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Jameis Winston’s Fantasy Football Outlook
Jameis Winston’s fantasy football outlook – and his NFL career – sits at a crossroads. Expectations surrounding the 25-year-old quarterback reached an all-time high with the offseason hiring of head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Winston’s contract expires after this season, so this is his final shot to prove to the world he deserves to start in the NFL. Is Arians the coach to help make that happen?
To answer that question we need to take a look at his tenure as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and the subsequent success of quarterback Carson Palmer.
Known for his pass-happy schemes, Arians helped elevate the play of 10-year veteran Palmer to rejuvenated status in his last stint at the helm.
- Three of Palmer’s six career seasons of 4,000-plus passing yards came during Arians’ tenure.
- In each of the seasons under Arians in which he played at least 15 games (2013, 2015, 2016) Palmer attempted 500-plus passes with a max of 597 in 2016, which was a career-high.
- In Arians’ first season as coach, Palmer set personal records for passing yards (4,274) and completion percentage (63.3-percent).
- Palmer went on to set a career-best mark of 4,671 yards in 2015 and also threw 35 TDs, the second-best mark of his career.
Buying into Arians and his ability to get the most out of his quarterbacks means buying into Winston for fantasy gamers. And as Arians would say, “No risk it, no biscuit.” So is Winston worth the risk? To date, Winston has been a good-but-not-great NFL quarterback. That must change now.
- Thrown 88 career TDs and 58 INTs.
- Threw the fifth-most picks in the league despite playing 11 games last season.
- Lacks touch on downfield passes, evidenced by his 16th-ranked deep ball completion percentage in 2018 (35.8-percent)
Winston also faces the challenge of playing behind a mediocre offensive line. While he’s shown the ability to throw accurate passes under pressure, he doesn’t always make good decisions in those situations, most notably when to just get rid of the ball.
- According to Football Outsiders, Tampa Bay ranked No. 15 in pass protection last season.
- Bucs QBs were sacked 41 times for an adjusted sack rate of 6.6-percent.
There is a glimmer of hope that Arians can mold Winston into the QB the Bucs want him to be. He’s going to throw for 5,000-plus yards and upward of 40 TD passes. Despite his shortcomings, Winston thrives in certain areas.
- Ranked No. 2 in air yards per attempt and No. 8 in pressured completion percentage last season.
- Finished in the fantasy QB1 range five times in 11 games.
- Blaine Gabbert is the backup and Winston will play every snap as long as he’s healthy.
There are other factors working in Winston’s favor, too.
- Tampa Bay ranked No. 27 in total defense last season and will be playing from behind quite often.
- The Bucs led the league in passing yards (5,125) and ranked No. 4 in pass attempts in 2018 (625), and have a great chance to eclipse that mark this season.
Opening Salvos: Week 1
- Ezekiel Elliott’s six-year contract extension includes $50 million in guaranteed money, the most for an NFL running back.
- Per NFL Network’s Jane Slater, the expectations for Elliott will be around 20-25 reps Sunday against the Giants.
- Elliott should be started in all formats.
- Malcolm Brown’s ownership percentage on the major platforms is less than 10-percent. He’s the handcuff to Todd Gurley, not Darrell Henderson.
- The Dolphins named Ryan Fitzpatrick their Week 1 starter.
- Fitzpatrick ranked No. 1 in deep ball completion percentage (51.5-percent) in 2018 according to PlayerProfiler.com.
- Miami WR Albert Wilson looks healthy and figures to garner a large chunk of the Dolphins’ target share.
- In the seven games before his injury last season, Wilson ranked No. 3 in yards per target (11.2), No. 1 in fantasy points per pass route (0.78) and No. 2 in fantasy points per target (2.77).
- He’s a diminutive burner who runs a 4.43 40-yard dash (87th-percentile) and can efficiently stretch the field.
Matchups and More
- San Franciso, the Bucs Week 1 opponent, ranked in the top-10 for most fantasy points allowed to the QB and WR positions in 2018.
- Washington’s offensive line ranked No. 24 in pass protection in 2018 (per Football Outsiders).
- The Eagles, who face the Redskins, ranked in the top-10 in sacks last season (44).
- Josh Allen’s $6,900 price tag on FanDuel makes him an attractive option in a matchup against the Jets, who ranked No. 25 in total defense last season.
- From Weeks 12-17 last season, Allen finished first among QBs by averaging 21.9 fantasy points per game.
- Allen’s 0.47 fantasy points per dropback ranked No. 10.
- His 63.9 longest completed air distance (LCAD) led the league per Next Gen Stats.
- Gamers who fade Jacoby Brissett based on his 2017 performance when Andrew Luck was sidelined will be sorry.
- The third-round pick from NC State has another season of learning the Colts’ offensive system under his belt and plays behind an offensive line that ranked No. 2 in pass protection in 2018, per Football Outsiders.
- An indication of his potential, a multitude of gamers competing in SFB9 spent their entire FAAB on Brissett.
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