We’ve got a lot of time here before the opening kickoff of the first NFL game of the season and fantasy football ADP (average draft position) is always shifting to whatever news comes out. OTAs (organized team activities) start this week, so we’ll get a whole big batch of news to shift perceptions, shape narratives and, yes, influence ADP even further. Because of the reactionary nature of best ball ADP and the different people playing best ball, we’ll always have disagreements about what player should go where.


That said, there is one wide receiver that is wildly underpriced and I will have a ton of exposure to this player who has over 120 targets in three of the last four seasons. Yet somehow, his ADP on Underdog Fantasy is in the late-fifth to early-sixth round at WR29.

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last season in best ball drafts, Chris Godwin was a luxury pick in the middle rounds as he was coming off of an ACL tear late in 2021. The hope was that Godwin missed a chunk of the beginning of the season, so his WR28 price in drafts warrants taking a shot on the talent. There was a little risk, but we know how good Godwin is. As we know, he ended up playing 15 games and earned less than eight targets just three times all season, including Tampa’s playoff game against Dallas.

In 2022, Godwin put up career-high numbers in targets (142) and receptions (104), as well as putting up over 1,000 yards receiving for the third time in four seasons. Production is not a concern, and Tom Brady being eliminated from the 2023 quarterback equation shouldn’t penalize Godwin THIS much. The last healthy season that Godwin entered was in 2021, and he was WR17 on Underdog, going at the late-third to early-fourth round turn.

Simply put, Godwin should be going rounds (yes, plural) higher than he’s going right now. But the market has depressed Godwin’s price. Why is that?

One thing that’s knocked Godwin down a little is his average depth of target (aDOT). Looking at this is VERY important here as we saw him in a part-time role early in his career as he was more of a deep threat. With more and more targets, snaps and routes in 2019 and 2020, his aDOT shortened up and normalized into the 9.5-to-11-yard range, which we like to see with players who run a diverse route tree.

His aDOT over the last two seasons has cratered a bit, and with a 5.7-yard aDOT in 2022, I’m willing to chalk that up to offensive line injuries and Godwin’s ACL injury to where he wasn’t asked to get downfield as much coupled with Brady’s arm at 45 years old. If that aDOT remains shorter, it will be a field day for PPR in Godwin’s favor (and his quarterback — we’ll get to Baker Mayfield a bit later). 

Wide receivers coach Brad Idzik also hinted at Godwin moving back to the outside from his recent years as a primary slot receiver, potentially boosting his aDOT even further.

What else can we still bank on from Godwin? Well, let’s pinpoint what the Buccaneers have told us they’re doing in 2023:

  1. They aren’t refocusing on running the ball. The Buccaneers drafted an offensive lineman in the second round, but they were defensively focused, with three of the first four draft picks devoted to the front seven.
  2. After letting Leonard Fournette go, Rachaad White is ticketed for a three-down role. The Bucs only grabbed Chase Edmonds and brought in undrafted free agent Sean Tucker to add to the position.

The second point is key; The Buccaneers had not only the league’s lowest rushing yards per game in 2022 but also had the league’s worst rushing expected points added (EPA) per play and lowest explosive rush %, which is rushing plays that gain 10+ yards. 

And now they subtract Fournette? That does not sound like a team dedicating itself to the run. While they won’t drop back to pass 750+ times under the Tom Brady regime, the Buccaneers still be a  pass-first team, whether it’s Mayfield or even Kyle Trask under center.

Haven’t We Seen This Before?

One of the worst things we can do is play the fantasy football “pickle race”, where we throw takes and predictions at the wall and hope something sticks. But when similarities and what a team does in the offseason and in the NFL Draft start to make sense on a connected team level, we can start to make sense of what’s happening here.

Doesn’t Tampa Bay’s situation in 2023 sound an awful lot like another team’s situation in 2022?

We all thought during the 2022 offseason and preseason that the Seattle Seahawks' passing game was doomed to fail, to take up space within the doldrums of the pile of league-worst offenses. Best ball drafters were drafting with that mindset, with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett’s ADPs cratering into the late-fifth for Metcalf and into the seventh or even eighth round for Lockett.

Seattle was bad… until they weren’t. Both Metcalf and Lockett were PPR top-15 wide receivers in fantasy and quarterback Geno Smith won Comeback Player of the Year after finishing as fantasy’s QB6.

Seattle in 2022 was:

  • 10th (tied) in raw pass rate (63%)
  • 8th in Pass Rate Over Expected (PROE)
  • 4th in touchdowns
  • 9th in points per game
  • 8th in explosive play % (passes gaining 15+ yards)

Smart drafters were scooping up Metcalf and Lockett because of the market’s concerns for whether or not Smith or Drew Lock (yes, some were touting him to start for the Seahawks in 2022) would be able to take the wheel and make that offense post-Russell Wilson a functional offense. With as low as Metcalf and Lockett were going in drafts, all the risk was gone. You didn’t have to select them in the first few picks.

We know that Metcalf and Lockett are incredibly talented players. So are Mike Evans and Godwin.


The Fly in the Ointment

Baker Mayfield. Yes, he was bad last season, and frankly, he was in an unwinnable situation last season with a not-so-good Panthers team who jettisoned Christian McCaffrey and, ultimately, Mayfield himself. He latched on with the Rams and his high point of 2022 was an improbable comeback win against the Raiders on Thursday Night Football towards the end of the season.

Mayfield was only better than such quarterback stalwarts as Colt McCoy, Sam Ehlinger and Skylar Thompson in total EPA per play and passing EPA per play. It was a disaster with the Panthers and it was only marginally improved with the Rams.

Geno Smith wasn’t great in his limited spells either for the Jets, Giants, Chargers and Seahawks before what was likely his last chance as a starting quarterback in 2022. He won the starting quarterback gig and he took off from there with offensive coordinator Shane Waldron and quarterbacks coach Dave Canales.

As luck would have it, Mayfield’s offensive coordinator and play-caller for 2023 happens to know a little bit about reclamation projects: Canales. So does the previously mentioned Brad Idzik, who is now Tampa Bay’s wide receivers coach after spending the last four years as assistant wide receivers coach and assistant quarterbacks coach in Seattle.

This is ultimately Mayfield’s last shot as a starting quarterback in the NFL, and if he can find some of the 2020 magic where he had a 26:8 TD-to-INT ratio and led the Browns to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth, he’s going to lift the boats of that offense.

And if it’s a full-blown tank job by the Buccaneers to get into the Caleb Williams sweepstakes in 2024, well then, you KNOW they’ll be passing the ball a ton.

Godwin’s Fantasy Outlook for 2023

Are the Buccaneers going to pass the ball 751 times in 2023? Absolutely not. It was Tom Brady’s swan song, and he would go down swinging. But can they still pass the ball at over a 60% clip? Absolutely. 

Godwin is a bet on talent in the same mold as DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett last year, where the market overcorrected way too much about the quarterback situation instead of betting on obvious talent. A healthy Godwin who plays 17 games should be able to get 140+ targets at worst, and even with inefficiency baked into his fifth or sixth-round ADP, Godwin should be able to be a target monster in 2023. There’s no reason to fade him despite the quarterback situation, and I’m buying the immense (and now fully healthy) talent at this fantastic price.