The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to enter 2010 with a revived approach to the season, while also looking to prove quite a bit.
Leading the way for the Bucs is second year QB Josh Freeman, who also has a lot to prove.
Freeman dealt with more struggles than accomplishments last year, but what accomplishments he did achieve were nothing short of spectacular, including one outstanding comeback against a vaunted Green Bay Packers defense by a score of 38-28.
At 6’6” near 250 pounds, Freeman has rare size as a QB, but lacked the full potential to play directly under center—one of his biggest issues in 2009. Most of his critics felt that he was a better shotgun QB which accounted for the majority of his 1,855 yards.
But Freeman knows that playing both under center, and in the gun, is crucial to making it in the NFL which is why he has been drawing nothing but accolades from his coaching staff for his off-season work ethic.
But this is a fantasy site, and you are—hopefully—fantasy managers looking for reasons as to why Freeman is a fantasy sleeper. We here at Fantasyknuckleheads have Josh Freeman ranked 30th.
So, without further ado, let's take a look at Josh Freeman's sleeper potential.
- The most interesting news out of camp has got to be RB Derrick Ward saying that Josh Freeman’s progress is ahead of where Eli Manning’s was as a second year QB; pretty interesting stuff coming from a guy who was there to watch Manning grow in his second year. A lot of this can be attributed to his off-season program, and getting together the tools needed to become a better QB. A better QB in the NFL is a better QB in fantasy, plain and simple…but wait there’s more!
- The Bucs lost their leading receiver Antonio Bryant to free agency, but there is plenty of talent ready to bust out in 2010 for the Bucs. WR Sammie Stroughter is the first to come to mind as he had an admirable year with 31 catches for 331 yards and a single score. His blinding speed and growing rapport with Freeman could be a fantasy difference maker on the field in 2010.The Bucs also acquired former Philadelphia Eagles receiver Reggie Brown, who has “highly impressed “the Bucs coaching staff in OTAs thus far. In six games for the Eagles, Brown had 9 catches for 155 yards, but there never really was enough room for Brown to bloom; something he is apparently doing in Tampa.
- Let us also remember that the Bucs leading receiver was actually a TE named Kellen Winslow who wreaked havoc in 2009, catching 77 balls for 884 yards and 5 TDs. Winslow is viewed to be the number one target for Freeman again in 2010.
- One major factor that contributes to a QBs success is how well his ground game is, and in Tampa, the ground game is a deadly combination of Cadillac Williams, and Derrick Ward specifically, if they can stay healthy.
The ground game was hampered by injures, and a sub-par “by committee” approach, gaining 1,298 yards and a dismal five TDs out of three guys (Earnest Graham being the third man). Head coach Raheem Morris has already stated that whoever has the “hot hand” will likely become the starter, which means more committee running by Ward and Williams.
But the thing is, these guys are healthy and ready to pave the way for a QB that, they feel, is ready to take the reigns as their new franchise QB. Anyone seeing the confidence pattern yet?
- As if his supporting cast isn’t enough to sell the deal, let’s not forget that Freeman threw for 8,078 yards and 44 TDs with a 59.1% completion rate, and a 124.7 QB rating in only three years as a Kansas State Wildcat.
Summary: I don’t think there’s any doubt that Freeman has “it”, but putting everything together is paramount to his success as an NFL QB, and as a fantasy QB. The receivers seem to be “drawn” by his leadership skills, particularly rookie Mike Williams, which is a very good thing.
His off-season work has been spectacular, his work through OTAs has been wonderful, and his overall progress has been nothing short of incredible…all descriptions used by his coaching staff at one point or another.
Freeman has decent enough talent to put up solid QB 2 sleeper numbers this year. Deep league guys searching for a late round QB with some decent upside need to look to Josh Freeman.