• 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.
More Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets and Rankings:
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 280
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 240 w/ IDPs
2 011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks
2 011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Kickers
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defense/Special Teams