In what many hoped would be a breakout season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and quarterback Jameis Winston, now may be deemed a lost season. On Monday, head coach Dirk Koetter announced Winston would miss several weeks after MRI results more damage than expected in Winston's shoulder. Ryan Fitzpatrick will step in as Tampa Bay's quarterback for the near future.
Winston first encountered shoulder issues in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals when he suffered a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder. Tampa Bay ultimately pulled him from that game, but he returned the next week and finished both starts in Week 7 and Week 8. This week, Winston struggled once again and multiple hits from an aggressive New Orleans Saints defense ultimately forced him out of the game.
In the short-term, Fitzpatrick will try and keep the ship afloat in Tampa Bay. He takes over an offense that ranked 21st in points per game (19.8), 16th in quarterback rating (88.6) and progressively got worse as the weeks went on. While Fitzpatrick does have enough arm strength and likes to throw the deep ball, he completed fewer than 57 percent of his passes in extended action last season. So while he may help DeSean Jackson in some ways, his poor accuracy and propensity for turnovers hurts all of Tampa Bay's wide receivers. Jackson becomes a low-end WR3, while Evans is a WR 2 play.
The question in the coming weeks will be just how long Winston sits out. Tampa Bay is 2-6 on the year and if they lose two or all three of their upcoming games against the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons, a 2-9 record could force the team's hand. If that happens, Tampa Bay could go the same route as Indianapolis did with Andrew Luck and place him on injured reserve to end his season. For now, fantasy owners can drop Winston across all leagues. Even if he returns in three weeks, his numbers don't equate to fantasy success.