When looking ahead to the 2019 NFL season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin stands out as a player primed for a major breakout. Generally, as the old saying claims, it takes roughly three seasons for an NFL player to be evaluated properly. With his third season on the horizon, Godwin’s had enough time in an NFL locker room to adjust to the speed of the game, build upon his strengths, and become acclimated to the highest level of football.
Through his first two seasons, Godwin has played a reserve role for the Buccaneers as receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the starting perimeter guys, with Adam Humphries operating out of the slot. Tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate became added pests in terms of target share, leaving Godwin with only a small amount of playing time and opportunities. Regardless, in two seasons, Godwin’s totaled 93 receptions, 1,367 yards, and eight touchdowns. His catch percentage improved a slight amount in his second season coming in at 62.1%. Godwin’s targets improved a sizeable chunk as they grew from 55 targets to 95 targets. With the Buccaneers’ season in flux in 2018, as well as injuries to both DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard, Godwin seen an expanded role and it paid in dividends.
Godwin has a major opportunity in terms of playing time ahead of him with the departures of both Jackson and Humphries, who combined for a total of 150 targets in 2018. Finally, in his third season, Godwin will be headed for a full-time starting role alongside Mike Evans. Godwin’s versatility to play all three receiver positions aides as a positive too, as it’ll allow him to slide inside into the slot and create easier opportunities for receptions and yardage. Newly hired Head Coach Bruce Arians has a history of developing quarterbacks as well as passing attacks, boding well for both QB Jameis Winston and Godwin (as well as the remainder of the offense). Arians’ vertical passing attack will prove worthy with the Buccaneers’ skill-position talent, as well as Winston’s penchant for pushing the ball downfield.
Godwin is a favorite among many heading into 2019, with his average draft position (ADP) currently at 4.10 (round four, 10th selection) in standard non-PPR leagues (per https://fantasyfootballcalculator.com/). Godwin’s average draft position may seem rich, and it is, simply because the fantasy football community has fully bought into the hype of Godwin’s talent as well as the improvement in the coaching staff surrounding him. In terms of receivers near his ADP, the names are Robert Woods, Kenny Golladay, Tyler Lockett, and even A.J. Green (who’ll likely miss some of the season by way of injury).
When looking at Godwin’s in-depth statistics (per https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/chris-godwin/), his SPARQ-x (96th percentile athlete), true catch rate (85.5%, 36th in the league), and contested catch rate (47.8%, 14th in the league) display his diverse skill-set. Godwin has a strong set of hands paired with a strong ability to play “above the rim” football, routinely high-pointing footballs above the heads of defenders. Not only does he come down with a lot of contested catches, he’s shown the ability to separate effectively with his developing route running ability and 4.42 speed.
With an influx of playing time, targets, and a better-suited offensive scheme in 2019, Godwin is primed for a breakout season. The marriage between Arians and Winston will prove to do wonders for not only Godwin, but the remaining receivers who’ve shown the ability to win downfield consistently (Evans, Howard).