The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready for their first postseason in five years. This offseason is all the evidence you need.
They have brought in a lot of talent via free agency and have made some stellar draft choices, too.
If Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph can return to form, this will be a top five offense in the NFL.
But the key will be the Bucs' third-round pick out of N.C. State - quarterback Mike Glennon.
Josh Freeman had a good, but inconsistent season in 2012. And 2013 is the last year of his rookie deal. When the Bucs decided to sign Darrelle Revis to a long-term deal instead of Freeman, that was the first sign.
Then Tampa drafted the skilled - yet incosistent - Glennon in Apri, that was the second sign.
I think Glennon will push Freeman to the max in the offseason, therefore allowing Freeman to have a successful season in 2013. If that happens then Tampa Bay will be a very dangerous team.
Here is the fantasy outlook for Tampa Bay in 2013:
Tampa Bay finished 7-9 in 2012 after dropping five of their last six games. Overall, they were good on offense finishing ninth overall. They finished 10th in passing and 15th in rushing. They were 13th in points scored.
The Bucs only played against three top 10 defenses in 2012, but fared pretty well against them, scoring around 20 points per game. They play five games against teams with top ten defenses from last year and nine against teams in the top fifteen.
Five of those nine games are on the road.
However, with the return of Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks, Tampa should have a lot of success on offense this year despite the tough schedule and I expect them to finish in the top five overall.
On defense there is uncertainty, but the potential is unlimited. Will Adrian Clayborn be able to produce and stay healthy? Will Darrelle Revis regain his dominance? Who will step up at linebacker other than Lavonte David?
Tampa finished dead last in passing but first in rushing. What is even stranger is the fact that Tampa had the third-most rushing attempts against them and the most passing attempts against in 2012.
The additions of Dashon Goldson and Revis should improve the Bucs' secondary dramatically. And 2013 will be a big test as Tampa has six games against top ten passing offenses - and three of those games are against the top two.
They play six games against top ten overall offenses from 2012 and four of those are on the road. Tampa's defense will be tested throughout the season, but will finish in the middle of the pack.
GRADE: 8 OUT OF 10
Quarterbacks: Josh Freeman, Dan Orlovsky, Mike Glennon, Adam Weber
Josh Freeman is the incumbent and will be throughout the season. He has been very inconsistent over his career, leading to the drafting of Glennon. This could be Freeman's last year in Tampa if he struggles.
Freeman threw for a career-high 27 TDs and his first 4,000-yard season. He had three 300-yard games and seven games with at least 250+ yards. Freeman also recorded nine multiple-touchdown games and had only four games with multiple turnovers.
He had a six-game stretch where he threw for 16 TDs and only 4 INTs, but then he threw for 6 TDs and 10 INTs in his last six games.
He is ranked right around 19th in most fantasy quarterback rankings, making him a lock for about the eighth or ninth round. If you can get him there, I think that could be an enormous steal.
I expect Freeman to have a very good year. Even though Tampa could've picked up a decent WR3 option, he still has a good amount to work with that includes Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Kevin Ogletree and Doug Martin.
The knock on Freeman is his accuracy and his struggles in the pocket. With Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph back in the lineup that should change.
Tampa plays six games against top ten passing defenses from 2012, and 10 games against top 15 passing defenses. Freeman compiled stats of 53.0 percent/1,517 yards/12 TD/8 INT in six games against top 15 opponents last year.
If you can grab him in the later rounds, do it. He could become an excellent second option or even trade bait if he plays well enough. However, do not touch him earlier than the sixth, there is too much guaranteed talent in those rounds.
Glennon and the rest are waiver wire pickups in case Freeman falters this season.
Projected 2013 stats: 63.0% completion, 4,200 YDS, 31 TDs, 14 INTs, 163 Rush Yards, 2 TD
GRADE: 6 OUT OF 10
Running Backs: Doug Martin, Jeff Demps, Mike James, Michael Smith
Doug Martin recorded one of the best rookie seasons in Tampa Bay history and his sophomore season will be just as effective.
Martin finished fifth in rushing yards in the NFL with 1,454 yards. He had 11 rushing TDs and caught 49 balls for 472 yards and a touchdown.
Martin was one of a few rookies to have a major impact last year. Look for him to be taken in the second or third rounds of a deeper league format.
He could even be taken as high as the first round in some leagues.
With the trade of LeGarrette Blount, that will leave Martin with plenty of goal line opportunities - but that also could mean a larger workload and Martin carried the ball 314 times last year.
I don't see him wearing down as the season goes on, but teams could stack the box since the Bucs don't have a proven backup.
Tampa played three games against teams with a top ten rushing defense and seven games against the top fifteen. In those three against the top ten Martin didn't fare so well, but two of those games were after Carl Nicks was injured.
In all seven games, Martin ran 140 times for 587 yards, good for 4.2 YPC. He scored only twice during that span, but also caught 26 passes for 284 yards. Overall, he played pretty well against top fifteen defenses.
In 2013, Martin plays seven games against teams with a top fifteen rush defense. However, he only plays three games against teams in the top ten and he has eight games against teams in the BOTTOM 12 of the league.
Expect Martin to get off to a hot start as well, because Tampa's first five out of six games are against teams that finished in the bottom 12 of the league in rushing.
If you're playing in a 10-12 team league, I would take Martin in the second round. He will be a top ten rusher again this year and may have even more success with the returns of Joseph and Nix.
As for the other backs, stay away until the season goes on. I like James or Demps to win the backup spot.
Projected 2013 stats: 1,352 YDS, 13 TD/ 57 REC, 515 YDS, 3 TD
GRADE: 9 OUT OF 10
Wide Receivers: Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Steve Smith, Kevin Ogletree, Tiquan Underwood
Tampa has a plethora of receivers this season, but the top two are Jackson and Williams.
Jackson had his best season as a pro last year and Williams benefited from that, having his best year since his rookie season. Both players should be in top form again this year.
Jackson was a monster last year finishing in the top five in receiving and averaging almost 20 YPC. He caught eight touchdowns and had five 100-yard games, including a 200-yarder against the Saints.
Jackson had his share of bad games as well, but should be a mid-round pick this year. Take him no higher than the fifth. He could fall as far as the seventh or eighth in deeper leagues - which would be a major steal.
As for Williams, this could be the ultimate bargain pick in your draft. Once again, I see him falling past the 10th round. The fourth-year pro will finish the year with 1,000 yards, so if you can get him late - do it.
The rest of the Bucs' receiving corps is kind of a mystery. Steve Smith is being reunited with offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, but he has caught 25 passes over the last two years. Kevin Ogletree showed flashes last season, but was also very inconsistent.
Underwood will have his moments when the Bucs call his number, but isn't worth the risk on draft day.
I believe Ogletree will have a very good season as the number three behind Jackson and Williams, but won't warrant a pick on draft day. However, keep an eye on him as the season goes on. He could come in handy.
Projected Stats: Jackson - 82 REC, 1,278 YDS, 11 TD / Williams: 65 REC, 1,100 YDS, 8 TD
GRADE: 8 OUT OF 10
Tight Ends: Luke Stocker, Tom Crabtree, Nate Byham, Evan Landi, Zach Miller, Danny Noble
After the Bucs decided not to re-sign Dallas Clark, the tight end position is up for grabs.
All of the players on Tampa's roster are unproven except Crabtree. The only reason he is relevant is because he played with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Rodgers could make me look good on the field.
Overall, stay away from ALL of these players come draft day. There is no certainty who will even win the starting gig, but my gut says Stocker. He can block, runs good routes and has good hands.
The Bucs don't really use the tight end in their offense, either. Waiver wire pickups all around!
Projected Stats: 43 REC, 450 YDS, 4 TD
GRADE: 4 OUT OF 10
Tampa was all over the place last year on defense. They had the best rushing defense in the league, but had the absolute worst pass defense.
They only registered 27 sacks on the year - tied for 29th overall.
The fact that Tampa had the third most runs against and first most passes against says one thing - they need someone to step up and sack the quarterback.
Tampa allowed only two 100-yard games to opposing backs last season - and one was Adrian Peterson.
To say Tampa beefed up their secondary in the offseason would be an understatement. They completely overhauled it by bringing in two All-Pro DBs and drafting Johnthan Banks in the second round.
Tampa's defense should be a stout unit this year, finishing right outside the top ten. If they can get around 35-40 sacks, they will be a top ten unit for sure.
With the Revis trade, I figure a lot of people will take Tampa's defense pretty early on draft day, but they should go no higher than the 10th round in my opinion. Playing six games against the Falcons, Saints and Panthers are a pretty good reason why.
Trips to Seattle, New England and Detroit will also be brutal tests for the new look defense.
Overall, I expect them to have a good season and be a good No. 2 defense for your fantasy team.
GRADE: 8 OUT OF 10
My MVP for Tampa Bay will be Doug Martin.
My BUST for Tampa Bay will be Steve Smith.
My SLEEPER for Tampa Bay will be Josh Freeman.
A lot of bargains can be found on this team if you draft correctly, minus Doug Martin. Tampa has some questions, but will be in the postseason when it's all said and done.
They are talented, but still under the radar which will make for some great mid-late round picks that could seriously bolster your roster come fantasy season.