QB Jameis Winston | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | 4th Year
2017 Stats: 3,504 passing yds, 19 TD, 11 INT, 135 rush yds, 1 TD
Despite a disappointing season for his team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston set career-highs in yards per game (269.5), yards per attempt (7.9) and completion percentage (63.8 percent) last year. He also missed three games and was hampered in a few others by a shoulder injury, which brought a career-low 19 touchdown passes.
Now, Winston is facing a three-game suspension from the NFL stemming from an incident with an Uber driver in 2016. The league’s way of levying justice opens the door to scrutiny, but if Winston did what’s alleged he deserves some kind of punishment. Leaving that aside, let’s assume he’ll miss three games.
Going down the fantasy football path, how will that affect Winston’s outlook for 2018?
In Week 1-Week 3, the Buccaneers will face the New Orleans Saints, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. A look at the schedule says that’s their toughest three-game stretch of the season, so Winston was going to be at best a fringe QB1 for his fantasy owners those weeks anyway.
In the 11 games he started and finished last season, Winston threw for at least 270 yards nine times with six 300-yard games and at least 299 yards seven times. He had multiple passing touchdowns or a least 18.5 fantasy points (ESPN scoring) in six of those 11 games, with an overlap of those marks four times.
Over the final five games last year, after returning from a three-game absence, Winston averaged 317 yards per game while completing over 67 percent of his passes (8.7 yards per attempt. He had at least 270 passing yards and/or multiple touchdowns in all five contests, and his five interceptions came in two games. Winston was top-10 fantasy quarterback three times (Week 13, Week 15 and Week 17) in that span, and a top-20 fantasy signal caller in all five weeks.
Winston was going to be drafted as a QB2 in 12-team leagues, and his suspension won’t change that as long as it’s three games (with the idea it could be more). Any serious breakout potential is gone, with one game played before Tampa Bay’s Week 5 bye, but any doomsday scenario for Winston’s fantasy value this year is greatly overstated.