Chris Godwin Fantasy 2018
Chris Godwin has been an intriguing late round pick for me in best ball formats this summer. He possesses a lot of the positive traits I look for with my dart throw picks – picks in Round 15 or later. First thing I noticed on game replays is he’s got good size and strength for the position. As a rookie last year, there were times he looked like Anquan Boldin or Andre Johnson plucking the ball out of the air and breaking through defenders to pick up extra yards. He’s not a breakaway threat in terms of pure speed, but if he’s all alone against a corner with no safety help, chances are he’ll run through that corner and find the end zone or a big chunk of yards. Godwin has also shown the ability to make contested catches and will hang onto the ball going through traffic in the middle of the field. Now in his second season, a season WRs have been making a big leap in recently, he’s taking advantage of his opportunities this summer. Every team has puff pieces during minicamp and into training camp, and Godwin has been the beneficiary of quite a few. According to several outlets covering the Bucs, Mike Evans has looked like their best receiver, but all the talk after that has been about Godwin. Joe Bucs Fan went as far as to say:
Everybody at One Buc Palace talks about Godwin as if he’s some sort of child from the football gods. Imagine if he actually makes the big-improvement leap that many second-year players do.
What can we expect to see from the Tampa offense?
Under Koetter and Monken, Winston and the Bucs have thrown the ball increasing more each year since he came into the league in 2015. Since Monken took over the OC duties from Koetter in 2016, the Bucs have aired it out 578 and 605 times in the last two years, all the while talking about trying to run more coming into each of those years. Koetter’s average pass attempts per game over the last 6 years in Atlanta and Tampa have been 37.7 per game, or 603 per year. Last seasons 605 is right on par with that average and there’s no reason to think it will go down much in a year that appears could be his last in Tampa. According to FootballOutsiders.com pace stats, TB was in the top 10 in seconds between plays in all situations except when trailing by 7+ points last year and were in the upper half of the league in most situations the year before. So, we can reasonably expect to see a lot of plays and a lot of throws in Tampa.
Now we just need to figure out where those throws will go. Mike Evans is the alpha receiver on that team, and will get his 150+ targets should he stay healthy. The tight-ends Howard and Brate should see around 125 or more between the two of them. I don’t expect the RB to see a whole lot with Ronald Jones dropping passes in practice and Peyton Barber not really know as a receiving back, so we can probably assume they’ll see less than 100. That leaves around 225 targets for the remaining WRs to consume. Those WRs being outside man DeSean Jackson, slot man Adam Humphries, and inside/out receiver Chris Godwin.
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Jackson has been practicing in the slot, which to me is a signal the coaching staff is trying to get Godwin on the field more at Jackson’s expense. If Jackson starts running routes out of the slot, that displaces Humphries. Tampa coaches have stated they think they have 4 starters at WR so there could be an even distribution of opportunity between those three, or there could be a trade or a surprise cut. Jackson has another year on his deal after this one but is not expected to see the final year of his deal – per Ira Kaufman’s prediction on a podcast a year ago. With a $7.5m dead money hit if released this year, D-Jax would not be a smart cut this year. He’s $0 in dead money next year. That would make Humphries the odd man out for a trade or release this year if all 4 are healthy by final cuts. Not saying it will happen, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
What was Godwin’s rookie year like?
So what did Godwin do last year to generate any excitement heading into this year? Well, not a whole lot, but there are some positives to look at that could project him as a solid pick in drafts, especially in Best Ball where you don’t have to pick which weeks to start him. Godwin did finish ahead of fellow rookie O.J. Howard in target share and was 5th on the team with 13%. He was third on his team in aDOT for players with at least 30 targets – again finishing just ahead of Howard.
Godwin also had a breakout game in week 17 against the Saints hauling in 7 of his 12 targets for 111 yards and a touchdown. If you get two or three weeks like that this year, he’ll be a fine investment in the last quarter of drafts.
How will Godwin Succeed in 2018?
Whether Godwin’s in a timeshare with Jackson and Humphries fighting over those last couple hundred targets that should be available, or if it’s because he balls out this summer and bumps someone off the roster, there’s a pretty clear path for him to see a minimum of 60-70 targets, with 80+ well within the range of outcomes. In a world where Humphries is released or traded, Godwin should see about 85+ targets, which is where Humphries has been the last couple of years. If Godwin plays outside in Jackson’s position, he could see 90 plus targets, which is what Jackson saw last year. Godwin had a 62% catch rate, which would give him 53 catches if he at least sustains that rate and 85 passes come his way. Between Godwin and Jackson, the potential yard per reception is 13 to 15, which could put him at 700+ yards. Now, if he can improve on his lonely touchdown catch from last year, and catches 3 or 4 this year, Godwin could put up around 150 points. Being that his alpha WR Evans is likely to see more of the Marshon Lattimore, Desmond Trufant, Josh Norman, and William Jacksons of the league, Godwin could put up those spike week games best ballers seek out.
The Bucs plan to have Chris Godwin, not DeSean Jackson, starting opposite Mike Evans when the team's 2018 season begins.
— NBC Sports EDGE (@NBCSportsEdge) August 6, 2018
How will Godwin Fail in 2018?
The picture being painted in Bucs camp makes it hard to believe Godwin won’t see those 70 to 85+ targets, but there is a possibility Jackson isn’t done yet, Humphries fights him off, and Godwin does not improve upon the 55 targets sent his way last year. If that’s the case, we’re looking at a repeat of 2017 where he only gets into a Best Ball starting line-up once, and we’ll probably never use him as a starter in re-draft.
What’s my take on Godwin in 2018?
Ever the optimist searching for a bargain, I tend to believe Godwin’s summer full of praise is worth keeping tabs on during the preseason. If his play and the beat of the drum continue to create a buzz, then you can bank those 15th round shares and chase another bargain if Godwin’s ADP begins to soar above his ceiling. Currently priced near his floor, I see no reason not to grab a healthy amount of shares now. Even if he doesn’t live up to the hype, you haven’t invested high capital in him. He’s among a handful of guys in this range I’m stocking my portfolio with for now.
Thanks for reading
NorCal native Jesse Jones has been obsessed with fantasy football since joining and winning his first league in 1994. He has been a leader in looking for an edge, while others showed up to drafts asking for a cheat sheet and a pencil. He’s been writing his own rankings and mining data to build spreadsheets for 12+ years. Jess puts in hundreds of hours of research and analysis each offseason to build his own database and identify targets for Redraft and Bestball. During the season Jess pours countless hours into DFS research. All of his analysis and findings are passed onto you as the reader.