Fantasy football

Fantasy football 2020: Projections for Tom Brady, other Bucs players

Fantasy football 2020: Projections for Tom Brady, other Bucs players

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski leaving the New England Patriots to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't just send a shockwave through the NFL. It also altered the fantasy football landscape.

The fantasy values of both the Patriots and Bucs' skill players will be much different in 2020 following Brady and Gronk's departure from Foxboro. We've gone over what to expect from the go-to guys in New England's offense, so now it's time to go over Tampa's weapons.

The obvious benefactors -- at least one would think -- of Brady becoming a Buc are his primary wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. But will their numbers, along with Brady's, see a significant increase as expected, or should we pump the brakes on the hype?

And then there are the running back and tight end positions. Can Tampa's intriguing rookie running back take over the starting job? What can we really expect out of Gronk after a year off from football?

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Here are our projections for the Bucs' key offensive players with Brady and Gronk in the fold:

Tom Brady, QB
Projected Stats
: 4,300 yards, 29 TD, 9 INT
Projected Draft Round: 5-7

Brady is set up to be a really solid starting quarterback in fantasy football this year. That being said, those who expect Brady to put up elite numbers and draft him any higher than Round 5 are just asking to be disappointed. There are going to be some growing pains in Bruce Arians' offense. Sure, having his old pal Gronk around as a security blanket will help, but it's going to take time for the six-time Super Bowl champ to get comfortable down in Florida. There's little doubt Brady's numbers will be better in nearly every category now that he has some real weapons at his disposal, just make sure you don't reach when plenty of other QBs will do just fine in the middle rounds.

Ronald Jones II, RB
Projected Stats
: 650 yards, 4 TD
Projected Draft Round: 7-9

Jones was an OK flex play at points last season, but overall he simply hasn't been the running back Tampa Bay has hoped for these last few seasons. That led to the Bucs selecting Vanderbilt product Ke'Shawn Vaughn on Day 2 of this year's NFL Draft. Jones is the No. 1 guy heading into camp, though it doesn't look like that will be the case throughout the 2020 campaign. Wait until the mid-to-late rounds to take Jones, and maybe even consider passing entirely to take Vaughn if you're so inclined to take a Bucs RB.

Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB
Projected Stats
: 550 yards, 3 TD
Projected Draft Round: 8-10

Speaking of Vaughn, he could be a major difference-maker for the Bucs in Brady's offense this season. He rushed for 1,028 yards and nine touchdowns for Vandy last season and was pretty effective through the air too, tallying 270 yards and a TD. It's always tough to count on a rookie, but it's worth the risk and the ceiling definitely seems to be higher with Vaughn than it is for Jones. The addition of McCoy, however, makes Vaughn's fantasy outlook a bit murky.

LeSean McCoy, RB
Projected Stats
: 400 yards, 3 TD
Projected Draft Round: 8-10

It's impossible to now as of right now how the Bucs backfield is going to shape up in 2020. Although McCoy is a shell of what he once was, Bruce Arians definitely should find some sort of role for the 32-year-old veteran. The obvious question is whether that role will be more significant than Jones' or Vaughn's. If you're really that compelled to draft a Bucs running back, something I'd avoid entirely, it's a total toss-up and a matter of personal preference.

Mike Evans, WR
Projected Stats
: 75 receptions, 1,250 yards, 7 TD
Projected Draft Round: 2-3

There's no question the Brady-to-Evans connection is going to excite people heading into the new season. However, I'm somewhat skeptical about how their playing styles will mesh. Brady isn't one to take many risks, and Evans made a living out of catching Jameis Winston's ridiculous jump-balls downfield. It really is impossible to know how that'll work itself out, but nonetheless we're believers in Evans' elite talent and project him as a solid WR1 again in 2020.

Chris Godwin, WR
Projected Stats
: 90 receptions, 1,350 yards, 10 TD
Projected Draft Round: 2-3

Godwin was the breakout star of the 2019 fantasy football season as he put up absolutely ridiculous numbers with Jameis Winston under center. Now, the question is whether he can do it again with Brady. That may seem like a silly question, but again we have no clue what to expect from Brady in Arians' offense and how it will differ from what Godwin thrived in a year ago. Regardless, he definitely should be one of the first WRs off the board.

Rob Gronkowski, TE
Projected Stats
: 50 receptions, 700 yards, 5 TD
Projected Draft Round: 6-8

How do you make stat projections for a guy who took a year off from football to party in Miami and join the WWE? With injury concerns to boot, that makes drafting Gronk in fantasy football an extremely risky move. Obviously, with that high risk could come high reward as Tampa's offense has the potential to be one of the best in the entire NFL and Brady is going to look to Gronk early and often as a security blanket. Draft the former Pats tight end in the middle rounds, long after guys like Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Zach Ertz are off the board.

O.J. Howard, TE
Projected Stats: 25 receptions, 450 yards, 3 TD
Projected Draft Round: 8-10

The Bucs are going to run two-tight end sets in 2020, so don't think that Gronk's presence will limit Howard's production. In fact, it could even help it. Howard was a huge fantasy disappointment in 2019 and is out to prove he isn't a bust this year. There's also still a chance he gets traded to a TE-needy team and benefits from a change of scenery. Either way, you could do worse than Howard in the later rounds of your draft.

Fantasy football rankings 2020: Top 10 defenses in your draft

Fantasy football rankings 2020: Top 10 defenses in your draft

Defense wins championships.

That's the case in real football, and it also can be the case in fantasy football if you carefully select your D/ST unit during your fantasy draft. Sure, you could play the waivers game all season long and try to ride whatever defense is hot for those few weeks, but wouldn't you rather a D/ST you can rely on all year and not have to think twice about it?

Of course you would. That's why we're here to help by listing the defenses you should have your eyes on in your 2020 fantasy football draft. Here's a look at the top 10.

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1. Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye: Week 8)

Minkah Fitzpatrick completely revitalized the Steelers defense when he arrived in Pittsburgh last season. The Steelers D/ST unit finished with the second-most fantasy points at the position last year and with Fitzpatrick in the fold for a full year, it should have a solid chance at claiming the top spot in 2020.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Week 11)

The 49ers lost DeForest Buckner on the defensive line, but that loss shouldn't hurt too much as they gained Javon Kinlaw with the No. 14 overall pick in this year's draft. Throw in Nick Bosa, who had nine sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble his rookie year, and San Francisco again should be a top D/ST unit in 2020 after finishing with the third-most points last year.

3. Baltimore Ravens (Week 8)

The fourth-best D/ST unit last year should thrive again this time around, especially with rookie linebacker Patrick Queen added to the mix. Most of Baltimore's starters will return in 2020, which makes the Ravens a reliable option in fantasy once again.

4.  Buffalo Bills (Week 11)

Buffalo's D/ST unit is bound to improve in 2020 after a mediocre 12th-place finish in fantasy points last season. Adding Mario Addison via free agency and drafting Iowa's A.J. Epenesa should give the Bills a boost, and the secondary once again looks promising with veteran Josh Norman joining Tre'Davious White. Don't forget about Ed Oliver, who looked great in his rookie year.

5. New England Patriots (Week 6)

The Patriots had the best D/ST in fantasy last year and it wasn't all that close. This time around, they'll have to get the job done without key contributors like Dont'a Hightower, Patrick Chung, Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins. The offense is bound to take a giant step back without Tom Brady as well, which means production as a whole may dip. Expect the Patriots to be one of the better defenses in fantasy football again, but definitely be wary of regression.

6. New Orleans Saints (Week 6)

New Orleans' defense often gets slept on, but it really shouldn't. The Saints D/ST finished with the ninth-most fantasy points at the position last year thanks to guys like Marshon Lattimore, Cameron Jordan and Demario Davis. Former Eagles star Malcolm Jenkins will be in the fold this season now too. Expect this to be a top fantasy D/ST once again.

7. Los Angeles Rams (Week 9)

The Rams D/ST is a solid pick for your fantasy team, as you'll have two of the best defensive players in the game in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey helping you out each week. L.A. finished with the fifth-most defensive fantasy points last year and is positioned for success again in 2020.

8. Chicago Bears (Week 11)

Simply put, Chicago's defense was a major disappointment last season. It finished 20th among fantasy defenses in points and just wasn't the dominant Bears D/ST we've been accustomed to seeing. I don't expect a repeat of that this year. There are too many talented players -- Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, and now Robert Quinn to name a few -- for this unit to be a letdown again in 2020.

9. Kansas City Chiefs (Week 10)

When you think of the Chiefs, you probably think of Patrick Mahomes and that high-powered offense, not what they do on defense. But don't overlook Kansas City's D, either. The Chiefs D/ST finished eighth in fantasy scoring at the position last year and should be even better this season. This is a solid under-the-radar pick in fantasy drafts this year if you can't get one of the top defenses on the board.

10. Los Angeles Chargers (Week 10)

Well, we originally had the Jets on here as the No. 10 defense, then they traded Jamal Adams and CJ Mosley opted out of the season. So the Chargers slot in as the new No. 10 D/ST with several intriguing contributors on the defensive side of the ball heading into 2020. They drafted Oklahoma standout linebacker Kenneth Murray in the first round and added veteran cornerback Chris Harris Jr. to an already-solid secondary. Having safety Derwin James and defensive end Joey Bosa in the mix doesn't hurt either. L.A. might not be the one of the first few D/ST options off your fantasy board, but that just means more chances for you to steal them in one of the last couple of rounds.

Fantasy football draft kit 2020: Rankings, cheat sheets to help win your league

Fantasy football draft kit 2020: Rankings, cheat sheets to help win your league

What makes fantasy football so great? It's actually fun to do your homework.

If you're reading this, you're looking to get a jump-start on preparing for your 2020 fantasy draft ahead of the NFL season. That means poring over the latest player rankings at each position, identifying potential sleepers and busts and developing the perfect draft strategy to lift you to fantasy glory.

Good news: You've come to the right place. Our 2020 fantasy football draft kit comes complete with all of the draft essentials -- the top 100 overall players, player rankings by position, etc. -- as well as other valuable insights about which players to target and avoid.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

So, what are you waiting for? Below is all of our 2020 draft content; dig in!

PLAYER RANKINGS BY POSITION

SLEEPERS, BUSTS AND PLAYER ANALYSIS

PRINTABLE CHEAT SHEETS

 

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