Fantasy Preview

Hats off to the folks at ESPN.com for the fantasy football girls. What they lack in journalistic integrity, they make up for in shameless self promotion.

Anyway, let's get down to the Bucs fantasy preview. I'm assuming that you play in your average 10 man yahoo fantasy league. This means you start 1 QB, 2 Rbs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, a flex position (RB or WR) and a defense. Typical scoring system, which means you are not awarded points for receptions or carries.

Carnell Williams, RB
According to AntSports.com Carnell Williams is on average being drafted #40 overall, which puts him before Michael Bennet, but behind J.J Arrington. Most of the time, Williams will be selected somewhere in the fifth round.

Williams will be the starter when the season begins. He will split carries with Michael Pittman early on until he improves his pass blocking, which is the weakest part of his game. But by the time the latter part of the season rolls around expect Williams to get most of the carries.

Williams stock has been rising lately, and should continue to do so. Williams should peak right around the time most fantasy teams are competing in the playoffs. If you like to draft a lot of runningbacks (which I do) Williams makes a good third back.

Michael Clayton
In the average AntSports.com fantasy draft, Michael Clayton is going #42 overall. Like Williams, Clayton will be selected somewhere in the fifth round. That puts him behind Mike Williams but before Anquan Boldin.

Clayton benefitted from the Bucs playing from behind and being the only healthy receiver on the team last season. Their has been talk that his production could decrease this season, but according to Dalbuc at Buccaneer Bounty there is no such thing as a sophmore slump. Dalbuc broke down the numbers of first round receivers and discovered that on average only 20% of receivers saw a decrease in production their second season.

Clayton should benefit from being more familiar with Gruden's complicated passing schemes. Additionally, a healthy Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard should take some of the defensive pressure off of Clayton.

Brian Griese
Brian Griese is being selected on average at #115, before Kurt Warner, but behind Byron Leftwich. Griese will be available in the late rounds and will most likely be selected between the thirteenth and fifteenth rounds.

Griese started in 11 games last season while producing an impressive 97.5 quarterback rating. Griese looked very comfortable in Gruden's offense and it showed with a 69.3 completion percentage. By comparison Peyton Manning had a 67.6 completion percentage, Daunte Culpepper threw for 69.2, and Donovan McNabb had a 64 completion percentage.

The offensive line is a big worry with Griese, but he has the potential to be a sleeper pick at quarterback. He threw for 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions last season and if you project those stats over a full 16 games, Griese would have thrown for 29.09 touchdowns and 17.45 interceptions.


Average draft position is 133, behind Eagles defense but before the Vikings D. Ever since Monte Kiffin took control of the defense they have been one of the top ten defenses in the league. While I would still rank them in the top ten this season, I think they will slip a little bit.

The departure of Dwight Smith will hurt their secondary, while the linebacking corp is in a state of flux. The starting linebackers are not getting any younger this season. By the end of the season I wouldn't be surprised if rookie Barrett Ruud took over the middle linebacker duties from Shelton Quarles. The defensive line should be better this season with the addition of Chris Hovan and as long as they still have Monte Kiffin the defense will rank among the league's best.

But the defense won't be as reliable from game to game, and will most likely be prone to mental lapses. I would draft the Bucs as the seventh defense, but keep your eyes on the waiver wire for the Cardinals', Jets' or Vikings' defenses which could surpass the Bucs' defense.

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