2022 Fantasy Upside
Russell Gage is joining Tampa Bay after two solid seasons with Atlanta. Gage was the Falcons’ leading wide receiver last year, finishing 66-770-4 on 94 targets, which was good enough for a WR48 finish. And there is reason to believe he’ll top that in 2022. He joins a Bucs team that threw the ball 731 times last season (compared to the Falcons’ 573) and also lost Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski in the offseason. Chris Godwin is also still recovering from a torn ACL, which will put him out likely through October. This means Gage gets shot up into WR2 in one of the most productive offenses in the NFL. Even Tom Brady made note of this in the offseason, saying of Gage as the team’s WR2: “That is a very important role for an offense that throws the ball as much as we do." Even when Godwin returns, we saw Antonio Brown have a lot of success as a WR3 in this offense. Gage is likely on pace for a career season.
2022 Fantasy Downside
Gage has never been a dominant player throughout his career, finishing under 800 yards each season. He’s also never scored more than four touchdowns in a season. And while he’s projected to be in that No. 2 role, the Bucs also have some other interesting options at WR including Cyril Grayson, Jaelon Darden, Tyler Johnson, Breshad Perriman and Scotty Miller. Also, a lot of Gage’s value depends on when Godwin is able to return, which is unknown at the moment. If Godwin returns sooner than expected, then Gage only gets a limited amount of time in that WR2 role.
2022 Bottom Line
Assuming Godwin misses the first half of the season, Gage should turn into a real value play for Tampa Bay. Even when Godwin returns, Gage is a talented wide receiver who “can play 3 positions,” according to HC Todd Bowles. In 2020 when Evans, Godwin, and Brown were all on the field, they had a fairly even target distribution (Evans 19.5%, Godwin 18.9%, Brown 15.7%). Gage gets an upgrade at quarterback, and joins a much better offensive system in 2022. He’ll likely post career numbers, and should be viewed as a strong WR3 option ahead of the double digit rounds.