The NFL is expected to suspend Bucs QB Jameis Winston 3 games for violating its personal conduct policy, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The ban stems from a March 2016 incident when Winston allegedly groped an Uber driver. Charges were never filed against Winston, but the NFL has taken a hard line in these situations since the Ray Rice debacle. Schefter does add that "the league still has not notified Winston of its official decision, and the circumstances surrounding it still could lead to an increase or decrease of the three games." So this doesn't sound officially official yet. But fantasy drafters should be planning for now on Winston missing the first 3 games of the season vs. the Saints, Eagles and Steelers. It's a blow to his best-ball value and makes him tough to draft in standard-sized lineup-setting leagues. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is in line to start while Winston serves his suspension. Fitzpatrick was serviceable in 5 appearances last year, completing 58.9% of his passes with 7 TDs vs. 3 INTs. He's unlikely to be more than a QB2 option -- especially with no teams on bye during those first 3 weeks -- but is at least capable of keeping the Bucs' skill-position guys afloat.
The Bucs have signed TE Cameron Brate to a 6-year, $41 million contract. It's a bit surprising that they're willing to invest so much in Brate after spending a 1st-round pick on TE O.J. Howard last spring. Both guys will be big parts of the offense moving forward, but the move is a bit of a hit to Howard's dynasty value. Brate has hauled in 105 of 158 targets (66.5%) for 1,251 yards and 14 TDs over the past 2 seasons. Only 7 TEs have totaled more PPR points during that stretch.
Bucs TE Cameron Brate (hip) is active for today’s game against the Packers. We’ll see if QB Jameis Winston can get him back on track, but Brate isn’t a recommended Week 13 fantasy play vs. the league’s #1 TE defense.
Bucs TE Cameron Brate (hip) is listed as questionable for this weekend’s game vs. the Packers. He was added to the injury report on Thursday and limited in Friday’s practice. It sounds like Brate will play, but the hip is just another reason to avoid him in Week 13 fantasy lineups. He has just 1 catch in 4 straight games and draws the league’s top-ranked TE defense.
The NFL has moved the Bucs-Dolphins game originally scheduled for this Sunday to Week 11. Both teams were scheduled to have a bye that week but will now play 16 straight weeks from Week 2 to 17. We just removed all Bucs and Dolphins from the Week 1 Rankings. The winner here is RB Doug Martin, whose 3-game suspension will now cost him a game against the tough Giants run defense rather than the Dolphins.
Sunday's opener between the Bucs and Dolphins is in limbo as Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida. The league held a conference call this morning to discuss the situation, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, but no decision was made. The Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud hears that the Bucs are expecting the game to be moved to Week 11, when both teams currently have a bye week. The other option is to move the game elsewhere. We're expecting to have clarity on the situation within the next 24 hours.
The Bucs selected Alabama TE O.J. Howard with the 19th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. Howard’s college numbers don’t jump off the page — HC Nick Saban even admitted that he was under-utilized in the passing game — but he finished 3rd on a stacked Alabama offense in receiving yards both of the past 2 seasons. Flip on the tape and you see a big, strong, athletic dude. Howard checked into the Combine at 6’6 and 251 pounds, ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash and earned a SPARQ score in the 84th percentile among TEs. He’s also 1 of the best blocking TEs we’ve seen come out in recent memory. Howard is already a better all-around TE than Cameron Brate and should quickly pass him on the depth chart. He won’t be any higher than 3rd in line for targets, though, behind Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson. Don’t bank on Howard being more than a fantasy spot starter in 2017. But tied to QB Jameis Winston, this is a nice long-term landing spot.
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 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.
Bucs WR Cecil Shorts will start in place of Vincent Jackson (knee) against the 49ers on Sunday, HC Dirk Koetter said. Shorts has 1 catch on 2 targets through 2 outings this season. His production will obviously climb now, but probably not enough to put him on the fantasy radar. WR Adam Humphries -- who will maintain his slot role -- and TE Cameron Brate are better bets to benefit from Jackson's absence.
Saints WR Willie Snead will be a game-time decision for Monday night's contest against the Falcons. He didn't practice all week but told reporters Saturday that he's "hopeful" that he'll be able to play. The late kickoff obviously puts fantasy owners in a tough spot, though. Unless you have a replacement from that game -- ideally Michael Thomas -- Snead probably needs to be on your bench for Week 3.
Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins has started seeing 1st-team reps again in practice -- "splitting" those duties with TE Cameron Brate, per ESPN's Jenna Laine. "Austin's worked his way right back in there, and when he got moved down the depth chart, all you can ask a player when he gets moved down is that he competes and does better and tries to get back up there, and he's done that," HC Dirk Koetter said. ASJ has a significant talent edge over Brate. So if his head is screwed on right, he figures to move back to the top of the depth chart eventually. He remains a late-round flier but is a better fantasy pick than Brate.
Buccaneers HC Dirk Koetter called TE Cameron Brate his starter Wednesday, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Koetter reportedly said Brate deserves the job "because he's making plays and run blocking has improved." That doesn't necessarily mean that the situation is set for the regular season, but it follows an offseason of negative buzz for 3rd-year TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins. There's lots of athletic upside to the former 2nd-round pick, but ASJ has lost 16 games to injury over 2 seasons and apparently failed to mature. We'll see if this lights a fire, but we're moving Seferian-Jenkins even further down our TE rankings until he gives us a reason to believe.
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