Now that Week 3 is in the books, fantasy football managers are looking at their rosters and trying to remember what team they drafted. Many star players are nursing injuries, and some major names are out for the year, so it’s time to look at the waiver wire for some help. With that in mind, and with Chris Godwin’s officially declared inactive, what does the Tamp Bay Buccaneers depth chart have to offer for fantasy players looking for help in Week 4 and beyond?
Can the Buccaneers’ running backs be relied on to carry the load in Godwin’s absence?
RB – Leonard Fournette
Leonard Fournette joined the team right before the season started to be their RB1, but his play so far has been somewhat lackluster. He’s still got some talent left in the tank and is technically listed atop their RB depth chart, but it’s entirely possible that this changes week to week based on who is running best that game. So far, he is the highest-scoring fantasy player in the backfield, so he’s the team’s RB 1A at least.
RB – Ronald Jones
Ronald Jones was supposed to be the starting running back heading into the year. All of that changed with the Fournette signing, but there are still a lot of people that think Jones can supplant Fournette and truly take this job for his own. He’s the RB 1B on this offense, scoring just 4.5 fewer PPR fantasy points than Fournette so far on the year. Keep an eye on Jones in case he makes a move up the list in the coming weeks or if Fournette starts to struggle.
RB – LeSean McCoy / RB – Ke’Shawn Vaughn
These two are purely depth pieces on the team and should be considered waiver wire fodder for redraft leagues as well. In dynasty, it’s likely that Vaughn is rostered but McCoy could still be available depending on your league. Either way, without an injury to one of the studs ahead of them, neither of these guys are fantasy relevant at the moment, but both could be studs for your team down the stretch if things go right.
Tampa Bay’s depth chart is well defined with or without Godwin in the lineup
TE – Rob Gronkowski
Gronk was touted as a top 12 TE entering the season, but his play leaves a lot to be desired. Gronk has only scored 13.9 PPR fantasy points, so while he’s listed as the teams TE1, fantasy managers would beg to differ. He’s likely droppable in most formats, including dynasty, just because it doesn’t look like he’s really getting it done thus far. However, due to Godwin’s inactive status for Week 4, Gronkowski could see increased targets as Brady will try to spread the ball around a bit more. Regardless, he is hard to trust in Week 4 given what we have seen so far.
TE – O.J. Howard
Listed as the TE2 on the Buccaneers is a familiar face for fantasy managers in regards to O.J. Howard. While he wasn’t flashy last year when he was expected to be, he’s going largely under the radar due to the Gronk and Tom Brady signings. Howard has put up 23.6 PPR points so far, making him the clear TE1 option for fantasy and worth stashing in deeper leagues.
QB – Tom Brady
This one is pretty obvious, but Brady is the sole owner of the QB position for the Buccaneers. There’s really no talent behind him, so if he goes down everyone else suffers in fantasy. Brady is QB16 in fantasy, so he’s not technically a starter in most 1QB formats, but he could easily have a 30+ point outing at any minute and that alone makes him worth rostering in most leagues.
Buccaneers depth chart at WR, who steps up for an inactive Chris Godwin in Week 4?
WR – Chris Godwin
Chris Godwin was being drafted ahead of Evans in most leagues even though he is listed as the WR2 on the team’s depth chart. This was largely due to his on the field abilities and projected volume as the slot receiver in the Brady-led offense. Godwin is currently WR40 after already missing Week 2 due to a concussion, but now it’s being rumored that he might miss even more time.
In Week 3, Godwin injured his hamstring which could force him to miss “multiple weeks” according to sources familiar with the situation. Soft tissue injuries are hard to manage in some cases, so he could be back in two weeks, but it could be much longer if his recovery has setbacks. If that is indeed the case, who should fantasy managers look to fill that void? Let’s take a look.
WR – Mike Evans
Mike Evans is the WR1 on the team and is also a potential WR1 in fantasy. So far he’s WR19 in PPR scoring, but he missed some time due to injury even though he played in Weeks 1 and 2. Evans is still looking like his former self, which is a positive, but the injury has hampered his fantasy scoring thus far. Not a bad trade target, but he’s an easy hold for me.
WR – Scotty Miller
The best and easiest option to replace Godwin is Scotty Miller. Miller has played in all three games so far, catching 10 of 14 targets for 167 yards and no touchdowns. He’s dealing with a pair of injuries of his own, specifically his hip and groin.
If he can clear the injury bug look for Miller to slide into the slot and take over the majority of Godwin’s production on the field. Check on his status closer to game time, but Miller needs to be rostered in almost every league for now in case he suits up for the team.
WR – Justin Watson
Justin Watson was ruled out of the Week 3 matchup due to a shoulder injury but could see the field in Week 4 and beyond as a solid WR3 option for fantasy managers. He could see even more looks if Miller takes a week or two to fully return from his injuries, and therefore, should be on every fantasy manager’s radar heading into Week 4 in case Miller misses the game.
WR – Tyler Johnson
Rookie WR Tyler Johnson has only played in a single game for the team thus far, but given the number of injuries that are piling up to all of the other receivers on the roster, it’s entirely possible that Johnson is asked to step up and help out.
It’s hard to say he’s worth rostering in regular redraft leagues with shorter benches, but he’d be a great trade target for deeper dynasty leagues where you might be able to poach him for a bench player on your own roster who is on the decline. It’s worth a look at least, and Johnson is definitely worth keeping an eye on as the season, and these injuries, continue.
Should Chris Godwin’s fantasy value change due to his inactive status in Week 4?
If you currently roster Godwin, do not panic sell at the moment. His value is likely the lowest it will be all season, and unless you’re getting a stud in return, it’s not worth moving him just to move him. If you’re in dynasty and looking at a long season as it is, maybe you’re 0-3 and hurting from all of the other injuries. In that case, Godwin isn’t a bad trade target for you, but don’t overpay if you can help it.
Given that this injury is still somewhat unknown, and the time Godwin could miss beyond Week 4 is up in the air, it’s probably best to just hold on and see how it goes. If you can acquire some of the other Buccaneers depth chart pieces like Miller, Watson, or Johnson this week, that might help in the short term to get you through. Godwin should be back at some point, so your season shouldn’t be ruined if you drafted him, at least not yet. There’s still plenty of football left to play.
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Andrew Hall is a writer for PFN covering the NFL and Fantasy Football. You can follow him on Twitter: @AndrewHallFF.