Shark Bites

As expected, RB Doug Martin reported for the start of Tampa Bay’s offseason workout program on Monday. 2016 was a lost year for the veteran, as hamstring trouble and a PED suspension limited him to 8 games. Note that Martin will serve the final 3 games of his suspension during the 2017 regular season. We’ll see if the Buccaneers select a RB come draft day.

Here's what Buccaneers HC Dirk Koetter had to say about RB Doug Martin Wednesday, according to ESPN's Jenna Laine: "Who knows what's going to happen? Are we going to add a running back in the draft? Is Doug going to continue down the path of good health? And we have other guys we like at the position, too. I don't know what's going to happen, as I sit here today. But right now, we have time on our side." Koetter has no reason to convey anything other than uncertainty to the public. We'll see whether the Bucs make a significant backfield addition through the draft. If they don't and Martin stays on the path back, though, he looks like the best RB bet in a decent situation and at a terrific price in early MFL10 drafting.

The Bucs have signed K Nick Folk. He'll compete for the starting job with K Roberto Aguayo, who's coming off a disappointing rookie campaign that saw him convert just 71% of his FGs. Folk has bested that mark in 7 straight seasons.

The Bucs have reached an agreement with WR DeSean Jackson that will become official later today, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. This is a perfect fit on paper. Tampa was desperate for a #2 WR after using Adam Humphries in that role for much of last season. D-Jax is a huge upgrade and will provide a field-stretching presence opposite Mike Evans. Evans is unlikely to see the 173 targets or 30.3% target share he did last season. But he'll remain the clear top dog and should be more efficient with Jackson drawing away some defensive attention. Jackson, meanwhile, has proven capable of producing without big volume. Five different times he's finished as a top 30 non-PPR WR on fewer than 120 targets. QB Jameis Winston is also a big winner here.

Bucs K Robert Aguayo's roster spot isn't a lock heading into 2017. “We will do everything we can to bring in the best competition at that position,” GM Jason Licht said. “I think Dirk [Koetter] even said he’s not locked into this roster. He needs to have a great camp just like all of our players, but we will continue to find the best competition that we can and ultimately have the best kicker that we can on this roster – whether it’s him or somebody else.” It seems ridiculous to consider cutting Aguayo after Tampa just spent the 59th overall pick of last year's draft on him -- but it was ridiculous to spend that pick on a K to begin with. Aguayo missed an NFL-high 9 FGs as a rookie.

Updating the Doug Martin story, ESPN reports the Bucs RB has been suspended 4 games by the league for violating the substance abuse policy. Martin is checking into a treatment facility, which indicates a significant issue. The team was reportedly notified last week, so we'll see if that game counts toward his suspension. He'll at least miss the 1st couple of games next season, though. We'll see this offseason what that means for Tampa's 2017 backfield plans.

Update: Martin's suspension was for Adderall. That's better news for his long-term outlook than an alcohol or drug issue. His suspension starts in Week 17, though, so he'll miss the first 3 games of next season.

Bucs RB Doug Martin is stepping away from the team to "take care of personal issues," according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. That explains why Martin was a healthy scratch for last week's loss to the Saints. We don't have any other details but at this point have no reason to believe it'll impact his 2017 season. We'll update the story as we learn more.

The Bucs have placed RB Charles Sims on IR. No word yet on his injury. With RB Doug Martin reportedly set to be a healthy scratch again on Sunday, Tampa will be down to RBs Jacquizz Rodgers, Peyton Barber and Russell Hansbrough.

The Bucs have placed TE Cameron Brate on IR with the back injury he suffered in last week's loss to the Saints. He'll miss the season finale against the Panthers. It's a disappointing end to what was an impressive year for Brate. He hauled in 57 balls for 660 yards and a TE-high 8 TDs. He's currently sitting 6th at the position in PPR points. Brate should be back as Tampa Bay's starter in 2017.

Bucs RB Doug Martin will again be inactive for the team's season finale against the Panthers, according to the Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud. HC Dirk Koetter called Martin's deactivation last week a "coach's decision." He missed a large chunk of this season with a hamstring injury and has mustered just 2.9 yards per carry in his 8 appearances. Still, it's a strange turn of events for a guy who just received a 5-year, $35.75 million contract this past offseason. We'll see whether Martin remains a Buc in 2017. Jacquizz Rodgers figures to operate as Tampa Bay's lead back vs. the Panthers this weekend. He tallied 78 yards and a TD on 17 touches last Saturday.

Bucs HC Dirk Koetter described RB Doug Martin's benching for Saturday's game against the Saints a "coach's decision. Koetter added, "We have four backs and we can't give them all touches ... We're blessed with good depth at running back, and this was a decision for today. It is what it is for today, and obviously we have to deal with what comes next." Jacquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims and Peyton Barber were all active for Tampa Bay. Rodgers led the way with 17 touches for 78 yards and a score. Sims carried 3 times and caught 4 balls, while Barber finished without a touch. What the Bucs' backfield will look like for the finale against the Panthers is anyone's guess. Rodgers will be in the RB2 mix if Martin is inactive again. It'll be a situation to avoid if Martin is active.

Bucs TE Cameron Brate exited in the 2nd half of Saturday's game against the Saints with a back injury. He was in obvious pain on the sidelines. We should get an update on his status tomorrow.

Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy (foot) is active for today's game against the Saints. The Bucs will be without DL William Gholston, though, who was ruled out earlier with an elbow injury.

Bucs RB Doug Martin is INACTIVE for today's game against the Saints. He wasn't even listed on the injury report, so he's either a healthy scratch or was deactivated for disciplinary reasons. Martin has averaged just 2.9 yards per carry this season. His absence leaves Tampa Bay's backfield to Charles Sims and Jacquizz Rodgers. We'd lean toward Sims as the preferred fantasy play, but both guys are risk/reward options.

Buccaneers S Chris Conte (chest) is questionable for Sunday's game at Dallas. DT Gerald McCoy (foot) and LB Lavonte David (hamstring) are as well. We'll check on the status for all 3 Sunday evening before the 8:25 p.m. kickoff. Conte put in full practices all week and appears likely to return. McCoy put in a full practice Friday and has been playing through questionable tags for a few weeks. David joined the injury report Thursday but put in another limited practice Friday.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston went scoreless vs. the Saints on just 16 completions and 184 yards. The Saints were able to slow down Mike Evans despite losing CB Delvin Breaux to injury in the 3rd quarter. Winston has now reached 2 TDs in just 1 of his last 4 games. He’ll be a shaky QB1 bet next week at Dallas.

Bucs RB Doug Martin rebounded from an injury scare in Week 13 to post 23 carries for 66 yards and 1 score vs. New Orleans. The efficiency is obviously ugly, but it’s excellent usage in a game that returned Charles Sims from injury. Sims rushed just 4 times and saw 4 targets vs. 2 for Martin. With volume on his side, Martin will be a worthy RB2 for Sunday’s showdown in Dallas.

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans caught just 4 of 8 targets for 42 yards vs. New Orleans. The Saints have historically defended Evans well, and a lack of volume helped their case on Sunday. Jameis Winston attempted just 26 passes (and completed 16) on a day that found the Bucs go run-heavy (35 attempts). Evans will remain an upside WR1 for Sunday’s tilt at Dallas.

Washington WR DeSean Jackson caught just 3 passes on a mere 4 targets in Sunday's win over the Eagles. But that included an 80-yard TD, which powered a 102-yard performance. The 4 targets marked Jackson's lowest total since Week 4. The TD was his 3rd in 4 games. Jackson -- as always -- will remain a boom/bust fantasy option the rest of the way.

The Buccaneers on Saturday officially activated RB Charles Sims from IR. Sims hasn't played since the team's 4th game and likely returns as the #3 back. Doug Martin leads the way, and OC Todd Monken said this week that RB Jacquizz Rodgers has earned an "expanded role." Barring injuries ahead of him, Sims figures to make little fantasy impact the rest of the way. Martin's injury issues this season put Sims on the handcuff radar in deeper leagues, though.

 
 
 

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