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dmajik85

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: August 18, 2009, 12:22:16 PM

**This is attributable to FFtoday.com** I've leaned on these guys as a good, impartial site for a few years. Really get tired of the talking heads they roll out on TV or the main sports sites (how do I get that job btw?), but these guys get into the numbers and are pretty reliable from what I've seen.

My take... doesn't sound so great for the good guys for FF. That said I think they're overestimating some of the individual CB matchups, like AB against MeAngelo Hall. The RB analysis is about what I expect, although I think the ZBS will gel quicker than they think... and will be deadly when it starts to work. I don't think I agree that Golden Graham isthe TD vulture but I suppose it's possible. Ward should produce this year.

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http://www.fftoday.com/articles/thomas/09_psa_nfc_west_south.htm

Because the Bucs will be a running team this season - more than they have been since the turn of the century - it makes sense to start there first. A quick glance at the schedule reveals that I am not a big fan of their ability to produce consistently this season. The odd thing is that unlike most teams, I don't feel Tampa Bay's lack of RB production this season will be due to a lack of "running game talent". What I mean by that is that generally I can attribute a RB's lack of numbers to an offensive line, a bad scheme or a poor defense more often than not - none of which I feel apply here. Let's start with the roles Earnest Graham and Derrick Ward will play in the offense this season. If I had to guess at this moment, I imagine that Ward will win a 60-40 or 65-35 split of the touches coming out of the Bucs backfield, but Graham will emerge as the goal-line "vulture". If this is the way it actually plays out, Ward becomes no better than a decent fantasy RB3 in non-PPR leagues (or low-end RB2 in PPR) while Graham is probably a serviceable RB3 in non-PPR and RB4 in PPR. The problem is that both players have the size to stand up to the goal-line punishment and good enough hands to be threats in the passing game. However, with the struggles the passing game is likely to encounter, Graham and Ward will consistently face eight in the box. Let's also not forget that the offensive line is transitioning to a zone-based blocking scheme after years of man-blocking and the schedule certainly does not allow much room for error early on. In their first five games, the Bucs face all four NFC East teams with only a road game at Buffalo serving as an opportunity for Ward and Graham to get it going. After that difficult stretch is over, Tampa Bay hosts both Carolina and New England before heading into its Week 8 bye. What this means is Ward and Graham may have only two real shots at fantasy success through half of the fantasy season. Coming out of the off-week, the red matchups pretty much stop but games against the Packers, Dolphins and Saints don't inspire much confidence in a ground-it-out approach for several different reasons. Assuming Ward and Graham owners get to the point where they are still holding on to their backs, a difficult three-game stretch during the fantasy playoffs awaits them. The Jets figure to stop the run again this season and, after that, the Bucs cap off the fantasy season by playing road games in Seattle and New Orleans, both of which I expect to be much more respectable vs. the run this season. What it all boils down to is that while I have Tampa Bay down for four red matchups, the final tally might show it was more like eight or nine. In essence, not all "neutral" matchups are created equal.
As bad as things look for the running game, it's not exactly a walk in the park for the passing game either. It's hard to like Antonio Bryant going off against the likes of Terence Newman, DeAngelo Hall or Asante Samuel this season, just to name a few. In fact, Bryant may be hard-pressed to put together more than one fantasy WR3-type performance over the first half of the season, a notion that is completely unacceptable for a number of owners who expect a repeat of last season. While new OC Jeff Jagodzinski's new offense will be feature more downfield passing than did Jon Gruden's, "Jags" loves to use his TEs and feature the running game, yet another strike against Bryant. After his nightmarish first-half slate, Bryant could make for a decent buy-low candidate for the second half. However, I just can't foresee him having all that much success in 2009. With Bryant likely to suffer from the blues this season, the weight of the passing game will likely fall onto Kellen Winslow, who was given all the same red marks that Bryant was. Unlike Bryant, Winslow won't be matched up against an opponent's #1 CB, meaning if he can stay healthy, he could put up the same kind of numbers he posted during his finest years in Cleveland in an offense that will feature a young QB (who typically lean on their TEs early on in their careers) and a play-caller that has seemingly always been able to make at least one of his TEs a huge part of his offense. Considering his mid-seventh round ADP, Winslow could end up being a pretty good bargain for those patient owners who want to fill out their WR or RB ranks first but still want top-notch production from a mid-to-late round TE. While I do make mentions of Michael Clayton, Brian Clark and rookie Sammie Stroughter, this new offense - along with a relatively green QB - pretty much ensure that only Bryant and Winslow are worth putting on a fantasy roster. And given that Bryant will rarely get a week away from some of the best DB's in the league, Winslow will need to turn in a Pro Bowl-level performance in 2009 if this offense wants to go anywhere this season.

biffbeaumont

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#1 : August 18, 2009, 12:37:56 PM

Wow. That's great nuts and bolts analysis. Think he's spot on regarding Bryant.
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