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 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.”
Jameis Winston (FEB ADP: 121.67, QB9)
Winston was one of the most up-and-down players of the 2018 season. One week, he’s suspended, another he’s starting, then he gets benched mid-game, then he takes over mid-game. Just about everything that could happen to Winston’s playing time happened in 2018. Despite this, he still managed to be at least a top-12 quarterback in fantasy in five games this season, finishing as a top-five scorer three times.
Winston possesses a lot of ability, but he seems to make the wrong play at the wrong time in key positions on the football field. Whether it is a costly turnover or wild overthrow to Mike Evans, Jameis hasn’t performed when it matters most. With a QB record of 21-33 in his four seasons and off-the-field concerns, one has to wonder if this is a make-or-break season for the former number one overall pick.
From a fantasy perspective, Winston’s performance in his career justifies a QB9 price tag. Since the start of 2016, Winston has more QB1 weekly finishes than QB2 finishes (17 and 16, respectively). He’s also finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback in just over 17.5% of his games (from FFStatistics.com). While that’s impressive on the surface, it’s lower than other signal-callers around his ADP like Dak Prescott (23%), Cam Newton (27%), and Matt Ryan (21%). Bruce Arians may be able to get the best of out Winston this year, but I would be cautious buying at QB9 prices.
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
Ryan Fitzpatrick (FEB ADP: N/A)
‘Fitzmagic’ and the social media trends/memes that came along with it was one of my favorite parts of the 2018 NFL season. An unrestricted free agent, it remains to be seen where the Harvard grad will play next season. As quality veteran depth, he’s certainly worth a roster spot both on an NFL team and superflex rosters. I wouldn’t expect 20 points per game again, but you could do worse in a pinch if Fitzmagic gets unleashed once more.
Ronald Jones (FEB ADP: 136.00, RB46)
Consistently in the top-eight draft picks in rookie draft ADP last off-season, the 2018 lack of production was not what drafters had hoped Ronald Jones would achieve. Plenty were incredibly high on Jones, including ESPN’s Mike Clay – one of the most well-regarded projection specialist in the industry – who projected Jones for over 1,200 yards in 2018.
When the Buccaneers selected Jones high in the second round, many, including myself, bought into his opportunity. With only the undrafted Peyton Barber on the roster, surely Jones had the chance, athleticism, and draft capital to make his mark. Clearly, this didn’t happen. Jones wound up with a mere 30 total touches for 77 yards and a lone touchdown.
So what happened? For one, Jones did deal with injuries throughout his rookie season. Starting with a hamstring pull during the 40-yard dash at the Combine, Jones never appeared truly healed from that as he continued to try to impress scouts and his new team. Hamstring injuries are notorious to linger throughout a season, and Jones did re-injure his hamstring in late October. There’s a story that could be told that Jones was never able to put his best foot forward this past season because of what happened at the NFL Combine.
However, Jones was also a healthy scratch for multiple games this season. His pass blocking and pass catching was poor even for a rookie. He struggled to get onto the field, and in the limited sample he was on it, he didn’t perform well. As one of the more polarizing players already in the 2018 draft, Jones value torpedoed during the season. At RB46 in February ADP, he’s a good value if you believe in his college production and talent. Jones will have to show he belongs in the NFL in 2019.
Peyton Barber (FEB ADP: 204.00, RB69)
There are a lot of NFL running backs who could have done what Barber did in 2018. While amassing 234 carries, Barber failed to eclipse 4.0 yards per carry (he had just 3.7) and caught just 20 passes. Barber ranked ninth in the NFL in rushing attempts while finishing as the RB30 on the season. That difference speaks to why despite the volume, drafters still have him at RB69 in dynasty. There is a small chance Barber is able to repeat his volume again in 2019, but the odds are stacked against Barber. With a new regime and a coach who loves to utilize pass-catching running backs, Barber seems like the odd man out.
Andre Ellington (FEB ADP: N/A)
Ellington is an interesting flier to take on this Buccaneers team. With previous ties to new head coach Bruce Arians, Ellington once displayed a dynamic skill set. While it’s very unlikely Ellington takes on a feature role, he could perform much like Jacquizz Rodgers (a now free agent) did in years past. Rodgers caught 38 passes in 2018 serving as the primary pass-catching back on the team. Neither Jones nor Barber have shown any true skills in this aspect of the game, whereas Ellington has proven himself. In what looks to be a revamped offense, there are worse fliers to take.
Mike Evans (FEB ADP: 14.00, WR7)
It’s not often there’s a wide receiver who starts his career with five straight 1,000-yard seasons. Even more surprising: that player is outside the top round of dynasty ADP. Perhaps this is due to the running back resurgence, but Evans is a true playmaker in the league and has proven so year after year.
Recently, I’ve been digging into Expected Points Added (EPA) per Target statistics, a measure that puts context to production. For example, an eight-yard catch on third-and-ten matters to a team a lot less than an eight-yard catch on third-and-six. EPA takes this distinction into account that other counting metrics do not. In this way, EPA is a way of measuring how important a receiver is to their team. Mike Evans’ 2018 season ranks among the highest EPA per Target seasons since 2009.
I've been working on my WR database and came to the realization that Mike Evans and T.Y. Hilton just put up one of the best EPA/Target seasons since 2009 (minimum 100 targets)
Mike Evans constantly underrated
T.Y. Hilton's still got it pic.twitter.com/OUse5QJeni
— Michael Zingone (@FFzinger) February 14, 2019
Bruce Arians has had a consistent history of having a WR1 in an offense who produces. Below (from FFStatistics) is the production history of Arians’ top target in his offenses. While Mike Evans is no Larry Fitzgerald or Reggie Wayne (at least yet), he’ll have every opportunity to perform in 2019. 150 targets is a solid projection for the former first round pick, and I expect him to repeat his success in the coming years.
Chris Godwin (JAN ADP: 54.83, WR27)
Godwin is another versatile, young weapon for this Tamp Bay offense. Coming into his third season, Godwin is finally going to be given the opportunity dynasty owners have been hoping for since he entered the league. We’ve seen small samples of what Godwin is capable of over the past two seasons. Specifically, his splits with and without DeSean Jackson in the lineup are particularly appealing. With Jackson likely on the move in 2019, we’ll be able to see what Godwin can truly do as the unquestioned number two option.
Once again looking at Bruce Arians’ history coaching his WR2 in his offense, the results have been solid from a fantasy perspective. Of the players below, Godwin ultimately falls in the middle of the pack, in my opinion. He’s clearly no Antonio Brown, Hines Ward, or other stars on this list, but he’s also better than J.J. Nelson and Jaron Brown. Ultimately, expectations should be that Godwin finishes in the WR30 range for 2019. At WR27, he’s valued at that range.
Adam Humphries (FEB ADP: 160.67, WR70)
Humphries is an unrestricted free agent heading into 2019, but he’s worth a small section in this dynasty capsule. It’s unclear whether Humphries wants to stay in Tampa Bay, but as one of the better wide receivers in the 2019 free agent market, he could be due for a solid payday elsewhere.
Always a reliable target, Humphries has increased his receptions and yards every season in the league. Averaging about 11 yards per reception every season, Humphries has the looks of an ideal short-yardage slot receiver. Surprising stat of the day: Humphries ranks 29th in the league in targets since 2016. Wherever he goes, he’s a good bet for another 80 targets.
DeSean Jackson (FEB ADP: 224.50, WR98)
While still technically under contract, Jackson has made it clear he wants out of Tampa Bay and carries $0 dead cap if the team were to cut him. It would be a big surprise if Jackson is still with the team this summer. Entering his age-32 season, Jackson remains a solid deep threat if paired with the right quarterback. He’s far more valuable in best ball leagues than in regular dynasty leagues at this point in his career.
O.J. Howard (FEB ADP: 68.00, TE4)
Speaking of Expected Points Added per Target, Howard registered the highest EPA per Target of all pass catchers in 2018 (minimum 40 targets). Howard took a huge step forward this past season despite his season-ending injury. With a combination of elite athleticism, draft capital, and opportunity, Howard has all the makings of a top-tier tight end for years to come.
The top 10 pass-catchers in terms of EPA/Target in 2018 (min 40 targets). Some of the names may surprise you – OJ Howard and Mark Andrews remain screaming buys at tight end pic.twitter.com/0IHXKuFIkZ
— Michael Zingone (@FFzinger) February 17, 2019
While many this off-season have been discussing the new tier of three at the top of dynasty tight end rankings, I believe Howard isn’t as far behind from that group as the 39 spots in ADP would indicate. If Howard had stayed healthy, his season would have rivaled George Kittle’s as one of the best in recent memory. While everyone is paying an arm and a leg for Kittle, Howard represents a great pivot to spending that high startup draft capital.
Cameron Brate (FEB ADP: 239.17: TE34)
Brate is a really solid tight end in the league, he just happens to be behind a rising star in O.J. Howard. Having signed a lengthy contract extension recently, Brate is surprisingly under contract through the 2023 season. The past regime in Tampa Bay clearly loved him, but with $0 in dead cap should they cut Brate this off-season, it wouldn’t shock me if the two part ways. Brate could be the starting tight end on at least a third of current NFL rosters, including Seattle, Arizona, Buffalo, Detroit, and others. He’s a solid stash to see how this off-season pans out.