Chris Godwin was everyone’s favorite breakout candidate in 2019, and he somehow found a way to exceed the hype and put together one of the best seasons in recent memory. The athletic freak remains in Tampa Bay, but now he has a new quarterback under center. Can Godwin take a step up with Tom Brady calling the shots, or will he fall short of repeating his 2019 glory?
Fantasy Football: Chris Godwin 2020 Profile
After losing DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries in the 2019 offseason, Chris Godwin finally had his opportunity to be a star. Godwin came out of Penn State as a top-tier athlete but needed some time to learn the nuances of the position. He looked good in flashes, but nobody could know for sure whether or not he was truly ready for a starting role.
Turns out, he was. Starting in 14 games, Godwin finished his breakout season with 86 receptions for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns, good for a WR2 finish in PPR formats. Some players get by on volume alone, and Godwin’s 121 targets and 91.6% route participation certainly played a role in his fantastic season. However, he was also absurdly efficient with said targets. According to PlayerProfiler, his 2.61 yards-per-route was ninth-best in the league, and his 90.7 PFF grade led all wide receivers. Essentially, he’s a fantastic player with a large target share, which is exactly what you want for fantasy.
It’s worth noting that Jameis Winston’s erratic style of play led to some inflated fantasy number. Winston had a penchant for throwing the ball to the other team, which means Tampa Bay had no choice but to continue throwing to eliminate that early deficit. Winston led the league with a staggering 626 passes. That’s not going to happen again, which means a percentage of Godwin’s targets are going to go away.
If Jameis Winston were still in town, Chris Godwin would be a fairly easy projection. The Buccaneers still have the same coach and didn’t make too many notable changes to their pass-catching arsenal. However, Jameis Winston is gone and Tom Brady is in town. Widely considered the greatest quarterback of all-time, Godwin’s production should improve with an even better quarterback, right?
Well, there are two ways of looking at this. As previously mentioned, Winston led the league in passing attempts because he couldn’t stop throwing it to the other team. That’s not going to happen with Brady, as he’s much better at taking care of the football. First-year quarterbacks under Bruce Arians tend to turn the ball over at a high rate, so maybe Brady throws 13 or 14 interceptions. However, he won’t come close to matching Winston’s 30 from a season ago.
Anyone that followed the Patriots over the past 20 years knows that the most important part of playing wide receiver is earning Brady’s trust. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are, you’re simply not going to see the ball if Brady can’t trust you to be where you need to be. This shouldn’t be a problem for Godwin, as the Buccaneers are still using Arians’ scheme and he clearly knows what’s happening on the football field. However, it’s not an issue you can completely ignore.
Why The Tom Brady Fears Are Unfounded
On the bright side, Godwin spends roughly half of his time in the slot. Throughout the course of his time in New England, Tom Brady has always made the slot receiver his go-to guy. While some of this is due to not having a consistent outside receiver throughout most of his time with the Patriots, we can go back and see that Brady’s penchant for the slot is a near-constant. Wes Welker received 145 and 162 targets during the two years Brady had Randy Moss. The only year Brady didn’t heavily utilize a slot receiver was in 2017, when Brandin Cooks arrived in the offseason Julian Edelman tore his ACL in the preseason. All due respect to Welker and Edelman, but Godwin is a better player than both of those guys and should have a safe target share.
Brady won’t throw the ball as often as Winston, but he can still carry a passing game. Last year, Brady threw the ball 616 times, a fairly absurd figure for a 42-year old quarterback. While the efficiency wasn’t there compared to a typical Brady season, most of the blame for that falls on the supporting cast. Nobody is saying that 2016 Tom Brady is still in there, but he still has the physical ability to carry a high-volume passing attack.
2019 wasn’t a one-season outlier either, as Brady led the league with 581 passing attempts back in 2017 while winning MVP honors. He threw “just” 570 passes in 2018, which was good for ninth-most in the league. Age hasn’t slowed him yet, and there’s no film-based reason to think he’ll fall off a cliff now.
Chris Godwin Average Draft Position
As of this posting, FantasyPros ADP Tracker has Godwin going off the board with the 20th overall pick in PPR drafts. This makes him the WR6 and puts him in the same tier as guys like Mike Evans, Kenny Golladay, and just behind Tyreek Hill and Julio Jones.
This is the perfect place to grab Godwin. Selecting running back or wide receiver is often a matter of personal preference this early in drafts, but if you’re set on wide receiver, this is the order you should be taking them in. Jones and Hill speak for themselves, and I don’t know of a single person that has Godwin ahead of either player. Because of this, I won’t waste words on those two.
Golladay and Evans are more interesting. Golladay is a touchdown machine with a high target share, but regression is coming. On top of that, the Detroit Lions want to be a running team and there’s a very real chance the team parts ways with Matt Patricia during the season. I’d rather go with the higher volume play in Godwin.
Evans is an interesting one, as he could very well be the top option in this passing attack. However, if we’re using the Wes Welker/Randy Moss comp for Godwin and Evans, then Godwin is probably the safer bet. Back in the day, both players saw their fair share of targets from Brady, but Welker saw more. Additionally, Mike Evans is no Randy Moss and Godwin can stretch the field in ways Welker (or Edelman, for that matter) never could. You can’t really go wrong with any of the three aforementioned players, but Godwin would be my pick.
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