It’s Now Or Never Winston by Justin Brandrick

It’s Now Or Never Winston by Justin Brandrick
Reading Time: 4 minutes.

The famous Jameis Winston. You should all know the name and unfortunately for Winston will also have an opinion on his history too. As clouded as his college and unfortunately parts of his NFL career have become through his off field issues, this guy still has potential.

Although it feels like he has been around for a while now Winston is still only 25. That’s young for a quarterback. Take a look at Tom Brady, 41 years young and 42 by the time we kick off the season. Quarterbacks are playing for longer these days, this makes Winston a very viable prospect in dynasty. He has still easily got 10 plus years as a starting quarterback, but only if he shows some of that potential that he’s been promising since his draft.

This is Winston’s contract year. This is make or break for him. This is where he will either get paid like all the other QB1’s or end up being a bust. The Buccaneers invested a first round, first pick in 2015 for Winston. The idea was to build the franchise around him but his career now hangs in the balance. It’s all or nothing time for him.

The former 2014 Heisman trophy winner does have something going in his favour, Bruce Arians. The newly appointed head coach is known for bringing on quarterbacks and getting the best of them. Arians quarterbacks average just over 20 points per game in fantasy football. Maybe this is fate? Or maybe Winston has just got lucky with the timing of the Arians appointment? Either way this is a huge boost for Winston and the coming season.

The once highly rated prospect from Florida State, picked at one, one is a risk. However I feel only a small risk with huge potential upside, greater than any other I can see currently in his position. A lot has been made of Jameis Winston performance last year and he has received a lot of negative press, but have we forgot about the outrageous start Fitzpatrick had to the season?! He was putting up points that were making history at the time and all Winston could do was stand and watch whilst he served his suspension. On his return he was expected to regain the starting position but Dirk Koetter opted (wrongly or rightly so) to start the hot hand, that being Fitzpatrick. When Winston finally got his chance again it looked like he was trying too hard. Almost as if he was trying to emulate Fitzpatrick and his game, which backfired on his completely.

Winston returned in week 4 against the Bears, but did not start. He replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick in the third quarter, finishing with 145 passing yards, a touchdown and two interceptions as the Buccaneers lost 10–48. In week 6, against the Falcons, he had 395 passing yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions in the 34–29 loss.  In week 8 against the Bengals, Winston threw for 276 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions and he was benched in the third quarter for Fitzpatrick. In week 11 against the Giants, starter Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions and was benched for Winston in the second half. Winston ended up throwing for 199 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception as the Buccaneers lost 38–35. Two weeks later in a 24–17 win over the Panthers, Winston completed 20 of 30 passing attempts for 249 yards and two touchdowns, breaking the franchise record for passing touchdowns in a career with 81. Three weeks later in a 27–20 loss to the Cowboys, Winston completed 34 of 48 passing attempts for 336 yards and one touchdown, breaking the franchise record for completions in a career previously held by Josh Freeman.

Winston missed five out of the 16 games during the 18 season. While in those 11 games Winston managed to complete 244 of the 378 attempts, completing 66.6% of all throwing attempts, this still left him above his career average of 61.6%. With those attempts Jameis Winston was able to convert those successful passes into 19 touchdowns.

Jameis Winston has a stack of passing weapons to use at his disposal; Godwin, Watson, Perriman, Brate and Howard to name a few. His already strong relationship with Evans will prove vital to the success of the season through the passing game. The passing group has grown steadily, with a nice mix of youth and experience this could be a true threat throughout the season. This team will be a high throwing offense due to poor running ability. It will be more out of necessity that they have to throw instead of running the ball. I don’t believe the future running back for the Buccaneers is currently on the roster. I do strongly believe that in the 2020 draft they will look to add an elite talent in that position. If that happens then this offense becomes a formidable threat for the rest of the league.

Winston isn’t afraid to rush the ball if needed, attempting 49 rushes for 281 yards picking up 18 vital first downs with the team really needed them, but also fumbling 4 of those bringing his career total of fumbles to 15.

Coach Arians has always favoured a passing style of play. This ties in perfectly with Winston’s skill set. As I said before, maybe it’s fate that brought these two together.

Last year Winston ranked as QB22 but in points per game he was slightly higher at QB16. Just to note, the difference between QB16 and QB12 was a fraction of a point, not even a full single figure. That’s almost QB1 region for someone that’s had a ‘poor season’ by all accounts. Winston finished the season with a passer rating of 90.2, again above his career average of 87.8. Maybe his season wasn’t as bad as it has been portrayed. Maybe we have just jumped all over this guy for his mistakes. Yes he has got a lot of maturing to do, but he has got a strong head coach to guide him now.

I’m expecting to see a huge change in fortune for the Buccaneers this season. With a little luck they can come through pre season relatively unscathed and have a strong starting lineup. In the 18 season the Buccaneers lost four offensive lineman during the first couple of weeks. This leading to Winston being sacked 27 during his 11 games. With first choice lineman in front of him this season I’d expect him not to be so easily accessible to the the opposing linebackers.

Jameis Winston is inexpensive and massively undervalued in almost every format of fantasy football, he’s well worth an attempt, especially in super flex leagues. There is risk as with any player. But Winston’s risk is small and at his current ADP, he’s the current basement bargain of the season.

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