a decision to make about Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount.
Starting Blount means there are two questions you have to ask yourself: Do you trust Blount? Do you trust that Bucs coach Raheem Morris will stick with him even in the likelihood that the Bucs will be down?
Tampa Bay's running back is healthy but shouldn't be in your starting lineup this Sunday
LeGarrette Blount owners can rejoice. Or at least they can rejoice as much as owners of a one-dimensional 5th round fantasy football pick who's been out for a month can rejoice. But according to the Tampa Bay Bucs coach Raheem Morris, Blount will return to action this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back has a grade 2 MCL tear
LeGarrette Blount wasn't having a great season, but he was having a very LeGarrette Blout-esque season. Which means his owners are hurting now that the Tampa Bay running back is out several weeks with a grade 2 tear in his left MCL.
So what should Blount owners do now that their missing a fantasy footballer who wouldn't pile up yards, but had found the end zone three times in four and a half games.
TAMPA BAY • Inside the Locker Room
With Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times
Can we expect even better results from Mike Williams after his solid rookie season?
It’s hard to imagine Williams being more productive in his second season. His 11 receiving touchdowns as a rookie were the most since Randy Moss in 1998. Williams’ numbers may take a dip with the improvement of Arrelious Benn, who is coming off ACL surgery. But the longer QB Josh Freeman works with Williams, the better they will be, and they spent a large part of the lockout throwing and catching passes.
What type of workload will LeGarrette Blount get in 2011?
Blount is a battering ram and a player who can impose his will on opposing defenses. Considering he rushed for 1,007 yards as an undrafted college free agent, he has a lot of room for improvement. The Bucs don’t really have another go-to back, unless Kareem Huggins heals from a torn ACL. Cadillac Williams is an unrestricted free agent and has stayed away from the Bucs camps.
Quarterback Josh Freeman was stellar down the stretch last season. Is he on the way to becoming a top-level NFL signal-caller?
Freeman already should be considered one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks. His 25 touchdowns and only six INTs marked the ninth-best TD-to-INT ratio in the history of the league. What’s more, he has a knack for winning games in which his team is trailing in the fourth quarter, the sign of a good QB. Freeman also has all the intangibles. He organized offseason workouts during the lockout and commands respect in and out of the huddle.
• Fantasy Playoff Run — Weeks 14-16: @JAC, DAL, @CAR
This couldn't line up any better for the Bucs. Two games in warm weather and a Carolina defense 27th against QBs and 28th against WRs last season. The Jaguars and Cowboys were miserable against the QBs and WRs as well last year, finishing in the bottom eight against both. So if you are leaning on playing Josh Freeman and Mike Williams, this schedule says go for it.
• Athlon Best Bets Sleeper: Dezmon Briscoe, WR Deep-Sleeper: Allen Bradford, RB Overvalued: Josh Freeman, QB Top Rookie: Adrian Clayborn, DL Bounce-Back: Gerald McCoy, DL Top IDP: Gerald McCoy, DL
• Try to Avoid
Arrelious Benn, WR
Benn has plenty of talent in his 6'1", 220-pound frame, but he caught only 25 passes in 15 games last season. A reconstructed knee will put his breakout campaign on hold for a year. WAIT UNTIL: 14th RD
• Draft Class Fantasy Impact
For the second year in a row, the Buccaneers spent their top two picks on defensive linemen. Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers should help upgrade a pass rush that was among the worst in the NFL. With the added talent, the Buccaneers are an improving defense to target in fantasy drafts. Luke Stocker is good insurance for Kellen Winslow and will contribute in two-tight end sets this year. Mason Foster is a name to remember in IDP leagues, especially with an open path to the starting job.