Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2013 Team Preview
July 18, 2013 | Chet
Welcome to our 2013 Buccaneers Team Preview. To get a better understanding of what each NFL team might be up to this season we are asking local team insiders to answer a few questions for us. We talked to Tom Krasniqi from 620 WDAE in Tampa to get the inside scoop. Follow him at @TKras.
1. Doug Martin put on quite a show last season as a rookie. He’s now being taken often as a top 3 pick in fantasy drafts. Barring injury, do you have any concern that he can live up to those expectations?
I have Martin rated 2nd behind AP and here’s why: He racked up more than 1,900 yards from scrimmage last season…as a rookie! And he did it without Pro Bowl guards Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph. Nicks missed the final 9 games. Joseph was out the entire season. With those two behemoths back, I expect Martin to be a 1,400 yard back with 10 TDs. He’s an every down back who doesn’t come off the field. He catches passes. He’s terrific down at the goal line. Greg Schiano LOVES to pound the football so I expect Martin to get 300+ touches once again. And unlike Arian Foster (Ben Tate lurking), Martin has no one behind him to steal carries. Martin is my #2 player behind Peterson.
2. Josh Freeman had career highs in yards and touchdowns last season, but took a step backward in completion percentage. His inconsistency has been maddening to fantasy pundits. Do you think he can take a step forward this season?
The table is set for Freeman to have his best season, which happens to be a contract year. It’s his 2nd year in the same system under offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. Bucs O-line is one of the best around. Terrific talent at the skill positions– Martin, VJax and Mike Williams. It’s all up to Josh. Josh was great in 2010 in tossing 25 TDs and 6 INTs in leading the Bucs to 10 wins. He took a step back in 2011 with 22 INTs and last season, he was up and down. Freeman is not an accurate passer and the Bucs like to throw downfield, which are low percentage plays. Don’t expect his completion % to be way above 60 percent. He will hit on some big plays but he also makes some mistakes…Bucs are a run-first team in order to alleviate some pressure off of Freeman. With that said, I expect good, not great numbers: 25 TD’s and around 12 INTs with around 4,000 yards passing. That makes him #2 fantasy QB. Don’t draft him as your #1.
3. With what should be a much improved pass defense, with Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson arriving in the off-season, do you think it will change the offense, and therefore our fantasy expectations, in any way?
Great question! The improved secondary will change fantasy expectations and here’s why– Last season, the Bucs defense was so putrid to the point where they were playing from behind so Freeman had to throw more. This season with an improved defense, I expect the Bucs to be in tighter games. That means more of an emphasis on Doug Martin and the run game and less of Freeman throwing, which could lead to fewer mistakes by him. That’s why I’m high on Martin and lukewarm on Freeman. By the way, if Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers can find a way to apply pressure, I like the Bucs defense as a plug and play depending on matchups.
4. Mike Williams seems to have a cap to his production, but he has gotten the job done two of his three years in fantasy. Do you see any reason he can’t hit 900 yards and 8+ touchdowns again?
Mike Williams is lobbying for a contract extension, which could get done during the preseason so he has something to prove. The presence of Vincent Jackson really opened things up for Williams last season because he saw more single coverage. I expect the same to be the case this season. He had 996 yards and 9 touchdowns last season. Expect 950 yards and around 7-8 TD’s this season. That would make Williams an ideal #3 fantasy WR with VJax still being the go-to guy as a low-end #1, high-end #2.
5. Who will you be watching this preseason who might have a shot at making a move toward the starting lineup and possibly into fake footballers’ hearts?
A couple of guys I’ll be watching in the preseason– Who will be Martin’s caddy? Brian Leonard, Michael Smith and rookie Mike James are expected to get long looks. The Bucs like James. He’s a 225 pounder with a downhill running style. I’ll also have an eye on the #3 WR battle. Incumbent Tiquan Underwood against free agent acquisition Kevin Ogletree, who opened some eyes during offseason workouts. I expect Ogletree to be that guy. If VJax or Williams go down, Ogletree would be ownable in fantasy leagues.