It’s tough to be specific about keeper leagues when writing about them. There are so many unique keeper leagues out there. It seems like every keeper question that I answer in the comment section has a different format than another one. I think that the best way to write about keeper prospects is to make it round specific and leave it up to you to analyze it’s usefulness to you.
This is a little different than the D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett post. Neither Metcalf or Lockett produced the yardage that Godwin or Evans did. Metcalf and Lockett are also not in quarterback limbo going into the new decade. Jameis Winston led the league in passing yards in 2019, but he also threw 30 interceptions and capped off the season with an overtime pick six. That’s not exactly the way garner a lot of confidence from your coach and front office in a contract year.
Bruce Arians’ January comments didn’t scream that the Bucs want to give Winston the big long term deal that he desires. But honestly, what better choice do the Buccaneers have in free agency? Philip Rivers is pretty much the same quarterback as Winston without the upside. Tom Brady is as old as dirt. Teddy Bridgewater also doesn’t have the ceiling that Winston has. The Buccaneers might as well franchise tag Winston and see what he can do in the 2nd year in Arians’ system. Chances are, that’s what the decision will be, but hey, I’ve seen way dumber decisions be made by franchises.
We are only in February so you can’t put a ton of stock into early mock draft data, but so far Mike Evans is a first round draft pick. I expect with a larger sample size in a few months that he will slide into the 2nd round in PPR formats. Evans caught 67 balls in 14 games last season. In PPR leagues, that is a big difference from the receivers that were putting up similar or more yardage and catching more balls. His stat line looked more like a T.Y. Hilton season than a Mike Evans season.
Look, I’m not here to bash one of my favorite players in the NFL, but it’s time to be realistic. With the emergence of Chris Godwin, Breshad Perriman, and the likely positive regression from O.J. Howard, the seasons where Mike Evans is seeing 135-140 targets are likely behind us. He doesn’t need all of those targets to be one of the best wide receivers in football, which he certainly is, but in PPR leagues, volume is king. And there certainly will always be the Mike Evans games that few others in this league can put together. The games like he had in weeks 8 and 9 where he caught double digit balls and almost 200 yards a piece. But then there are the runs that Evans had to close out the year where he went 4 straight games with no more than 4 catches and zero touchdowns.
In a lot of keeper leagues, you might keep a handful of players and you won’t have a choice but to keep Evans. And you shouldn’t feel bad about having to keep Evans by any means. You are all but guaranteed a 1,000 yard season after all. But in leagues where round value matters, and you are only keeping 1-3 players, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a look at what other options you may have.
Keeper Value: Less Than Ideal
Chris Godwin had been steadily emerging in his second year as a pro. He emerged so much so that fantasy analysts gassed his ADP up and it lost it’s value. That is, until he became one of the best wide receivers in the league and the “loss of value” by a couple of rounds simply did not matter. Godwin was as consistent as you could hope for when drafting a player outside of the 3rd round. He caught 86 passes for 1,333 yards and 9 touchdowns. Just like Mike Evans, he had the ability to win weeks for your fantasy team with 3 multiple touchdown games.
There isn’t much of a difference between Evans and Godwin except that Godwin was slightly more consistent in 2019. In redraft, picking between the two is a toss up where you would have a tough time going wrong with either in the 2nd round. When it comes to keeper leagues, Godwin has the better round value. I expect more of the same production from Godwin in 2020 no matter who is under center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Keeper Value: Great