How the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Became the NFL's Most Lethal Offense

Jamal Collier@@JCollierDAnalyst IIINovember 25, 2012

Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin has eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in his rookie season.
Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin has eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in his rookie season.J. Meric/Getty Images

Several chess pieces have come together to turn the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into one of the NFL’s most feared and explosive offenses. Despite the inability of the defense to stop opposing offenses—Tampa Bay’s is the 30th-ranked defense in the NFL—the Buccaneers are 6-5 on the season and 5-2 in their last seven.

They are averaging 32.6 points per game over that stretch of games—a figure that would trail only the New England Patriots if it applied to the entire season.

Tampa Bay is now home to several fantasy options, including quarterback Josh Freeman, wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams and running back Doug Martin. As a whole, those guys have been excellent plays in fantasy, as their defense has allowed 24.4 PPG in its last 10, and the offense has run into a string of favorable matchups.

The Muscle Hamster has been fantastic in his rookie year, gaining 1,050 yards and nine touchdowns on 218 rushing attempts (4.8 yards per carry). He’s been able to find running lanes against defenses that also have to be concerned about the passing game.

Even without key offensive linemen Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks, the Buccaneers offense has faced several consecutive good fantasy matchups. Taken as a unit, Tampa Bay’s last seven opponents would rank 24th in terms of stopping QBs from scoring fantasy points.

That means Freeman has, on average, faced a top-10 fantasy defense in the last seven games. His favorite two targets, Jackson (95 targets on the season) and Williams (73), have benefited as well.

As a result, Freeman has thrown for 1,971 yards, 16 touchdowns and three interceptions since his bye week. Over such a sustained period of time, those are impressive numbers regardless of the defenses faced.

Aside from a matchup with the New Orleans Saints, the average defensive rank (against opposing fantasy QBs) of the remaining teams on Tampa Bay’s schedule is 15. Next week’s matchup with the Denver Broncos may prove to be the most difficult for the Bucs offense for the rest of the season.

The rest of its schedule looks trustworthy from a fantasy perspective.

Tampa Bay is having an undeniably prolific statistical season in 2012—but the Bucs will have to prove themselves as an offensive juggernaut in 2013, while navigating a schedule that can’t get much better than the one they have now.


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