Mike Evans was among the top wide receiver prospects in this year’s draft class, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers validated that status by using the seventh overall pick on him. He’ll team up with Vincent Jackson to form one of the most physically imposing receiver duos in the league, and Evans is in line to make an immediate impact for fantasy owners this year.
Evans will step right into a starting role opposite Jackson, and none of the other options on the roster are a serious threat to usurp him during the preseason. Evans has the size (6’5″, 231 lbs.) to immediately be a prominent red zone option for quarterback Josh McCown, with speed (4.47 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine) and ability to make contested catches that should allow him to succeed all over the field.
Evans was highly productive (151 receptions for 2,499 yards and 17 touchdowns) over his final two seasons at Texas A&M, against tough competition and with an NFL-caliber quarterback (Johnny Manziel) throwing him the ball. So the transition to the next level should be smooth for Evans.
The Buccaneers may have a run-oriented offense under new offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, and the return to health of Doug Martin with a deep group of running backs behind him makes that fairly likely.
Jackson’s role as Tampa Bay’s No. 1 wide receiver is not going away, even if his percentage of the team’s targets (30.9 percent last year) drops a bit, and rookie tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins is now in the mix as well. Martin had 49 catches in 2012 and rookie running back Charles Sims was a productive pass catcher in college. With quite a few other options available, Evans’ production may be up-and-down this year.
A case can be made for Evans to be the first rookie wide receiver off the board in re-draft leagues this year, ahead of Sammy Watkins, with the prospect of double-digit touchdowns leading that cause. A projection of 50-60 receptions and 600-700 yards is realistic for Evans, which added to the touchdown potential makes him worth drafting as a WR3 or WR4 this year and he’s obviously a top option in dynasty leagues.
Bye Week: Week 7
Projected Round: Ninth Round
Auction Value: $4 (Fantasy Pros.com)