Every year we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the NFL season that was. The coverage will be in-depth, but because the Dynasty Capsule series begins immediately after the regular season, we won’t use it to discuss free agency or the draft. Come see us in early May once Mr. Irrelevant is off the board for another 32-article series giving you the same detailed discussion you’ll see below.
Buckle up dynasty fans, because you’re about to be reminded why our motto is, “There is no off-season.”
Tampa Bay has just one winning season over the past seven years, and the Buccaneers last made the postseason in 2007. Amazingly, the organization’s last playoff victory came in the Super Bowl back in 2002.
Boasting Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David, the Buccaneers have two studs to build around on the defensive side of the ball, and now they have a franchise quarterback to spearhead the offense. With the Carolina Panthers the only NFC South team to finish above .500 this past season, Tampa Bay could be making a playoff push as soon as 2016.
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Any time a rookie quarterback doesn’t flat out stink in his first season, it’s a great sign. Winston definitely didn’t stink, putting together a pretty good debut campaign. He completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 4,042 yards, 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He also added 213 rushing yards and six scores on the ground. Winston finished 21st in Total QBR, and in fantasy, he was QB14.
Tampa Bay fired Head Coach Lovie Smith and promoted offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to the head gig. As far as Winston is concerned, this is probably a positive since he isn’t going to have to learn another playbook, and he’ll get to continue developing under Koetter. While Smith was notorious for being conservative, Koetter has already come out and said he plans on being more aggressive with his play-calling in 2016 than he was this past season.
As we’ll get to, the Buccaneers have decent weapons around Winston, and hopefully the organization will provide him with stability on the coaching front. As we saw with Blake Bortles and Derek Carr, Winston could be in for a big improvement in his second year. Even if he does make a jump, though, it’s hard to imagine Winston surpassing Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton or Russell Wilson in our quarterback rankings. His current slot, QB5, may be his ceiling for a little bit, unless he blows up in 2016.
Glennon, who is 26 years-old, didn’t play a snap in 2015. Drafted in the third round in 2013, he started 19 games over his first two seasons, completing 58.8 percent of his throws for 29 scores and 15 interceptions. He definitely showed he was capable of being a serviceable NFL quarterback, but it wasn’t enough to make Tampa Bay pass on Winston. Glennon will likely need an injury or trade to become a valuable asset in 2016. With the current state of quarterbacks in the NFL, he’ll probably find his way onto the field again somewhere at some point. He will be in the final year of his rookie deal next season.
An undrafted free agent in 2013, Griffin spent his first two years with the New Orleans Saints. He was released prior to the 2015 season and picked up by the Buccaneers. A former standout at Tulane, Griffin has never attempted a pass in a regular season game.
Martin resurrected his value with a monster season, which catapulted him into the top five in our running back rankings. I don’t get very much right, but after seeing Martin this preseason, I was on board. He certainly delivered, rushing for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns on 4.6 yards per carry. He added 49 receptions for 472 yards and another score. Tampa Bay declined Martin’s fifth-year option prior to the season, which means he is heading into free agency, but Koetter made it sound like the Buccaneers really want to bring him back.
With Martin’s value as high as it is, he may have morphed from a buy-low candidate 12 months ago to a sell-high option this off-season. Be careful, though, because the numbers say he’s a top-notch running back. Martin has rushed for 4.4 yards per carry over 868 career attempts. Since 2012, his rookie season, among backs with at least 500 carries, Martin ranks 10th in yards per carry. When he’s been healthy, which wasn’t the case in 2013 and 2014, he’s produced.
Sims is a really intriguing back. Obviously, with Martin set to be a free agent, Sims’ value would skyrocket if Martin signed elsewhere, making him a high-upside lottery ticket. However, through two seasons, Sims has shown enough to be a valuable asset on his own. In 2015, Sims ran the ball 107 times for 529 yards, good for a superb 4.9 yards per carry. He’s an excellent receiver, as well, stealing some third-down work from Martin and racking up 51 receptions for 561 yards and four touchdowns. Sims’ skillset is an attractive one, and with how tough it is for any running back to play in all 16 games, like Martin just did, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where Sims is a startable running back in 2016.
Both backs were buried on the depth chart behind the top two. Rainey received five carries, while James didn’t play in a single game. Rainey is an unrestricted free agent this off-season. As a back who rushed for 406 yards on 94 carries (4.3 YPC) in 2014, he’ll likely generate some interest. James is on the books for just $675,000 next year, which will be the final year of his deal.
It seems like the perception is Evans had a down season, but it’s really not the case. He had more yards (1,206), receptions (74) and yards per catch (16.3) in 2015 than he did in 2014. The only difference is a lack of touchdowns. After reaching the end zone 12 times as a rookie, he only scored three touchdowns this past season. Touchdown totals can be random and fluky for all players, so it’s nothing to get worked up about.
Evans runs a lot of low-percentage routes, and he has his struggles with drops, so there may always be a boom-or-bust element at play here. With that said, Evans has fallen outside the top ten in our receiver rankings. Admittedly, the position is loaded, but as a 22-year-old with 2,257 receiving yards to his name, Evans is still unquestionably a top-end dynasty asset. There may be a slim buy-low window open right now, and it’s certainly worth seeing if you can acquire him at a discount.
Limited to ten games because of injuries, Jackson didn’t reach the 1,000-yard mark for the first time since the 2010 campaign, which was another injury-shortened season. Jackson wasn’t too effective when he did play, catching 33 of 63 targets for 543 yards and three scores. At 33 years-old and set for a $12.2 million cap hit in 2016, the final year of his deal, Jackson is a cut candidate this off-season. If he is released, it’ll speak volumes about what the Buccaneers think of their other young wideouts.
Speaking of the team’s other young wideouts, Bell is quality dynasty stash who could pay dividends in 2016. His value — and chance for playing time — would shoot up if Jackson isn’t back with Tampa Bay next fall. A fifth-round pick in 2015, Bell didn’t see any action this past year, suffering a hamstring injury in the preseason and landing on injured reserve in September. At 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, he’s an enticing prospect. In college at Nebraska, Bell never had much to work with in terms of a quarterback, but he finished his senior year with 16.8 yards per catch, 788 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
Murphy made ten grabs for 198 yards before tearing his ACL in week six. Murphy is signed through 2017 and should be back in camp with Tampa Bay, if he can get healthy in time. He is unlikely to have a significant role moving forward.
With Bell, Murphy and Jackson dealing with injuries, Dye was presented with an opportunity to play. From Division III Heidelberg, Dye ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the combine but went undrafted. He started five games for the Buccaneers and saw action in 11 contests, finishing with 11 receptions for 132 yards and one score. Dye is raw prospect who needs to refine his skillset. With his speed, though, he could develop into a playmaker if he becomes a better route runner. Getting to play so much this season has to be a positive for his long-term development.
Like Dye, Humphries was thrust into playing time in 2015 when Tampa Bay probably didn’t plan on him seeing the field much. Also an undrafted free agent, Humphries caught 27-of-41 targets for 260 yards and one score. Playing primarily in the slot and averaging 9.6 yards per catch, the former Clemson receiver didn’t show much in terms of big-play ability, but he is a chain-mover with decent hands.
When Seferian-Jenkins was healthy this year, he put up numbers. He saw 40 targets, making 21 catches for 388 yards and four touchdowns. The problem is he’s rarely been healthy in his two-year career. A 2014 second-round selection, Seferian-Jenkins has played in 16 of a possible 32 games thus far. The breakout appeared to be on after a huge 110-yard, two-touchdown day in week one, but he was injured in week two and missed nearly three months. Once Seferian-Jenkins returned to the lineup, Winston looked for him often, targeting him 29 times over the final five weeks. In that stretch, Seferian-Jenkins totaled 14 receptions for 199 yards and two scores.
Despite the injury-riddled start to his career, he’s done enough to excite the dynasty community. Our tight end rankings have Seferian-Jenkins as TE7. Hopefully he follows the trail set by Jordan Reed and Tyler Eifert, a pair of injury-prone tight ends who put up huge numbers once they stayed (relatively) healthy.
This trio saw extended action with Seferian-Jenkins on the shelf, but no one did anything too noteworthy. Brate was the biggest producer, hauling in 23 of 30 targets for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Myers and Stocker combined for 188 yards between the two of them. If Seferian-Jenkins can stay healthy, none of them will have much of a role moving forward. Brate and Myers are entering the final year of their deals while Stocker is signed through 2017.