Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans suspended again for fighting

The NFL came down hard on Evans after his Week 2 ejection.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans will be suspended one game, pending appeal, for his role in a Week 2 brawl vs. the New Orleans Saints, specifically for shoving cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

The two have a storied rivalry that resulted in a one-game suspension for a previous incident in 2017, so it should come as no surprise the star receiver once again was told to take a seat.

The Bucs listed virtually the entire roster on the injury report in Week 2, though all but WRs Julio Jones (knee) and Chris Godwin (hamstring) were able to play. While Jones appears to be closer to being in the lineup than Godwin for Week 3, we’ll have to wait until the end of the week for an official status.

Fantasy football takeaway

Tampa hosts the Green Bay Packers in Week 3, and the loss of Evans will be felt. The Packers are better vs. the pass than running game, despite what we saw in Week 1 vs. Justin Jefferson, so expect a healthy dose of Leonard Fournette.

Devalue quarterback Tom Brady to the level of bench status in nearly all formats. Peripheral options, like Breshad Perriman and Scotty Miller, garner a boost in playing time, whereas Russell Gage is likely to be the de facto WR1 of this group. TEs Cade Otton and Cameron Brate figure to be in line for more looks, too.

Perriman and Miller are flex plays for those looking to save a buck in DFS action. Gage is a fringe WR3 or flex in deep PPR settings otherwise. The rookie TE is unplayable, but Brate has a sniff of appeal in deep settings. Even still, it’s a low-upside play with a poor matchup ahead.

In redraft formats, if one must pick up a wideout from this roster, Perriman is the best bet for a touchdown. However, it’s a risky play, and looking outside of Tampa is wise. Given it is so early in the season and bye weeks aren’t here yet, we can lean on our benches for help. Check out our waiver wire release for more tips.

Ride it out with Evans on the bench, and about all we as gamers can do is hope that cooler heads prevail when these pugilists meet again in Week 13.

Fantasy football reaction: Julio Jones is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer

Does the Hall of Fame-bound wideout have anything left in the tank?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rolled the dice on free-agent wide receiver Julio Jones by signing the veteran to a one-year deal, and fantasy football owners must ask themselves if he has anything left in the tank entering his age-33 season.

The Bucs inking the veteran may suggest Chris Godwin (knee) isn’t quite yet right from his ACL tear, but the more likely hope is Jones can give this offense a downfield threat it was sorely lacking.

Jones’ days of being a WR1 for any team are obviously behind him, and it’s unlikely he even could be a No. 2 after the injury-decimated season he endured in Tennessee last year.

The move also makes a dent in the expected returns from fellow former Atlanta Falcon Russell Gage. He came over in the offseason at the beckoning of none other than Tom Brady himself, though Gage’s natural traits as a possession receiver indicate Jones is not much of a threat to his role.

Mike Evans, of course, is the alpha of this receiving corps, and he’s going to get his no matter who lines up alongside this scoring machine. Having Evans to draw doubles and an eventually healthy Godwin to help attract underneath coverage frees up Jones for isolated defensive scrutiny.

Fantasy football takeaway

Whether he can remain healthy long enough to capitalize on it is anyone’s guess, but we’ve seen enough history to lean toward fading him on draft day. If spry and still able to get deep after a spat of lower-body injuries, Jones may provide more help to guys like Gage, Godwin and tight end Cameron Brate than Jones’ fantasy owners. Clearing defenders is quite possibly the best attribute he has left.

A reasonable expectation sees a low-volume role with an outsized ratio of touchdowns to catches — and we’re still talking single-digit scores coming from a star receiver who effectively has been allergic to the end zone in his illustrious career. That alone makes Jones a headache to roster, let alone play, as knowing when to deploy him will be maddening. Jones’ best utility may be best-ball and daily fantasy action, provided he even makes the final roster.

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Fantasy football injury outlook: WR Chris Godwin, Buccaneers

Where does Godwin’s rehab stand, and is he worth the risk in fantasy?

In Week 15 of the 2021 season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin, the most targeted player in Tampa Bay’s pass-happy offense, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. As is often the case, the timetable for returning to full speed from such an injury is nine to 12 months, especially for wide receivers putting a lot of pressure on healthy ligaments when making separation-creating cuts.

In trying to determine the prognosis for any injured player recovering in the offseason, there are two primary factors that are taken into consideration – what is the team saying about the extent of the injury, and did the organization come up with a backup plan.

In the case of the Buccaneers, it was both.

The team sent out a positive sign this spring when, despite the injury, the Buccaneers signed Godwin to a three-year contract extension worth $60 million with $40 million in guarantees. In the salary cap era, teams don’t make that kind of financial commitment without having a high level of confidence that the injured player will return to pre-injury form.

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However, Tampa Bay also signed Russell Gage, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons, to a three-year contract in free agency. Ideally, Gage would be the No. 3 receiver in the offense, but the deal is worth $30 million – a heavy tax to pay for a No. 3 receiver. It would appear that the Bucs wanted to make sure that Tom Brady has the weapons he needs as he returns for another run at a Super Bowl, and TB12 himself recruited Gage, so it’s hard to say if there’s more to it than that….

The arrival of Gage gives Tampa Bay options when it comes to how it approaches the timetable for Godwin’s return. Earlier this month, Bucs officials said that Godwin is progressing well with his timetable to return, which would be little to no contact in training camp and the preseason and determining in Week 1 if he is healed enough to be a full-time player. Gage gives the team insurance either way.

Fantasy football outlook

He hasn’t been seen on the field in real-world football situations, leaving some to speculate as to whether Godwin will be able to be on the field Week 1. Fantasy auctions and drafts will come and go before anyone has a true handle on the level of readiness Godwin has, which could play into the hands of owners who are willing to take some risks.

With the uncertainty, Godwin could be devalued on draft day. At best, he will be a low-end WR2 in a conventional league. That said, all accounts coming out of Tampa Bay say his rehab is going as hoped and his target date for a full return is Week 1. In this case, don’t let his injury prevent you from making a move on him because, as a low-end WR2, he’s a value pick if he’s good to go. Just prepare for a sluggish start to his sixth pro season, and draft accordingly because of his long-term track record of durability issues.

Fantasy football reaction: Rob Gronkowski retires again

Gronk has retired once more, so where can fantasy owners turn for production?

For the second time in three offseasons, star tight end Rob Gronkowski has opted for stress-free pool parties rather than grueling two-a-days under the summer sun.

While during Gronk’s time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had not resembled the height of his fantasy football production, the departure of Tom Brady‘s BFF opens the door for someone to step up. This is especially true over the first couple of months of the season as standout receiver Chris Godwin recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered late in the 2021 season.

Where will the vacated targets be directed, and is there any fantasy value to be found?

Fantasy football PPR live draft review

A second PPR draft in mid-May showed a few different patterns emerge.

Much like with our May edition of the Mock Draft Series, out of respect for the hosts of this draft, no reference will be made to its identity so the content remains fresh on their end, nor will the entire draft results be published here.

The blurbs about my team below were provided to the draft host and will appear in a magazine as part of a larger evaluation of the draft. Before getting into my individual picks (we didn’t write up our final four), here are a few observations from an 18-round, 12-team, PPR draft.

  • This group was hyper-aggressive with selecting wide receivers early in the first round, especially atop the draft. Four of the first seven selections were wideouts, including Cooper Kupp going No. 3 overall. Detroit running back D’Andre Swift going 12th was the only thing close to a surprise in the opening round. Three tight ends and six receivers went in the second round. The rest were running backs.
  • The first QB came off the board was Josh Allen was taken with the fifth selection of Round 3, which is the earliest any quarterback has gone in the first three drafts of this series. Justin Herbert went with the final pick in Round 6, followed two spots later by Patrick Mahomes. Only Lamar Jackson (Pick 8:09) would go over the next 24 choices.
  • In the first 100 picks, 5 QBs, 42 RBs, 44 WRs and 9 TEs were taken. During the PPR draft a week prior, we watched 6 QBs, 39 RBs, 45 WRs and 10 tight ends.

Here’s a snapshot of the first 10 rounds broken down by number of positional picks:

1st: 8 RBs, 4 WRs
2nd: 3 RBs, 6 WRs, 3 TEs
3rd: 1 QB, 5 RBs, 4 WRs, 2 TEs
4th: 6 RBs, 6 WRs
5th: 3 RBs, 8 WRs, 1 TE
6th: 1 QB, 4 RBs, 6 WRs, 1 TE
7th: 1 QB, 5 RBs, 6 WRs
8th: 1 QB, 6 RBs, 4 WRs, 1 TE
9th: 5 QBs, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 3 TEs
10th: 1 QB, 4 RBs, 6 WRs, 1 TE

My team

We were asked to write 35 words per pick to give a little insight as to our draft thoughts:

1:02) RB Austin Ekeler, Las Angeles Chargers: It came down to Derrick Henry being dominant one more time, Cooper Kupp as the safest pick here, or Ekeler remaining healthy. I was most concerned about not having a strong enough RB1 if I chose the wideout.

2:11) WR Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Knowing the drafter at the turn had an elite RB and presuming WR-WR was in play, I went with Evans before another back. It played out as expected. Evans and Keenan Allen were the best remaining WR1s.

3:02) RB Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns: I hoped Chubb would survive the turn, and my Round 2 decision paid off. Injuries and time-sharing concerns are real, but Chubb is a TD machine and gives me a legit RB1 as my second back.

4:11) WR Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders: The debate was McLaurin and Courtland Sutton, who went with the very next pick. McLaurin has proven to be mostly QB-proof and makes for a quality WR2, even with Carson Wentz under center.

5:02) RB Damien Harris, New England Patriots: Three drafts, three Harris selections … it’s not that I’m necessarily a huge fan, but he’s a tremendous RB3. Thanks to Harris’ scoring prowess, none of the remaining backs were definitively better options at this stage.

6:11) WR DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals: A strong draft start afforded this gamble. Hopkins will miss six games, sure, but he’s a borderline WR1 lock in PPR upon his return. It’s not too often you can plug that kind of talent into your WR3 slot.

7:02) QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs: Securing my third-ranked passer in Round 7 ahead of the long end of my wait, Mahomes was tough to let pass. While the WR talent regressed, he makes players around him better and will be fine.

8:11) WR Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers: Lazard may emerge as the top fantasy receiver in Green Bay after the Davante Adams trade. It’s worth a late-round wager to find out. At a minimum, he’s adequate depth for me while Hopkins is out.

9:02) TE Austin Hooper, Tennessee Titans: I’m much higher on Hooper’s rebound than most, and since I tend to wait on TEs, this one was a no-brainer. Tennessee’s WR situation is shaky, at best, and Hooper is an ideal fit for the system.

10:11) WR Kenny Golladay, New York Giants: Can the talented Golladay stay on the field? His quarterback situation could hold him back, but I’m willing to bank on Brian Daboll getting the most out of Daniel Jones. The rest is up to Golladay.

11:02) RB Marlon Mack, Houston Texans: I should’ve taken Tyler Allgeier over Golladay. The rookie went at the turn, forcing a pivot to Mack. A whole lotta “meh,” but he has a chance, which is all one can ask for this late.

12:11) TE Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears: Kmet is one of my favorites for a breakout season, and the third-year tight end covers my backside if the Hooper gamble doesn’t pan out. There’s legit TE1 potential in Chicago’s new offense.

13:02) RB Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions: Since the Mack pick could go either way, a safe, reliable veteran was the target, and Williams fits the bill. Plus, D’Andre Swift has proven to be less than a model of health thus far.

14:11) WR Jamison Crowder, Buffalo Bills: In three years with Buffalo, Cole Beasley was a PPR powerhouse out of the slot, and Crowder should have little trouble assuming the role in this pass-heavy system. He provides excellent value-to-upside ratio.

Rounding out the draft: Arizona Cardinals RB Keaontay Ingram (Round 15), PK Daniel Carlson (Round 16), QB Jameis Winston (Round 17) and Miami Dolphins defense/special teams (Round 18).

Fantasy football team previews: NFC South

Key coaching changes and QB news have dominated the NFC South’s offseason.

The 2022 fantasy football draft season is starting to heat up now that we’ve gone through the height of free agency and all of the chosen rookies have been assigned to their professional home cities.

The landscape has changed a great deal for many franchises after a whirlwind offseason, and our divisional preview series will help you stay on top of all of the changes to date.

AFC divisional previews

East | North | South | West

NFC divisional previews

East | North | South | West

Mike Evans just barely made it to 1,000 yards in 2017

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans has a chance to make history in Week 12.

Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans has a shot at making history against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. With just seven more receiving yards, Evans will join Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss as the only other play in NFL history to start his career with six-straight 1,000-yard seasons.

It’s an accomplishment that certainly deserves recognition, especially when you consider that Evans’ streak nearly came to an end in 2017 when he played in just 15 games and totaled 1,001 yards on the season. What’s impressive is that Evans had just one game that year where he had over 100 yards — Week 16 against the Carolina Panthers (107).

Here’s a breakdown of how many 100-plus yard games Evans has had each season, along with his total yards for that year.

2014: 3 (1,051)

2015: 5 (1,206)

2016: 4 (1,321)

2017: 1 (1001)

2018: 8 (1,524)

Evans clawed his way to that 1,000-yard season in 2017, proof of just how great he is. He’s had three 100-plus yard games so far this season to go along with seven touchdowns.

The last time Evans faced the Falcons back in Week 17 of the 2018 season, he finished the game with six receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Atlanta got the last laugh, however, downing the Bucs 34-32.

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