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Offseason Primers: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Head coach Greg Schiano's first season with the Buccaneers resulted in quite a few changes. The whole organization underwent a culture change with the hard-nosed, no-nonsense ex-Rutgers coach in charge.

The offense became more explosive and the defense shined against the run. But the losing records didn't change as the Bucs finished with a 7-9 record. While that seems like an improvement from their 4-12 record from a year prior, the team was in the playoff hunt after 10 games with a 6-4 record. They had a chance at a big jump and instead made a miniscule one.

2012 Touches Leaders
727 total touches (rush attempts + receptions)
Doug Martin 368 (319 car., 49 rec.) 50.6%
Vincent Jackson 72 rec. 9.9%
Mike Williams 63 rec. 8.6%
Dallas Clark 47 rec. 6.5%
LeGarrette Blount 42 (41 car., 1 rec.) 5.8%
All Others 135 18.6%

Two additions to the Buccaneers' roster helped make their offense quite formidable in 2012. The signing of receiver Vincent Jackson and the drafting of running back Doug Martin brought a ton of Fantasy relevance to the offense -- combined they accumulated 3,310 of the 5,820 total yards of offense the Bucs had, nearly 57 percent. Throw in receiver Mike Williams, who pretty much played like he was a brand new man, and that total jumps to nearly 74 percent. This trio proved to be formidable and functional against all opponents. There were only two times all year where all three of them failed to register even 10 Fantasy points: Week 3 at Dallas, Week 15 at New Orleans.

And it just so happens that those two weeks were Josh Freeman's worst of the year. The quarterback definitely took a step forward in terms of production, but a late season swoon hurt the Bucs' playoff chances. In his first 11 games, Freeman had seven interceptions; in his last five he had 10. He wasn't the sole reason why Tampa Bay didn't do better than seven wins (they lost the first three games in the skid by a total of 11 points) but he was a contributor.

The good news is that there aren't nearly as many changes happening in Tampa Bay as a year ago. All of the main principals of the offense and coaching staff remain the same and the defense has nowhere to go but up. Another infusion of young talent into the secondary along with potentially another pass rusher depending on free agency and the recovery from a torn ACL from defensive end Adrian Clayborn could push the Bucs defense into being quite good.

2012 Target Leaders
566 pass attempts
Vincent Jackson 147 26.0%
Mike Williams 127 22.4%
Dallas Clark 76 13.4%
Doug Martin 71 12.5%
Tiquan Underwood 56 9.9%
All Others 89 15.8%

In a division where points are not hard to come by, anything would help.

Mike Williams -- Draft Day value

A total of 20 players finished with over 1,000 receiving yards last year. Of those 20, nine of them also scored nine or more touchdowns. Williams was four yards shy from being the 10th. The combination of getting in shape and working as the No. 2 receiver in a more aggressive, more threatening offense worked wonders for Williams. Carrying over his 2012 results into 2013 will pay off not just for Fantasy owners and the Bucs, but for Williams as well since he'll be set for free agency after the season. Suddenly, motivation really isn't a big issue for Williams. He'll need a hand from his quarterback much like he had for most of last year but at a very nice price in Fantasy drafts in Round 7 or 8, Williams should be a target as a great No. 3 receiver or flex (and just maybe a good enough No. 2 receiver).

Josh Freeman -- Late-round flier

Expected 2013 Draft Averages
Josh Freeman Late-round pick
Doug Martin Top 10 pick
LeGarrette Blount Undrafted
Vincent Jackson 30-40 overall
Mike Williams 75-85 overall
Dallas Clark Undrafted
Connor Barth Late-round pick
Buccaneers DST Undrafted

Quarterbacks will be plentiful in drafts this summer so unless you're in a league that starts two quarterbacks you won't have Freeman on your radar. Not at first, anyway. But whether you feel like you need a second signal caller or just like investing late picks in possible sleepers, Freeman should crawl back into your life. He nearly finished last season as a Top 12 quarterback and that's with him melting down like a creamsicle on a hot summer day. Then, he was playing behind a tired and banged up offensive line and was way off the mark. But before that we saw Freeman post six straight games with at least two touchdowns and at least 20 Fantasy points per game, proving that he can make up some numbers thanks to the weapons around him. He'll need to do it if he's going to help the Bucs and himself as he attempts to pull a Joe Flacco and push his team to incredible heights in a contract year. You could do worse with a late-round pick.

Luke Stocker -- Unlikely sleeper

Since drafting Stocker the Buccaneers have gone through two veteran tight ends. Stocker was the backup to Kellen Winslow and Dallas Clark, picking up less than 20 catches in each of the two years with his first touchdown coming in 2012. Now it looks like Stocker's primary competition for playing time will be Tom Crabtree, who signed with the Bucs this offseason. But Crabtree isn't known for his receiving prowess whereas Stocker does have some ability to catch the ball. This is clearly a longshot, but if Stocker can somehow weave his way into regular playing time then he could develop into someone worth taking late in deeper drafts. After all, Clark managed to pick up more targets than Doug Martin in the pass game last year. This may not be the best recommendation, but any potential playmaker the Bucs add to the combo platter of Martin, Jackson and Williams could deliver.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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Player News
Cowboys place two on PUP, one on NFI
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:19 am ET) On Thursday the Cowboys placed guard Ronald Leary and defensive end Anthony Spencer on active/PUP and also put defensive lineman Amobi Okoye on active/NFI. 

Belichick impressed with Darrelle Revis
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:55 am ET) Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Thursday he has been impressed with new cornerback Darrelle Revis, reports ESPN.

"He has worked hard. Smart guy. I've been impressed with him," Revis said. "Very professional. Has a good understanding of the game. He's a smart player. He has a real good focus and instinct. He's a smart player scheme-wise, but he knows how to play. He's a very instinctive player. … On a personal level, I never really had a personal relationship with him. So I've enjoyed that part of it."

The Patriots signed Revis from the Bucs this offseason.


Terrance West to practice Friday
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:52 am ET) Even though Browns rookie running back Terrance West landed on the non-football injury list Wednesday because of his conditioning test, he's expected to be on the practice field Friday, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The report says West is "100 percent healthy'' and will be practicing without restrictions when camp officially opens to the public on Saturday morning.

West, the third-round pick from Towson, will battle Ben Tate for the starting running back in what promises to be a heated battle.

"The best competition might be Ben Tate and our guy from Terrance West from Towson, who I really like," coach Mike Pettine said.


Alfred Morris to see new scheme
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:48 am ET) The Redskins plan to change their philosophy with their run-blocking scheme under new coach Jay Gruden, reports the Washington Times, which could impact Alfred Morris.

The report says the Redskins will move away from the zone-blocking scheme run under former coach Mike Shanahan and incorporate more of a power game. Morris was familiar with a traditional running scheme in college at Florida Atlantic, per the report.

Now, there is a concern for Morris since he rushed for 2,888 yards over his first two seasons under Shanahan, which were more than any other player in the league during that time except Minnesota's Adrian Peterson. And Gruden likes his running backs to be able to catch the ball — something Morris did only 20 times during his first two seasons.

But Morris should still remain in a prominent role on offense and be a candidate for 270-plus carries like he had last season.


Maikon Bonani is favorite for kicker job
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:32 am ET) The Titans will have a battle for the starting kicker job in training camp between Maikon Bonani and undrafted rookie Travis Coons

Bonani, according to the Tennessean, is the favorite to win the job.


Chris Johnson 'flying' in return to action
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:27 am ET) Jets running back Chris Johnson (knee) was medically cleared recently by Dr. James Andrews to participate in training camp, reports ESPN. And he was back on the field Wednesday.

Coach Rex Ryan said Johnson was "flying" in the mandatory conditioning run. The Jets practice Thursday for the first time.

Johnson had surgery this offseason to repair a torn meniscus. As a precaution, the Jets kept him on the sideline in the spring. 

"I'm pretty good," he said of his knee. "I'm ready to do whatever they ask me to do."


Cordarrelle Patterson to stay involved in return game
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:24 am ET) Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said the team wants receiver Cordarrelle Patterson to touch the ball as often as possible, which includes continuing to return kicks, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"We want our best players to get their hands on the ball as much as possible. We're not going to keep him from returning kicks because he is such a dangerous weapon there," Zimmer said. "He's been a very hard worker, he has improved his route running since we've been here and things are going to change for these guys in training camp when we are able to start playing bump-and-run. For him to take the next step, we're going to have to see how he gets off a jam and the things that people will try to do to take him away."


Justin Blackmon arrested Wednesday
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:19 am ET) Suspended Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon was arrested for the possession of marijuana Wednesday night in Edmond, OK, reports KWTV, a CBS affiliate in Oklahoma.

According to the police report, Blackmon was stopped for a traffic violation. Officers said they could smell an odor of marijuana coming from inside the car.

After a search, police said they found marijuana and Blackmon was taken into custody. Blackmon was also issued a citation for the traffic violation. Edmond police did not say how much marijuana was discovered in the vehicle.

Blackmon is currently suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.


Giants see Adrien Robinson as a breakout player
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:15 am ET) The Newark Star-Ledger believes Giants general manager Jerry Reese insinuated that tight end Adrien Robinson would be a breakout candidate for the team this season. Reese didn't name Robinson specifically but did talk about him as part of the group of tight ends they're hoping to get some good production from this fall. 

"We still have some guys that have to prove some things. We have some young players with some dynamic skill sets that can get out there and do it," Reese said. "Adrien Robinson, Larry Donnell, and couple of young tight ends that we like. Those guys have to do out there and do it. I always refer to other people's roster. Julius Thomas only had one catch going into the season. Hopefully we could have a guy that can step out of the shadows and do that for us. They just have to get out there and do it."

Robinson has yet to catch a pass in his NFL career. He's played in just three games. 


Chad Greenway could start at middle linebacker
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:12 am ET) Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Chad Greenway is a realistic option to start at middle linebacker, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

" It's a possibility. We keep working him in there," Zimmer said. "We're just trying to find the best 11 players we can and then figure out where the rest of the guys are going to fit. It’s not out of the question, but time will tell a little bit more on that."

Zimmer was a strong-side linebacker last season for the Vikings.


 
 
 
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