The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense was generally disappointing in Week 14 amid a 24-17 loss to the NFC South rival New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
New Orleans' defense has been a sieve all season long but managed to put together its best game of the year. Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston couldn't get on the same page with stud receiver Mike Evans often enough, while running back Doug Martin's solid outing was limited because of the Saints dominating possession.
Read on for advice on Winston, Martin and Evans and whether fantasy owners should hit the panic button after the trio failed to meet expectations against a most favorable roto matchup.
|Jameis Winston's Week 14 Fantasy Stats|
The rookie has fallen off in the three games since throwing five touchdowns in a road win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Winston couldn't exploit a leaky Saints secondary and didn't even turn to Evans until the second half. Part of the problem was playing from behind often and simply not having enough time to build momentum.
A road game on a short week looms Thursday against the St. Louis Rams' stout defensive front. St. Louis is fresh off a win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday and could well force Winston into another poor performance with Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn pressuring him.
With Winston facing a Vic Fangio-coached Chicago Bears defense in Week 16 and the currently undefeated Carolina Panthers to close out his maiden pro campaign, the forecast for him doesn't look promising. Don't count on him too heavily for the fantasy playoffs.
|Doug Martin's Week 14 Fantasy Stats|
Martin did what he could to please fantasy owners in the limited opportunities he had. When the Bucs were forced to air it out, Charles Sims was the preferred option as the team's pass-catching specialist.
It's unclear whether Tampa Bay is trying to keep Martin fresh or outright prefers Sims because the former hauled in 49 catches as a rookie and is definitely capable of being a receiving threat.
Sims had six receptions on eight targets for 64 yards on Sunday and could have had a fourth-quarter touchdown if Winston were more accurate. That's the thorn in Martin's side from a fantasy perspective—otherwise he'd be a high-end RB1.
For the Bucs to control the tone of their final few games, though, they'd be wise to pound the rock with Martin and stick with the ground game. St. Louis is vulnerable versus the run, so Martin may well have a big day this Thursday.
|Mike Evans' Week 14 Fantasy Stats|
Vincent Jackson suffered a knee injury Sunday and didn't return, per team reporter Scott Smith. Evans is therefore about the only viable receiver who appears healthy entering Tampa Bay's final three games.
Even if coverage is rolling to Evans' side of the field, Winston ought to let it fly to him anyway given his recent struggles. Drops have been an issue for Evans in his second season, but he's worth that risk to feed him because of his exceptional blend of size (6'5", 231 lbs) and speed (4.53 40-yard dash).
Although Jackson's status is still up in the air, it is a quick turnaround for the Rams game.
The lack of alternative options at Winston's disposal makes Evans a great WR1 candidate in Week 15. He should log double-digit targets and reward patient fantasy owners who were disappointed by his output against New Orleans.