Here’s The Game Day’s Tampa By Buccaneers 2021 NFL Preview: 2020 Recap And 2021 Outlook For Fantasy Football & Betting.
Buccaneers 2021 Team Preview
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2020 Recap
- Final record: 11-5: 5-3 Home / 6-2 Away
- Division regular-season finish: 4-2
- Result: Won Super Bowl LV over the Chiefs, 31-9
There have been quite a few occasions where teams have gone all in during an offseason and come up considerably short of a championship, but the Buccaneers were an exception in 2020. The team spared no expense in importing outstanding talent, with Tom Brady being the most noteworthy addition. While there were bumps along the way, the end result was the franchise’s second Super Bowl title, one that was secured on the winner’s home field for the first time in league history.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 Offseason Changes
Buccaneers 2021 Offseason Departures
- Andrew Adams, S (Eagles)
- Antony Auclair, TE (Texans)
- Joe Haeg, OT (Steelers)
- Ryan Smith, CB (Chargers)
Buccaneers 2021 Offseason Additions
- Giovani Bernard, RB (from Bengals)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 NFL Draft Picks
- Joe Tryon, LB, Washington (Round 1, Pick #32 Overall)
- Kyle Trask, QB, Florida (Round 2, Pick #64 Overall)
- Robert Hainsey, OL, Notre Dame (Round 3, Pick #95 Overall)
- Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas (Round 4, Pick #129 Overall)
- K.J. Britt, LB, Auburn (Round 5, Pick # 176 Overall)
- Chris Wilcox, CB, BYU (Round 7, Pick # 251 Overall)
- Grant Stuard, S/LB, Houston (Round 7, Pick #259 Overall)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 Outlook
In hindsight, Tom Brady and company overcame more daunting odds during the 2020 season than may have been evident at the time. Considering the significant number of additions on the offensive side of the ball, the unique and abbreviated nature of the offseason and the complete lack of a preseason, Tampa Bay may be the only team in NFL history to approach their title defense with visions of an easier journey than the one they took to the top of the mountain the year prior. Brady may be the biggest beneficiary of anyone, considering he now has a year of Bruce Arians’ playbook under his belt and will presumably have a chance to enjoy a normal ramp-up to the new campaign.
General manager Jason Licht and his team did an outstanding job of setting Arians and his players up for a chance to repeat by masterfully navigating the cap this offseason. As such, Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette, Rob Gronkowski, Shaq Barrett, Lavonte David, Ndamukong Suh, and Antonio Brown have all returned to the fold this offseason. Brady’s blindside protector, Donovan Smith, signed an extension as well.
The continuity is especially critical to Brady, who always enjoyed a certain amount of stability during his Hall of Fame tenure in New England and would have been challenged to operate with up to two new receivers in 2021 had Godwin and Brown not been brought back. Brady also reaps the benefit of an offensive line that will return fully intact in 2021, one that already allowed the third-fewest sacks (22), ranked in the top 10 in adjusted line yards per carry facilitated (4.6), and was No. 1 in power-run success rate (88 percent) per Football Outsiders.
While the offensive skill positions on the Bucs’ depth chart read like a Who’s Who of NFL royalty, the defense made plenty of noise in its own right last season and was an indispensable part of the Super Bowl win over the high-octane Chiefs. Tampa Bay’s relentless pressure rendered Patrick Mahomes and teammates shockingly inept in the biggest game of the year, but they were far from the only victims of Todd Bowles’ relentless unit.
The Buccaneers terrorized quarterbacks all season to the tune of 48 sacks, and they proved to be an absolute brick wall against the run while allowing 3.4 RB yards per carry and 3.7 adjusted line yards per carry per Football Outsiders, both the stingiest marks in the league. With the likes of Barrett and David back to join forces with Jason Pierre-Paul and Devin White — and the massive Vita Vea hoping to enjoy a full season of health — Tampa Bay could be even more of a force on that side of the ball.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 Fantasy Football Tips
As already alluded to, Brady should be exponentially more comfortable in Arians’ scheme this season, and he should have a normal training camp and even some preseason action to further ready himself for his second Bucs campaign. The future Hall of Famer unsurprisingly became much more proficient in the offense the more reps he got and ended the season on fire, averaging a 68.4 percent completion rate, 335.6 passing yards, and 3.0 passing touchdowns over his final five games. That led to averages of 28.8 fantasy points in standard formats, as well as 22.5, 23.5, and 25.5 on Yahoo, FanDuel, and DraftKings, respectively.
Brady went on to throw multiple touchdown passes in all four postseason games as well, and the increased rapport he displayed with his pass-catching corps as the season went on makes the fact the entire group returns intact all the more important. Factor in the presumptive return to health of the talented but oft-injured O.J. Howard, who went down in Week 4 with an Achilles injury, and Brady’s fantasy prospects are exceedingly bright heading into 2021.
Precisely because Brady will have access to so many talented pass-catchers, each of the individual components will likely have trouble maximizing their statistical ceiling, barring a long-term injury to another key piece. Last season, Godwin recorded 21 fewer receptions, 493 fewer yards and 37 fewer targets in just three fewer games than in ’19. Mike Evans saw an increase of just three receptions and a decrease of 151 yards and nine targets despite playing three more games than 2019. The one area where Evans did enjoy a notable bump was in touchdowns, as he set a new career high with 13.
There’s also every reason to believe Antonio Brown could enjoy an even bigger role in 2021, despite the fact he’s not yet practicing in the first few sessions of camp as he finishes his recovery from a May knee procedure. The mercurial veteran wasn’t able to play in the first eight games of the season due to a suspension after playing just one game in 2019. The rust seemed to progressively come off as the regular season neared its conclusion, with Brown recording 93- and 138-yard tallies over the last three games. He also posted a pair of touchdown grabs in the postseason, and like his quarterback, should be considerably more well-versed in the offense coming into training camp.
The tight end group of Gronkowski, Howard and Cameron Brate will likely cause the positional targets to be spread fairly thin. Gronk often put his ego on the backburner last season and produced a solid but relatively modest 45-623-7 line despite Howard missing the last 12 games. Brate impressively displayed quick rapport with Brady but could very well be a third wheel this coming season if Howard can stay healthy, although the Harvard product notably began training camp on the Active PUP list for undisclosed reasons.
Finally, the backfield appears to be a potential fantasy quagmire due to the possibility of three viable backs having to share the load. Ronald Jones II would have crossed the 1,000-yard threshold for the first time in his career had he not missed two games, posting 978 rushing yards and seven running scores along with a serviceable 28-165-1 line through the air. However, Fournette could be set to capitalize on the momentum afforded by a four-game postseason run that saw him average 75.0 rushing yards, 4.5 receptions and 37.0 receiving yards per game while scoring four total touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving). Second-year back Ke’Shawn Vaughn could well become a third body in the mix after a quiet rookie season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 NFL Futures Bet Tips
Buccaneers To Win NFC South (-155)
The retirement of Drew Brees and the resulting question mark at quarterback for the Saints combined with the Buccaneers’ overall team continuity makes Tampa Bay the clear favorite to secure the 2021 division crown. The Panthers and Falcons both have question marks that could prevent them from posing a serious enough challenge to Tampa Bay as well. No team in the division can match their combination of offensive and defensive prowess.
Division Finishing Order: 1st Buccaneers / 2nd Saints (+200)
Having just made the case for the Bucs as division winners, I believe the Saints can finish a relatively close second. Jameis Winston could be one of the surprises of the 2021 season at quarterback if he secures the starting job, and perhaps Sean Payton’s tutelage can help curtail his propensity for throwing interceptions. New Orleans also has a formidable defense and plenty of offensive weapons for whomever is under center, making them a solid choice as runner-up.
Buccaneers To Finish 2021-2022 NFL Season With Over 11.5 wins (-120)
The Buccaneers’ sheer talent level, personnel continuity, and the addition of a 17th game in 2021 gives me confidence that Tampa Bay can make this bet a winner. There will undoubtedly be challenges, but I believe the Bucs will be more focused on defending their home field this season after dropping three regular-season contests at Raymond James Stadium. Additionally, Brady’s extensive experience taking other teams’ best shot the year following a Super Bowl win will help lead Tampa Bay to a 12-5 mark at minimum.
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