Jeff Tedford was a college quarterback at Fresno State that went on to play six years in the Canadian Football League. He then began his coaching career as an Offensive Assistant with the Calgary Stampeders before returning to Fresno State as their Quarterbacks Coach. He quickly elevated to the program’s Offensive Coordinator, a role which he held for five years, and then moved on to the same role at Oregon. From there he became the Head Coach at California, where he enjoyed an eleven-year run before his release after the 2012-13 season.
During Tedford's time at California, he coached a plethora of NFL talent on the offensive side of the ball; the headliners of that group include Aaron Rodgers, Marshawn Lynch, Shane Vereen, Jahvid Best, DeSean Jackson and Keenan Allen. As the new Offensive Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he'll now be tasked with orchestrating an actual NFL offense.
For a glimpse at how a Tedford-run offense may affect the offense from a fantasy football perspective, let's first look at his his offensive tendencies at California compared to those of Tampa Bay's recent offenses and the NFL averages:
Comparison of Offensive Tendencies
|Statistic||Tedford||12-13 TB||12-13 NFL|
|Total Offensive Plays||67.5||59.9||62.2|
|Pass Att. Per Game||31.0||33.8||35.1|
|Rush Att. Per Game||36.5||26.1||27.2|
Unlike many of the fresher offensive coordinators in the NFL who have been a blessing for fantasy football, Tedford has not called for a fast-paced offense. Over the past ten seasons at California, the 67.5 plays-per-game averaged by his offenses have an average rank of just 79th among all college football programs. For context, the three-year average for college teams is 73.4 plays-per-game compared to 64.1 in the NFL. Accounting for that drop-off would place Tedford's projected plays-per-game at approximately 58.9. Tampa Bay has also found themselves under the NFL's average total offensive plays over the past two seasons and with a new, defensive minded Head Coach in Lovie Smith, we can expect the offensive tempo to be near the league average at best.
In regards to the playcalling, Tedford does like to run the football and has done so on 54% of his offensive plays while at California. In the past two seasons, only 11 out of a possible 64 NFL offenses have ran the ball greater than 50% of the time over the course of a season. The average regular season win totals of those teams is 9.2, which provides evidence that a run-based offense can still be successful in this so called "passing league."
As indicated above, Tampa Bay's recent offenses have fallen right in line with the NFL's pass / run split. When considering Tedford's move to the NFL and the organization's use of their top 2014 draft selections for receivers, it can be expected that Tedford relies on the passing game a little more than in his past. Nevertheless, it remains likely that the team will be among the more run-centric offenses in the NFL.
Although Mike Glennon has begun to receive some praise from the coaching staff, it remains likely that the 34-year old, Josh McCown, will be under center to begin the season for the Buccaneers. McCown is a 10-year NFL veteran who enjoyed a mystical season under Marc Trestman and parlayed that success into a starting job. While adding Mike Evans and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins into the mix with Vincent Jackson does provide some more optimism for the passing game, it likely will not be enough to overcome his displacement from Trestman's hip.
Here’s a look at the passing averages during Tedford’s time at California:
Passing Averages Per Game
Passing Averages Per Game x 16 Game Season
Tampa Bay’s 514 passing attempts last year were not far away from Tedford's 16-game average of 496 passing attempts and much of the same can be expected this upcoming season. The touchdown magnet receivers will provide McCown with an outside chance of nearing Tedford's average of 27.9 passing touchdowns, but the limited passing volume should ultimately leave him a few short.
Something that may be more trivial than notable is McCown's athleticism, which was once on par with that of Cam Newton. At the 2002 NFL Combine, McCown was clocked at 4.59 in the 40-yard dash and measured a 38.5 inch vertical jump - this was done at 6'4" and 223 lbs albeit a decade ago. While McCown has averaged 4.61 yards-per-carry during his career and even 5.48 yards-per-carry over the past two seasons, there are no indications of designed runs. Ultimately, he is best left for the waiver wire in standard fantasy football leagues as a middling QB2.
Athough the quarterbacks can widely be disregarded, Vincent Jackson is still very much in play. Jackson saw a whopping 156 targets last season, which was tied with Dez Bryant for sixth-most among receivers, and contributed to Jackson finishing as the #13 wide receiver in standard scoring fantasy football leagues and #16 in point-per-reception (PPR) leagues. His market share can be expected to take a hit with an improved receiving corps around him, but he should still be viewed as a strong WR2 in standard scoring with his accustomed downgrade in PPR formats.
As for Tampa Bay's first round pick, Evans will enter the fold as the team's #2 option in the passing game. That role was most recently held by Mike Williams, whose averages alongside Jackson would translate to 62-882-8 over a 16-game season. Those numbers would border on WR3 territory and are a within the realm of expectations for Evans in year one. The excitement for top rookies does tend to inflate their value, but Evans currently boasts a reasonable price tag as the 37th wide receiver off of the board in fantasy football drafts when viewing ADP from MyFantasyLeague.com.
Sefarian-Jenkins will be on the fast track to a starting position, but rookie tight ends have historically not fared as well as wide recievers. In the past ten seasons, just 25 tight ends have started more than half of their teams games. Those players averaged 32 receptions, 342 yards, and 3 touchdowns, while only three of them were able to crack the top-12 in total fantasy football points at the position. Unless you're looking to stream tight ends throughout the season, it's best to look elsewhere for your starter.
After knowing the talent of running backs to have played for Tedford, it should come as no surprise that lead running backs have fared quite well under his guidance:
Running Back Averages Per Season
Running Back Averages Per Game
Running Back Averages Per Game x 16 Game Season
With Lovie Smith and Tedford making the running game a priority, Doug Martin should remain the focal point and may average close to 18 carries per game. It's not all gravy for running backs under Tedford though; even with highly touted third-down backs at his disposal, such as Vereen and Best, the running backs were not heavily utilized in the passing game. Martin should be expected to hover closer to the 32 receptions he was on pace for last season instead of the 49 he recorded in his rookie season, thus capping his value in PPR leagues.
While Tampa Bay did draft a running back, Charles Sims, in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, that move should be consider more of an indictment on the backup running backs than a threat to Martin. The Buccaneers' Head Coach even said as much himself:
"(Martin is) our starting tailback... He's on most of the billboards around here. He's an All-Pro running back. There is nothing to dislike about Doug Martin. At the same time, we want Doug around here for many years. You need to have some other guys. He can't carry it every second."
Even though Martin may be in line for a resurgent season and remains inside Footballguys' consensus top-twelve fantasy football running backs, his current ADP places him at 15th overall and so there will unfortunately not be a marked discount due to last season's disappointment. If he falls into your lap, then you should not have worries about his production, but he's not a player you would want to reach for in redraft fantasy football leagues.
All things considered, Jeff Tedford does not infuse a whole lot of fantasy football excitement into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense and his appointment as the the Offensive Coordinator seems to be more of a lateral than uplifting hire. The offense is being loaded with young talent however and so it should continue to improve in the near future, which would bode well for Glennon, who is said to remain in the organization's future plans.
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