So you're about to have your fantasy draft. Or you're thinking about doing a fantasy draft. If you already had your draft, sorry 'bout your luck. You shoulda hit me up sooner to do this. Not that I would have ... but at least you would've asked. And that would have been nice. Sorry, where was I?
Right ... drafts. Anyway, when you're prepping for your upcoming leagues, there are probably more than a few players that you're considering adding to your board. I'm here to tell you that you might be doing it wrong. That's okay, no judgment. We've all been there. Allow me to offer some constructive criticism. Over the next few days I'm serving up a few players that you're probably waiting too long to draft. They might not be league winners but by the end of the season, you'll be glad you have 'em. No need to thank me. Just doing my job.
Let's get started.
Chris Godwin (WR20, ADP: 4.11)
January 2, 2017. Pasadena, California. Penn State and USC played to a dramatic finish in the Rose Bowl. The game is mostly remembered as the national coming-out party for Saquon Barkley or for Sam Darnold throwing five touchdown passes and leading a frantic Trojan comeback for a three-point win. As a Trojan fan in the stands that day, I learned two things: 1) I never wanted a team I cheered for to have to face Barkley again and 2) Chris Godwin was a damn revelation.
As a rookie, Godwin lived in the shadow of DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries before coming to life in the back half of the season. In Year 2, Godwin entered the season as everyone's favorite deep sleeper and lived up to those expectations by surpassing Jackson and finishing as a top 30 fantasy receiver. This year Godwin skipped a grade, matriculating past sleeper and earning his B.A. (Breakout Alternative) degree.
And he's still not being drafted early enough.
One of the more parroted stats during the offseason was that if the Bucs quarterbacks in 2018 formed like Voltron and become one player, they would have been a top 10 fantasy quarterback. Aside from the basic fact that such a physical matchup would haunt your dreams forever, it's also one of those weird Transitive Properties of Sports things that don't actually work in real life. But what it does highlight is just how much the Bucs threw the ball last year.
If you need that put into numbers, it breaks down into Tampa with 625 pass attempts (fourth-most) and a 63.13 passing play percentage (sixth-highest). Part of it could be blamed on a 31st-ranked defense that constantly placed the team in a hole. The Bucs, on average, trailed for nearly 30 minutes (29:48) each game -- fifth-worst in the NFL. It also didn't help that the offense couldn't gain any traction on the ground, rushing for 1,523 yards ... or just 89 more than rushing champ Ezekiel Elliott.
That run game isn't likely to get significantly better this season. We're just hoping Ronald Jones' corporeal form appears regularly on a field after ghosting the offense as a rookie. Peyton Barber? Well, we know what he is. Meanwhile, gone are DeSean Jackson (PHI) and Adam Humphries (TEN) while waiting in the wings to challenge Godwin and Mike Evans for wide receiver targets are some combination of, well ... if you recognize any names beyond Breshad Perriman and Bobo Wilson, take a bow.
While Mike Evans has been far and away Tampa's go-to receiver since he entered the league in 2014, there is room for another wideout to succeed in Bruce Arians' offense. I remind you of the 2015 Arizona Cardinals where both Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown topped 1,000 yards on a team with a competent running game. That last part doesn't exist in Tampa. Time to air it out again.
Anyway, this is all a long-winded way of saying everything's coming up Godwin. You might think you like him. I'm saying you don't like him enough. Change that.
Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com and a man who is thankful for the selective amnesia that allows you to forget the confusion of infancy. Send him your parenting insights or fantasy question on Twitter @MarcasG.