The 2020 NFL Season is nearly upon us, and in anticipation of the new season we’ll be previewing the action team-by-team, using the draft order from last season. The previews will kick off with the Bengals and run right through the reigning champion Chiefs. Come back each day to check out your favorite team. All ADP and Rankings reflect PPR scoring. 2020 Projections are based on a 12-team league (i.e. WR1 (Top 12), WR2 (13-24), WR3 (25-36)).
The Buccaneers and new Head Coach Bruce Arians hoped to make a splash in 2019 and at times they did. Quarterback Jameis Winston threw for more than 30 touchdowns and the passing offense was a site to behold. He also threw 30 interceptions and the team struggled with turnovers and inefficiency that led to a 7-9 season. The Buccaneers finished in third place in the division and out of the playoffs despite a talented roster and two of the game’s best receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
This off-season the Buccaneers decided to go a different route. They moved on from Winston, the former No. 1 overall pick, and brought in the greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady. Brady also coaxed former tight end Rob Gronkowski out of retirement, giving the Buccaneers even more talent on offense as they look to make a Super Bowl run.
Clearly the biggest move was at quarterback. Winston had some stellar numbers in terms of yardage and touchdowns but struggled with turnovers. He’s now backing up Drew Brees in New Orleans. Brady comes in with 219 wins, 74,571 yards and 541 TD passes. He’s a legend with six Super Bowl titles, but he’s also 43. It’s a big swing for the Buccaneers. Gronkowski is still just 31 despite being retired for all of 2019. He had 521 receptions for 7,861 yards and 79 TDs and give the Buccaneers a big weapon, and one that’s familiar to Brady.
The Buccaneers let veteran receiver Breshad Perriman leave for the Jets and saw Peyton Barber leave for Washington. But the team re-loaded a few pieces in the draft, snagging Minnesota receiver Tyler Johnson in the Fifth Round and grabbing Vanderbilt running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the Third Round. Vaughn rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his last two seasons, including 1,098 yards and nine TDs while catching 28 passes for 270 yards and a TD. He figures to be strong competition for Ronald Jones in the Buccaneers’ backfield.
The Buccaneers have an incredibly talented team and Brady is a decorated veteran. He had some struggles last season, but the Patriots lacked quality skill position players and struggled on the offensive line. I think he still has something left and I like him as a QB1 in 2020. In the backfield, it’s about Rojo and the rookie Vaughn. Dare Ogunbowale is still in the mix, but I think he’s a distant third at this point. Rojo was a high pick and he’s better than some realize, as he ran for 724 yards and six TDs, catching 31 passes for 309 yards in nine starts. I think he’ll lead the backfield and be an RB3, while Vaughn will have some flashes but end up in RB4/5 territory.
Among the pass catchers, it’s tough to do better than Godwin and Evans. Both went over 1,000 yards in 2019, with Godwin finishing as WR2 and Evans finishing as WR15. I think Godwin will take a small step back from the lofty finish of 2020 but should still be a top tier WR1. I like Evans as a top tier WR2 that has WR1 upside. I’m not buying into any other receivers in 2020, including Scotty Miller and Johnson. At tight end, the Buccaneers still have O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate along with Gronkowski. I like Gronkowski the best, and I think he’ll be a TE2. I’m not ready to give up on Howard and his talent, but I think he’s more of a TE3 at best.
The Buccaneers are a talented squad with a great coach. They struggled with consistency in 2019, but all the pieces are there to address that in 2020. There’s a great weight of expectation on this team, and while that could crush some squads, I think the Buccaneers will thrive. I still like the Saints to win the NFC South, but I think the Buccaneers and Brady will make the playoffs.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.